Thursdays Middle of the Week Classic Rock Album: Yessongs by Yes

First things first and this was the first live album by Yes…

Does that mean anything? Maybe, who knows, but it is a fact and people love facts…

The album documents the band’s Close to the Edge tour, although it includes some songs from the Fragile tour as well. It is, after all, a three record set. “Perpetual Change” and “Long Distance Runaround/The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)” are from Fragile, and in those songs you will hear their original drummer Bill Bruford, while in the others the drummer is Alan White.

This is an amazing band and one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. The solos are incredible, Yes at their best! Here you find the best songs from The Yes Album, and definitely, Yessongs is and should be considered a greatest hits album done live. One part that I definitely enjoy is the one where Rick Wakeman plays a medley of some of his solo album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Then Chris Squire has his own part in “The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)”.

Although many of the songs faithfully reflect the studio versions, you get some like “Perpetual Change” or “Starship Trooper”, whose live versions are superior to the studio version and clearly demonstrate the strength of the band, the mastery of the instruments, the knowledge of orchestration and arrangement and how bloody good these lads can play.

These are the lads that played in Yessongs:

Jon Anderson: Vocals
Steve Howe: Guitar
Chris Squire: Bass
Rick Wakeman: keyboards
Bill Bruford: drums on the 4th song of disc 1 and song 2 of disc 2
Alan White: drums on the rest of the songs

Just to remind you, or to inform you if you are not from the 70’s generation, Yes was formed in London in 1968 and got big, really big in the seventies. Yes joined bands like Pink Floyd, Genesis, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake and Palmer as the leaders of progressive or symphonic rock. They were heavily influenced by The Beatles, the Moody Blues and others but soon developed their own style. One thing that instantly attracted me to Yes was that they did seem to find the perfect formula to merge jazz and classical music and still make it rock. Not that doing that was out of place or innovative in those days. I find such a merging of styles in many of the rock groups of that era.

Yes was the quintessential progressive rock band of England. I would say heads and shoulders above Genesis, although not as theatrical, and much more consistent and stronger than Jethro Tull. But that is according to my taste, and maybe not yours…

So, since I am not a record or music reviewer or critic, I will leave the judgements to you. All I ask is that you tell me what you think, if you think of anything. And without another word, here is the album:

ENJOY IT!

CHEERS!

8 comments

  1. Brad Osborne · January 21

    We are of the same mind here, my friend! One of the best groups bar none. I found their arrangements to be lofty symphonic pieces highlighted by Anderson’s piercing vocals. To a man, they were all tremendous musicians. Unlike some of the other top groups you mention, I think their work was much more dramatic. Crazy key changes and chord progressions, all out head banging with melodic and tempo halting bridges, and lyrics that force a person to think, and see, and feel. One of my all time favorite groups. I always love this series. I hope one day you might cover my all time most favorite band, “Kansas”. Much love bro and stay well!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · January 21

      You have said it much better than me, my friend and I quite agree. Your description of Anderson’s vocals is right spot on and I would only add that during the time of Rick Wakeman, they were insuperable. And yes, of course, I am a great fan of Kansas, another classic group of the seventies with great players and great innovations. One of the things that I really liked of the music of the seventies is that it was rather porous, I would say, that the lines between Jazz, Country, Folk and Rock were very blurred and musicians really played and played well. All of the live albums of the era demonstrate their ability and the solos of the players is something that you don’t hear much in later times and with the further development (or de-evolution) of the genre. Thank you very much my brother and much love your way as well!
      F.

  2. spwilcen · January 21

    One of the bands whose music struck me as one perpetual sound check. Sorry. Did I hear someone mention Kansas? On board there, but not here.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · January 21

      Yes, Brad mentioned Kansas and they are coming, I am a fan as well, though I must disagree with you reference Yes…hope you got some planting done today SP…we’re heading into the night here and wine time! Cheers!
      F.

  3. cincinnatibabyhead · 25 Days Ago

    Fantastic music Francisco. I still listen to this music. What a great band. Bruford is one of my favorite drummers.

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