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The Yes Album Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
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The Yes Album
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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, 17 Feb 2003
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YES The Yes Album (German issue 6-track digitally remastered CD album originally released in 1971 the bands third album often hailed as a real sign of paving the fully fledged progressive era to come including some brilliantly original tracks like Starship Trooper Clap Perpetual Change and Yours In No Disgrace; picture sleeve)
Not quite the classic line-up (Rick Wakeman would not join until Fragile), but thanks to new recruit, guitarist Steve Howe, here for the first time is the mature Yes sound in all its sonic glory. On tracks like the barnstorming showpiece "Starship Trooper" Chris Squire's monstrous bass looms unfeasibly large in the mix; Bill Bruford's jazz drumming skates edgily around any sort of constant beat; and layered on top are those remarkably long-limbed solos from Howe--one of the very few guitarists to fuse the best of jazz with rock (as well as creating a landmark in acoustic guitar literature with his Chet Atkins-inspired solo "The Clap"). Singer Jon Anderson's elliptical lyrics had yet to flower into the truly bizarre realms of Close To The Edge and Tales From Topographic Oceans, but he was already using words more for their sound value than sense ("Yesterday a morning came, a smile upon your face / Caesar's Palace, morning glory, silly human race"). Put it all together and you've got an album with a much sharper edge than their later bloated extravaganzas. --Mark Walker
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UK released April 2014 - "The Yes Album" (Definitive Edition) on Panegyric GYRSP40106 (Barcode 633367900326) breaks down as follows:
Disc 1, Definitive Edition CD, 2014 Stereo Mixes, 50:55 minutes:
1. Yours Is No Disgrace
3. Starship Trooper (a) Life Seeker (b) Disillusion (c) Wurm
4. I've Seen All Good People (a) Your Move (b) All Good People
5. A Venture
6. Perpetual Change
Tracks 1 to 6 are the vinyl LP "The Yes Album" - released March 1971 in the UK on Atlantic 2400 101 and Atlantic SD 8283 in the USA
7. Clap (Studio Version) - the album version is a Steve Howe 'live' acoustic instrumental recorded at the Lyceum in London, 17 July 1970. This is the rare unused 'Studio Version' - at 4:05 minutes it's also longer
8. A Venture (Extended Mix) - the album track runs to 3:19 minutes - this longer version extends towards the end to 4:46 minutes
Disc 2 is the Definitive Edition DVD-A. It's a NTSC Region 0 Hybrid DVD-A compatible with all DVD Players and DVD-ROM Drives. From the visual/audio menu on your television or computer - it allows you to choose from 4 variants of the album as follows:
1. 2014 Stereo Mixes: 24/96 MLP Lossless (tracks 1 to 6 above)
2. 2014 5.1 Surround Mixes: 24/96 MLP Lossless/dts 96/24 (tracks 1 to 6 above)
3. Original Stereo Mix: Flat Transfer From Original Master LPCM Stereo 24/96 (tracks 1 to 6 above)
4. Alternate Album:
1. Yours Is No Disgrace (Live, London 1971)
2. Clap (Studio Version)
3. Starship Trooper (a) Life Seeker (Single Edit)
4. I've Seen All Good People (Live, London 1971)
5. A Venture (Extended Mix)
6. Perpetual Change (Live, New Haven 1971)
With a gatefold digipak within an outer card wrap - the reissue feels classy right from the off. CD to the left, DVD-A to the right and booklet loose between them - each disc pictures different parts of the albums original artwork while the photo on the albums inner gatefold is beneath the see-through trays. The well-stocked 20-page booklet offers photos of rare 7" picture sleeves from Germany, France, Italy, Portugal and Japan dotted through the text - as well as the original UK LP on the Atlantic Records plum label beloved by collectors (US originals pictured too). There are British and American trade adverts, reel-to-reel boxes and tape files, a white label promo of the LP - even the lyrics to the songs for the first time. SID SMITH gives us superb liner notes on the creation of the album while STEVE WILSON explains about the master tapes and the new Stereo/5.1 Surround Mixes. It's exemplary stuff...
Yet all of that presentation icing on the cake is not what fans are really after - it's the audio. And having listening to "The Yes Album" for 40 years of my life - I'm amazed at the clarity on offer here compared to previous Rhino versions. Some of the tracks are so clean it's almost disconcerting - they're not supressed nor trebled for effect - just treated with care and attention to transfer detail.
As the opener "Yours Is No Disgrace" goes into that Chris Squire Bass break - it's so good - and that Howe solo still amazes. Listening to the rather dry and somehow uninspired `studio' cut of "Clap" - it's easy to see now why they chose the live version - there's just something extra in the playing that lifts it up into the realm of special. There's real muscle now in the swirl of "Starship Trooper" and "Wurm" kicks in - Wilson captures the build up and spread across the speakers perfectly. As opposed to the album version - I have to say that I'm loving the `Extended Mix' of "A Venture" with its loose and funky King Crimson finish - Yes tripping out. But if I was to single out just one track where the audio improvement is magnificent - it's the Side 2 opener "I've Seen All Good People". It's layers and beautiful arrangements are even more magical now - and those fantastic vocals by Jon Anderson - genius. I have a friend who has his stereo rigged to his television's surround kit - and I can't tell you how utterly brilliant the 5.1 version sounds - wow! I'm going to have to bleeding invest-damn! I thought the `Alternate' version of the album was interesting if not a tad gimmicky - but I don't if it's just that I'm too used to the original (relistens methinks)...
I can imagine that nowadays there's probably a queue of Prog band's sat outside Steve Wilson's front porch clutching bags of master tapes - hoping to catch his eye as he exits for a latte. And on the strength of this groovy reissue - I can totally understand why...
'Yours is No Disgrace ' has always been my favourite Yes track with its pounding riff powered by some excellent drumming from Bill Bruford. Chris Squire is no ordinary bass player and his playing on this track is quite superb. Tony Kaye's organ playing is quite understated but crucial to the overall sound of the track. Jon Anderson's vocals are clear (even if the meaning of the words isn't!!). However, in my view it is Steve Howe's guitar playing which makes the track excel. Besides his background work in the basic riff his soloing is first class with, really three short and very different solos which make this song. His solo acoustic effort 'The Clap' is next - quite a short version compared to some he played live at the time. 'Starship Trooper' is another major song which builds beautifully over 6 or 7 minutes with some excellent guitar and keyboard interplay. 'Your Move' and 'All Good People' show some class harmonising as well as a really good ear for a pop/rock tune. 'A Venture' is probably the weakest track on the album but 'Perpetual Change' is a song which is often forgotten in the context of some of their later work. Just sit back and have a careful listen to a band who are really finding their sound starting to fly.
This version of the album has a few extra tracks on it but the basis of the original album is what makes this such a top class piece of work. A great album.
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