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Thread: Steve Howe Beginnings

  1. #1
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    Steve Howe Beginnings

    Recently listened to this album, which I thought I knew well, as a good, decent thing. But I have changed my opinion for better. Isn't it a masterpiece? - it seemed to me a really great album. Maybe a bit overlooked for grand estimations, because of its chamber character. Musical quality is astounding on every track. Listen to one of the tracks, where Steve Howe plays with guys from Gryphon.

  2. #2
    Not a great album by any means, no. The track where he duels with Graeme Taylor is by far the finest thing on it, and there's those odd ditties of Wes Mont pastiche. But the "songs" mostly fall flat out of focus with both melody, structure and overall arrangement, and that voice is an honest-to-Bakunin abomination.

    Sorry. Much prefer The Steve Howe Album to this.
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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    [Sorry. Much prefer The Steve Howe Album to this.]

    I agree. Beginnings is not horrible and about half of it is pretty good but some of it just sounds like it bit off more than it can chew(imo). The first track is very good though and one of Steve's best songs(again imo).

  4. #4
    Not a great album. Some good songs, but the vocals ruin the entire album for me. I thought I read somewhere that he had someone lined up to do the vocals, but he/she bailed.

  5. #5
    Jazzbo manqué Mister Triscuits's Avatar
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    I love this album. Completely disagree about the songs falling flat; I think they have great melodies and structures and decent, sometimes intriguing lyrics. I can deal with the vocals...they are admittedly pretty bad, but still have a certain rough charm.

  6. #6
    I listened to it a few months back and liked it way more than in the 70s. It's weirder than I remember. And Steve's voice doesn't bug me nearly as much as it once did. I do think the title track drags on though.

  7. #7
    Member Yodelgoat's Avatar
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    I remeber not liking this album very much, because my brother who was a budding guitar player, was completely enamored with it and so I got sick of hearing it, - especially of hearing him try to play the parts himself all the time. I should listen to it again just to refresh my memory. I just recall thinking what a terrible vocalist Steve Howe was.

    Oh, I just noticed this was a link to the album - how fortuitous!
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  8. #8
    I was horrified when I first heard this album, the vocals nearly put me off of music permanently. Over the years, I guess I've gotten used to it, though I still cringe from time to time on some parts (Australia stands out as particularly bad in the vocal department to me). Mercifully, there is some good largely instrumental stuff on the album to balance things out a bit. I spin this very rarely now. When I'm in a Howe solo mood, I usually reach for Turbulence, but I also prefer The Steve Howe Album to Beginnings.

    Bill

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    Yes, well I too usually prefered Steve Howe Album to Beginnings. But he sang really bad on the best(imo) song of Album, All's A Chord. It was really annoying. But on Beginnings I don't hear such flaws in vocals department. He sounds decent, does his best, I believe. As for instrumentals, they are impressive, especially the one with Gryphon boys I like very much. In patches his music reminds of Genesis here. The first song is beautiful, conditioned to the Yes level.

  10. #10
    My fave of all his solo work.
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  11. #11
    As it happens, I gave this one a spin recently.

    Somehow, I find it has some appealing qualities, even if there are moments when I find it to be somewhat cringeworthy.

    I do think that "Break Away From It All" was really a brilliant song with great melodic hooks. Frankly, it deserved a better vocalist as the song is strong enough to merit it, IMO. Even getting Chris Squire to sing lead could have transformed the song.

  12. #12
    Member 2steves's Avatar
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    This was made at the peak of Howe's ego lol--I think there are great moments but I'm fussy when it comes to vocals and his vocals are not good---sort of ruins it for me. He was still close to JA at the time--should have used him--he uses other Yes men. The first song could have been amazing with JA singing--true of all the songs---he's trying to sing high like JA but it sounds bad.
    Last edited by 2steves; 11-17-2015 at 10:10 PM.

  13. #13
    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    I agree the vocals are occasionally dire but what I love about this album is its great mid-70s Yes-y mojo. It captures that vibe better than Jon's sci-fi operetta or Chris' meisterwerk IMO.

    For pure comprehensive quality I rate The Steve Howe Album and Turbulence higher. But I can always listen to this one and enjoy it.


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  14. #14
    I decided to pull this out tonight and the vocals aren't as bad as I remember- they're worse. Holy crap. I must have been on heavy back pain meds the last time. I still like most of the music though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulrus View Post
    I agree the vocals are occasionally dire but what I love about this album is its great mid-70s Yes-y mojo. It captures that vibe better than Jon's sci-fi operetta or Chris' meisterwerk IMO.
    Pretty much sums it up for me too. A flawed classic.

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    Love the cover. Like everyone else Steve's vocals just leave me cold. Freezing cold. Outside of that it has some great moments.


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  17. #17
    Love the album! I think The SH album is a bit better, but I like the majority of both. Very much invokes the 70's and displays a lighter side to Steve's YES frenzy. Don't have a problem at all with Steve's vocals either, there's a certain British singer-songwriter charm to it that I enjoy. Even my wife like's his singing.

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    Great songs. Horrible singing.
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    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Why any sane person would let those vocals go to tape is beyond me. Tells you how much power Yes had back then, that even Steve's brayings couldn't be denied by the record co. execs!

  20. #20
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    I do think that "Break Away From It All" was really a brilliant song with great melodic hooks. Frankly, it deserved a better vocalist as the song is strong enough to merit it, IMO. Even getting Chris Squire to sing lead could have transformed the song.
    Having Squire do vocals would have been pretty damn awesome, actually.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    Having Squire do vocals would have been pretty damn awesome, actually.
    I was thinking exactly the same thing. Squire's voice would have been a beautiful match for these songs.

    Bill

  22. #22
    I'll agree with those who feel this is a really strong album but marred by the vocals- not enough to ruin it for me, though. "Pleasure Stole the Night" comes to mind as one of the better tracks. I can't remember her name, but if Steve had got the woman who sang on "Just Look Over Your Shoulder" or Annie Haslam (to name two possibilities) to sing on this album I think it would be a classic. But because he didn't, I'll agree that The Steve Howe Album and Turbulence are his best works (and if Bill had played his acoustic drums on Turbulence it would have been even better!).
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  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by JeffCarney View Post
    As it happens, I gave this one a spin recently.

    Somehow, I find it has some appealing qualities, even if there are moments when I find it to be somewhat cringeworthy.
    Agreed - sometimes appealing, sometimes appalling. Overall... meh.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProgArtist View Post
    I can't remember her name, but if Steve had got the woman who sang on "Just Look Over Your Shoulder" or Annie Haslam (to name two possibilities) to sing on this album I think it would be a classic.
    That was Claire Hammil, very nice person and really good singer. I have met her at High Voltage in 2010, since then we're friends on Facebook. She released a new album in October, but I still haven't heard it. She has a number of good albums in the 70s - Love in the Afternoon comes to mind.

  25. #25
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    I played 'Beginnings' a couple months ago and musically thought it was fantastic. Well, certain tracks, namely, 'Australia', 'Nature of the Sea', 'Willow The Wisp', and my favorite of all, 'Pleasure Stole The Night', which nearly moved me to tears. Funny the album sounded markedly better than back in the day for some reason, maybe in part to the fact that I didn't expect greatness, but musically I think it is great. The vocals aren't great but have a charm that fits in 'Pleasure..' and a couple others. Admittedly, I didn't care much for 'Lost Symphony' and wasn't crazy about 'Doors of Sleep' that much either, but other than that.... It's obvious he really put a lot into it, lots of overdubs and such

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