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|1. Every Little Thing|
See all 13 tracks on this disc
|2. South Side Of The Sky|
|3. Heart Of The Sunrise|
See all 6 tracks on this disc
|1. Siberian Khatru|
|2. Long Distance Runaround|
|3. The Gates Of Delirium|
|4. To Be Over|
See all 11 tracks on this disc
|2. Never Done Before|
|4. Machine Messiah|
See all 15 tracks on this disc
|1. Lift Me Up|
|2. The Calling|
|3. I Am Waiting|
|4. Mind Drive|
See all 10 tracks on this disc
However, Yes are long overdue some even-handed revisionism and once you get beyond the band's earliest muddled jazz-rock West Coast harmony-coated Beatles-isms there are some magnificent instances of bold envelope-pushing genius ("Heart of the Sunrise" and "Starship Trooper" are both moments where brains, drama, technique and tunes triumph over bluff and bombast) as well as some perfectly crafted pop courtesy of "Time and a Word" and 1983's US number one "Owner of a Lonely Heart". Yes fans will doubtless be lured by six previously unreleased tracks, but seeing as four of these come from 1979's ruction-causing post-Tormato sessions in Paris, where both Rick Wakeman (bored) and Jon Anderson (sacked) both departed, these are hardly the highlights of this otherwise desirable package. In a Word is an attractive testimonial to one of Britain's truly unique musical enterprises. --Kevin Maidment
Five CDs is a huge bite of the prog apple to take, but when you've been around as long (and in as many guises) as Yes it's only fair. Chronological running order takes us from the days as Marquee favourites - with their combination of jazz timing, Beatles tunesmithery, Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonising and a strange love of Western theme tunes - to days of reunion and reconciliation. Already veterans of the London psychedelic scene, their determination to be the best was obvious. Despite the first two albums brimming with good things such as Bill Bruford's deadly paradiddles, Chris Squire's pin-sharp Rickenbacker bass and musical gems such as ''Astral Traveller'' and their version of the fab four's ''Every Little Thing'' it wasn't until the addition of ex-Tomorrow player Steve Howe that they achieved their first great effort - known helpfully as The Yes Album.
Following the addition of the caped keyboarder, Rick Wakeman and their own visual style courtesy of unofficial 6th member Roger Dean, the band had all the ammo it needed to blow detractors away, and tracks from Fragile, Close To The Edge, Relayer, Going For The One and even the much-maligned Tales From Topographic Oceans all point to a band that was at its absolute peak. Especially in terms of an ability to make the vaporous lyrics of Jon Anderson (what exactly is a ''seasoned witch''?) into a very corporeal slice of rock. From ''Roundabout'' to ''Gates Of Delirium'', even more line-up changes couldn't dim their fire.
Even with a compilation this size favourites are bound to be missed and it would be dishonest to say that CDs 4 and 5 hold the attention as well as the previous three. The sense of youthful striving becomes lost as the history becomes increasingly convoluted. However once through the questionable Buggles/Trevor Rabin periods it becomes obvious that they've returned with sense of purpose, reminiscent of past glories. Tracks from recent albums such as The Ladder and Magnification stand up well. Steve Howe's guitar can honestly be said to remain in a constant state of refinement and one can only applaud their refusal to be bowed down by contemporary trends in order to retain the very otherworldliness that their fans adore. Along with unreleased tracks the box comes lavishly packaged with a cover featuring the best artwork Dean has produced in an eon. In a word -marvellous.
Like This? Try These:
Emerson, Lake & Palmer - The Original Bootleg Series From the Manticore Vaults Vols 1&2
The Nice - Swedish Radio Sessions
King Crimson - USA --Chris Jones
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I will admit that the unreleased material here is pretty throwaway stuff and I don't believe it's the reason to purchase this collection. I find it more encompassing than Yesyears but as ever, there's only so much material available so there's going to be some crossovers. Later years are covered well although the exclusion of certain tracks (in my case 'Silent Talking' from Union) will be puzzling but different strokes etc. etc.
I don't agree that the production is flat although there are slight differences with mixes to copies I already have on CD and vinyl. Generally I wasn't disappointed with the production quality and playback at high volume stood up well on my system.
The attached book does seem to restate the Chris Welch 'Close To The Edge' tome. I doubt we'll get the real story on departures/arrivals for some time if ever. To be fair I'd rather not read about my favourite musicians slagging each other to death anyway !
I'd rather concentrate on the music and the thought that these blokes are still performing/writing/recording is pretty incredible. The colour of the music here says it all for me personally. Yes are untouchable, unique and this collection, while not being all things to all fans, is pretty close to the potted history from then until now... and beyond.
But enough about that. The spread of music here was desirable for me, because, being 16, i had only just started getting into Yes and other prog rock about a year and a half ago. I was quite surprised by a lot of the tracks i had never heard, most notably the Drama stuff (I always presumed Anderson-less Yes would be mostly irrelevant, however it is positively thrilling and fresh). Anyhoo, the tracks range from all the many crevices and corners of Yes' lifespan. Although most of the unreleased tracks are not that great, they are certainly nice enough to warrent release sooner or later.
The packaging and the booklet are sublime, and while the second half features some quite odd waffling and noodling, they certainly provided supremely entertaining reading.
So, despite some glaring ommisions ("Endless Dream" from Talk, "And You and I" from Close to the Edge, and perhaps a live track or two), this package is well worth the money it sells for. This sort of thing is a collectors item of unrivalled presentation. I love it to bits.
Oh and great artwork from Roger Dean.
The songs from CD1 through to the tail end of CD3 show a band taking risks and yet continually coming up with strong songs and excellent playing. Is it just a co-incidence that the most dated sounding CD is the fourth one covering thier best selling eighties output. CD5 shows a band gradually working their way back to their true musical roots and ends with material from the latest album, the excellent ' Magnification '.
The five bonus tracks are what you would expect ie maybe not strong enough to have made a finished album but still interesting, 'Richard' in particular stands out. The packaging and booklet are superb and really add to the whole box set experience.
In summary, Although I already own most of the tracks on 'In a Word', getting this as a present allowed this Yes fan to re-live the whole experience again as well as reminding me why I enjoyed them so much in the first place. For those with only a passing interest this box set will let you in on the secret at a relatively low price when compared to buying the individual albums. The Yes back catalogue has not always been re-packaged with quality in mind, this time they have got it just right.