Top positive review
106 people found this helpful
excellent box set of yes albums
on 4 December 2013
Without a doubt this is an excellent box set of the main albums by the group YES.
It Includes the albums: 'Yes', 'Time and a Word', 'The Yes Album', 'Fragile', 'Close to the Edge', 'Tale from Topographic Oceans', 'Relayer', 'Going for the One', 'Tormato', 'Drama', '90125' and 'Big Generator'. These are remaster editions with bonus tracks.
If you have collected the Re master editions from 2003 already then this set offers nothing much new since these are those remasters from 2003 with the same bonus tracks except that they are in faithful mock vinyl sleeves and all contained in one box.
However if you only have some of the albums, or a mixture of original CD editions and re masters it may be worth changing to this set.
There are some disadvantages with this set though, First of all the faithful mock vinyl sleeves look just like the original vinyl release. The downside of that is that they do not list the bonus tracks on them (obviously if they are faithful to the original album covers) There isn't even a complete track listing on the outer box.
It would have been useful if there had been a booklet perhaps with information that covers the difficult to read small text on the original album covers (now shrunk down to CD size) and the additional bonus track information.
However the true track listing including the bonus tracks do appear on the CD discs themselves. (But obviously once you have put the disc in the player you cannot see it while you are playing it)
True the original main album tracks are the most important tracks and they have their listing on the original vinyl cover but surely it would be good to know what the other tracks are?
Secondly some of the discs fall out of the covers too easily because the cover sleeves have gaps that are much to big. Not all of the albums are affected but the ones that are, are very bad and the discs just roll out. The discs do fit tight in the other album sleeves though. Also the card for each album cover is thick and each album is gatefold which makes the set spring up and over when you open the box. (not a big problem but it may annoy some people)
However the set itself is great. The albums have much to offer.
Album one is YES from 1969. Track listing is
1 Beyond and Before 2 I see you 3 Yesterday and Today 4 Looking around
5 Harold Land 6 Every little thing 7 Sweetness 8 Survival
bonus tracks 9 Everydays (single version) 10 Dear Father (early version 2) 11 something's coming 12 Everydays (early version) 13 Dear Father (early version 1) 14 somethings coming (early version)
The album has tracks written by the group themselves and other notable song writers including McGuinn/Crosby on I see you, and Stephen stills on Everydays. (from Crosby. Stills, Nash and Young) and Lennon and McCartney on Every little thing, As well as Leonard Bernstien and Stephen Sondheim on Something's coming.
The song Harold Land was named after a Harold Land a hard bop tenor saxophone player but the song is actually about a different character who has been affected by war,
The song Every little thing written by Lennon and McCartney has the main guitar riff from the Beatles song Day Tripper.
There were two versions of the cover art work for the album. One has the simple word YES for the British version and the other is the picture of the band for the US version. This version in this box set has the original British version and that is the same for all the albums.
Album two TIME AND A WORD has a live orchestra throughout most of the album. This idea by Jon Anderson was not favoured by fellow band member Peter Banks and later Banks left and was replaced with Steve Howe after the completion of this album.
Like the first album there are songs by the band and musical influences from other sources including the Richie Havens song No Opportunity needed, no experience necessary. Featuring the main theme from the film The Big Country by Jerome Moross and the track prophet has excerpts from Gustav Holst's The Planets Suite. Also like the first album there is a Stephen Stills song with Everydays. (from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young)
Once again we get the original British album cover here with the Dada esque black and white photo of a nude woman with a butterfly.
Track listing is
1 No opportunity, No experience needed. 2 Then 3 Everydays 4 Sweet Dreams 5 The Prophet 6 Clear days 7 Astral Traveller 8 Time and a word. Bonus tracks are 9 Dear Father 10 No opportunity necessary, No experience needed (original mix) 11 Sweet Dreams (original Mix) 12 The Prophet (single version)
Album three THE YES ALBUM now has Steve Howe on guitar and provides a prominent role as the group move to longer songs. Notable is the electronic guitar work on Starship Trooper and the Davy Graham guitar style on the track Fingerbuster. Anderson was interested in using the Moog synthesizers but Tony Kaye favoured piano and later left the band and was replaced by Rick Wakeman fresh from the Strawbs. All of the songs are by the group themselves.
Track listing is 1 Yours is no Disgrace 2 Clap 3 Starship Trooper 4 I've seen all good people 5 A venture 6 Perpetual changes Bonus tracks are 7 I've seen all good people (single version) 8 Starship Trooper (single version) 9 Clap (studio version)
Album Four is FRAGILE and now Rick Wakeman has joined on Keyboard. We also get the first album with art work by Roger Dean. Four tracks are by the group and five tracks are by the individual band members themselves.
Also Cans and Brahms is an arrangement by Wakeman of the third movement of Symphony No 4 by Brahms.
Track listing is 1 Roundabout 2 Cans and Brahms 3 We have Heaven 4 South side of the sky 5 Five per cent for nothing 6 Long distance runaround 7 The Fish 8 Mood for a day 9 Heart of the sunrise Bonus tracks are 10 America 11 Roundabout (early rough mix)
Album five CLOSE TO THE EDGE brings in a spiritual influence by Anderson. The title track came about after Anderson read material from German novelist Hermann Hesse in which Hesse's character awakes, in s symbolic spiritual awakening close to the edge of a river or symbolic lifetime of his soul.
Track listing is 1 close to the edge 2 Total mass retain 3 And you and I
Siberian Khatru Bonus tracks are 4 America (single version) 5 Total Mass Retain (single version) 6 And you and I (alternate version) 7 Siberia (studio run through version)
TALES OF TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS is the sixth album by the group Yes. It is an outstanding album full of creativity. It is one of the finest albums by the group and displays a great concept, excellent composition and lyrical structure, solid musicianship and epic proportion.
It is a concept album that is in four parts. Each part is of symphonic length and collectively they form a conceptional look at elements of "truth, Knowledge, culture and freedom" as found in Shastric scriptures mentioned in a book called Autobiography of a Yogi. By Paramahansa Yogananda. This book had introduced many westerners to meditation and yoga. The subject of the book explores spiritual notions of "saints and masters" from Indian religion. The subject became of great interest to Jon Anderson. And it is clear that it his influence on the final product.
The album reached number one in the UK album chart and went gold despite the critics giving it bad press. There have been many issues of this album through various formats, which illustrates its continuing popularity.
The album still sounds great nearly 40 years after it was recorded. It should stand as good testament of the creativity of the genre of Progressive Rock.
Roger Dean created the album artwork just as he had done on many of the group's album covers.
The original album was divided into four sides of a double album on vinyl. Side one was the commercial or easy-listening side of Topographic Oceans, side two was a much lighter, folky side of Yes, side three was more electronic powerful arrangement turning into acoustic simplicity, and side four was the big finale.
Jon Anderson and guitarist Steve Howe constructed the bulk of the album mainly on their own. Steve Howe presents some of his best guitar work. And the whole band makes impressive contributions to the end product.
The track listing is Disc one 1 The revealing science of God (dance of the dawn) 2 The remembering (high the memory) 3 The ancient (giants under the sun) Disc 2 1 Ritual Nous sommes du soleil Bonus tracks are 2 Dance of the dawn (studio run through) 3 Giants under the sun (studio run through)
Seventh album RELAYER features Patrick Moraz who replaced Rick Wakeman briefly during this period.
The album is loosely based on Tolstoy's book War and Peace and has strong Jazz influences in its sound showing the Moraz's background. The theme shows the futility of war through musical hints of clashing sound effects, dissonant harmonies regimental rhythms all replaced with a gentle melody and lyrical prayer for peace. There are also further spiritual influences and the electric Sitar is featured by Howe.
The album title comes from the lyrics of The Remembering, a track on the previous album Tales from Topographic Oceans.
Track listing is 1 The Gates of Delirium 2 Sound Chaser 3 To be Over. Bonus tracks are 4 Soon (single edit) 5 Sound Chaser (single edit) 6 The gates of Delirium (studio run through)
For many people the best era of the group YES is the early 1970s "prog Rock" era. This next set of albums will not be their thing.
But If pop groups keep doing the same thing for too long it gets boring and these albums show that there was more to YES than what they were doing on albums like Tales from Topographical Oceans.
The next set also has much to offer despite the change in style.
GOING FOR THE ONE is the eighth studio album released in 1977 on Atlantic Records. The album marks the return of keyboard player Rick Wakeman using the new polyphonic synthesizer from Moog and even church pipe organ on "parallels" that created a different sound as well as a return to shorter songs The songs includeed hit singles "going for the one" and "Wonderous stories"
Track listing is 1 Going for the one 2 Turn of the century 3 parallels 4 Wonderous Stories 5 Awaken Bonus tracks are 6 Montreux's Theme 7 Vevey (revisited) 8 Amazing Grace 9 Going for the one (rehearsal) 10 Parallels (rehearsal) 11 Turn of the Century (rehearsal) 12 Eastern Number (early version)
The ninth album TORMATO is from 1978. The album did feature a hit single "don't kill the whale" but suffered much criticism from both the public and some of the band members themselves.
Track listing is 1 Future times/rejoice 2 Don't kill the whate 3 Madrigal 4 Release Release 5 Arriving UFO 6 Circus of Heaven 7 Onward 8 On the silent wings of freedom Bonus tracks are 9 Abilene (b side don't kill the whale) 10 Money 11 Picaso 12 Some are born 13 You can be saved 14 High 15 Days `16 Countryside 17 Everybody's song 18 Onward (orchestra version)
Tenth album DRAMA is from 1980. Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman have left the group and for some people this was the loss too far since it lost an essential core sound familiar in previous YES albums.
However there is much quality here with some fine musicians who help to keep the band going. Geoff Downes takes over keyboard sound and Trevor Horn takes lead vocals. Both had come from the group Buggles who had just had big success with Video killed the radio star. Together with Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White they created a harder new wave edged sound. All songs are credited to all members of the band but some songs have origin in Buggles and others from the members prior to Downes and Horn joining.
The album did well in the UK album charts but failed in the US. However this line up did not last.
Track listing is 1 Machine Messiah 2 White car 3 Does it really happen ?
4 Into the lens 5 Run through the light 6 Tempus Fugit Bonus tracks are
7 Into the Lens (single version) 8 Run through the light (single version) 9 Have we really got to go through this 10 Song No 4 (satalite) 11 Tempus Fugit (session track) 12 White car (session track) 13 Dancing through the light (paris session) 14 Golden age (paris session) 15 In the town (paris session)
16 Friend of a friend (paris session)
Eleventh Album is 90125 from 1983. Jon Anderson returns and the album is produced by Trevor Horn. The album also features the return of Tony Kaye on Keyboard.
The album did well and single "Owner of a lonely heart" charted in the UK and went to number one in the US.
Track listing is 1 owner of a lonely heart 2 hold on 3 it can happen 4 changes
5 cinema 6 Leave it 7 our song 8 city of love 9 Hearts Bonus tracks are 10 leave it (single version) 11 Make it easy (from yesyears) 12 It can happen ( from yesyears) 13 its over (previously unissued) 14 Owner of a lonely heart (alternative mix) 15 Leave it (previously unissued)
Finally album twelve is BIG GENERATOR released in 1987.
This album took years to produce because of band differences. There is a solid 80s sound and some impressive songs. The album did well in the US. It's a good album in many ways.The album has some great moments and should not be dismissed.
track listing is 1 Rhythm of love 2 Big generator 3 Shoot high aim low 4 Almost like love 5 Love will find a way 6 Final eyes 7 I'm running 8 Holy Lamb song for harmonic convergence Bonus tracks are 9 "Love Will Find a Way [Edited Version]"10 "Love Will Find a Way [Extended Version]" 11 Rhythm of Love [Dance to the Rhythm Mix]"12 "Rhythm of Love [Move to the Rhythm Mix]"13 "Rhythm of Love [the Rhythm of Dub]"
These albums are presented in their original vinyl format on CD and do contain the bonus tracks the same as the 2003 editions.
The box is slightly over three inches thick and it is nicely presented with good artwork and as well as the discs there is a poster and box art work by Roger Dean.