Yes “Yessongs”

Posted 02 Jul 2011 in 70s, Albums of 1973, Albums of the 70s, Live, Prog-Rock

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#421 in the Series and #39 in the Live, Saturday Night Series) is Yes, Yessongs

Saturdays are of course the day we look at a live album. A few of those Saturday’s ago, when discussing The Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense, I mentioned that they picked the right time to record their live album.  I want to make that same point again, but this time even more so. Yes, picked the absolute point in their career to record Yessongs.  In fact, I’ll go one step further in claiming that this marked the ending point to their ‘Glory Days.’  The band would still go on and still create some wonderful music, but this marked the end of their most successful era musically. They may have had some larger hits in later periods, but they would now move into a new phase.

Yessongs “Escape” Roger Dean

Yessongs was recorded on the tour following the release of Close to the Edge. That complete album is included here.

In fact, after the 3 minute Stravinsky into the band jumps into what would be their opening number for many tours, that would be “Siberian Khatru”, from Close to the Edge.

One of the things that I’ve always liked about Yessongs is that there is absolutely no filler on these discs, none. You can plop on any disc on any side and here some spectacular Yes music.

I’m not going to give you a song by song rundown here. Just look below, it’s all there for you.  It’s all here as I mentioned before. Give a listen to a ton of them on the video playlist below.  I’ve found some great videos. Many of them are from this tour. If I couldn’t find a good representative then I went to a later period.

Yessongs “Arrival” Roger Dean

I’ve mentioned that I felt that this was the ending of their most creative period, at least to me. What happened after this then? The next album was Tales from Topographic Oceans. This is still pretty close to being in that “meat era.”  Close but no cigar I feel. Good, but since its four songs on a double album, it’s hard to really connect to it.

Next came the Relayer album. This had some good music on it as well, but at this point Rick Wakeman had left the band. He was replaced by Patrick Moraz.  I did see this tour. It was good, but not the same.

Wakeman was back for the next album, Going For the One. This one was again pretty good. The band however, had lost another of Its core members at that point. That member would be Illustrator Roger Dean. He was as much a member of Yes as Jon Anderson, Chris Squire or Steve Howe etc to me.  He created the look and feel of the band and that was as much of their personality as their music.

Yessongs ‘Awakening” Roger Dean

Yes still continues on while the revolving door continues to turn.  I’m sure they’re still a treat to see as would be Jon Anderson while he’s on his own as well.

In closing, I want to mention one thing about these great progressive rock albums that we feature from time to time. I know some people and most critics scoff at them. I want to say “To Hell With You, Kiss my Ass!”  For years and years, prog-rock has showcased musicians playing their instruments and stretching those talents in a pop format better than any other type of music. The songs aren’t three minutes and sweet. NO, you have to put something into listening to this. I like other forms as well, but is you want to hear instrumentation, this is where you’ll find it! So Eat Me.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

Side one

  1. “Opening (Excerpt from Firebird Suite)” (Igor Stravinsky) – 3:47
  2. “Siberian Khatru” (Jon Anderson, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman) – 9:03
  3. “Heart of the Sunrise” (Anderson, Bill Bruford, Chris Squire) – 11:33

Side two

  1. “Perpetual Change” (Anderson, Squire) – 14:11
  2. “And You and I” (Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Squire) – 9:33
    1. “Cord of Life”
    2. “Eclipse” (Anderson, Bruford, Squire)
    3. “The Preacher the Teacher”
    4. “Apocalypse”

Side three

  1. “Mood for a Day” (Howe) – 2:53
  2. “Excerpts from The Six Wives of Henry VIII” (Wakeman) – 6:37
  3. ”Roundabout” (Anderson, Howe) – 8:33

Side four

  1. “I’ve Seen All Good People” (Anderson, Squire) – 7:09
    1. “Your Move” (Anderson)
    2. “All Good People” (Squire)
  2. “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” (Anderson, Squire) – 13:37

Side five

  1. “Close to the Edge” (Anderson, Howe) – 18:13
    1. “The Solid Time of Change”
    2. “Total Mass Retain”
    3. “I Get Up I Get Down” (Anderson, Squire)
    4. “Seasons of Man”

Side six

  1. “Yours Is No Disgrace” (Anderson, Bruford, Howe, Tony Kaye, Squire) – 14:23
  2. “Starship Trooper” (Anderson, Squire, Howe) – 10:08
    1. “Life Seeker” (Anderson)
    2. “Disillusion” (Squire)
    3. “Würm” (Howe)

Personnel

  • Jon Anderson – lead vocals
  • Chris Squire – bass guitar, backup vocals
  • Steve Howe – electric and acoustic guitars, backup vocals
  • Rick Wakeman – keyboards, synthesiser, organ
  • Bill Bruford – drums on “Perpetual Change” and “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)”
  • Alan White – drums (everything else)

Links

Back to the Cool Album Homepage

Posted by Larry Carta

2 Comments

  1. coachmaddog (03 Jul 2011, 22:16)
    Reply

    Yes was the absolute worst concert of all 300 I’ve seen. Boring beyond belief. Oh, their technical abilities, my rear end. A self indulgent wank fest.

  2. Massimo (30 Jul 2011, 9:37)
    Reply

    coachmaddog, I am sorry but what you wrote is just your opinion; Yes have been, and possibly still are, one of the most inspiried and inspiring bands ever. And I am not basing my own impression on their technical ability, though it is undoubtedly exceptional; I am talking on the basis of the incredible capacity thay showed in creating astounding musical buildings and atmospheres, a power of evoking that transcends almost everything that was being expressed musically in their original epoch and beyond. I must add that I discovered them right with this “Yessongs”, which in my humble opinion remains one of the masterpieces of prog-rock or whatever you call it.



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