Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The First Yes Album
(U.K. cover on the left. U.S. cover on the right.)
I've been reading Bill Bruford's tale of rock superstardom, which includes many eye-opening and hilarious bits about fellow Yes members Chris Squire and Jon Anderson, the difficulties of working with King Crimson leader Robert Fripp, drumming in general and his need to improvize both on the kit and with life. A great read, fan or not, as these stories are told with a very dry British wit that I'll describe as a cross between Peter O'Toole and Ricky Gervais.
As per my usual, I can't read a book about music without the accompanying soundtrack. So, these days I've been listening to a lot of Bill Bruford, including his successful acoustic jazz group Earthworks, short-lived U.K. supergroup, U.K., as well as the aforementioned Crimson and Yes, referencing both the passages in the book and the music he expounds on, when necessary. (And though I know Bruford is not on it, "Relayer" still sucks, by the way.)
For those of you who begin and end with "Roundabout," if that, I'd like to shine a light on the very wonderful 1969 debut, "Yes."
This rarely ever gets mentioned, and in the number of times I've seen this band live, in various incarnations, the material never gets played.
The songs are relatively short, with nothing clocking in over 7 minutes, and most less than 6. The band hasn't yet employed two of its most infamous members, Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, so the guitar and keyboards are played by Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, respectively. Musically, it leans more towards the heavy, psych-rock of early Deep Purple, as well as, dare I say it, the Airplane and, like this song here, "Beyond & Before," later Move.
Take a listen and tell me this couldn't be placed somewhere on "Looking On."
The whole record is quite good, with 2 covers, The Beatles' "Every Litte Thing," and The Byrds' "I See You" not the full-on sacriliges most Yes naysayers would hope for.
BEYOND & BEFORE