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Thread: FEATURED CD : Yes : Yessongs

  1. #1
    Moderator Duncan Glenday's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD : Yes : Yessongs

    This gets my personal vote for the best live album of all time. PE's "yogibear" agrees:


    This is arguably the greatest live album recorded. Originally it had shoddy/poor engineering and some instruments were hard to hear. This remastered version sounds wonderful and all the bits that were "hard to hear" are here in their fullness. This has all of the very best and most classic of Yes' best and most well known tunes up to Close to the Edge.

    There are 8 tunes on the first CD and it has more of their shorter and radio friendly tunes while disc two had the longer tunes. The total time on disc 1 is 66 minutes. Disc two had 5 tunes and the total time was over 63 minutes.

    Musically this is Yes at their ultimate best. Jon sounds great and most of the background vocals works well and sound good as well. This featured the debut of Alan White on most of the tunes and Bill Bruford is only on "Perpetual change" and "Long distance runaround/Fish". Bruford is great on the tunes he plays on and Alan while a good player just seems hard pressed to fill Bill's shoes. Some of the tunes here are taken at a slightly faster tempo than on the albums.

    Jon sings well on all the tunes and occasionally sounds like he over-sings if that's possible but it does happen here. Chris is excellent as usual with his bass but even on the remaster it sounds like he is still lower in the mix than the other instruments. Rick does a great job on the tunes/albums he recorded with Yes but on the early stuff he mostly plays mellotron/organ.He does a great "6 Wives" with its excerpts of Bach from "Messiah" done on mellotron. Some of Rick's keyboard voicings live do not sound at all like the albums sounds he recorded. But this is mostly a minor quibble. Steve plays wonderfully on both discs and I think is what drives them live and in the studio as well. Steve is probably the best represented here with his playing and he is all over the place with his slightly left of the norm virtuosity.

    The version of "Siberian Khatru" is awesome and is probably better than the album version. "And You and I" is done basically all electric and does come off as weaker than the album version. "Roundabout", "Close to the Edge", "Perpetual Change", and "Yours is No Disgrace" are all played wonderfully and show the "awesome power and energy" that Yes could generate was present at this show.

    This album was and continues to this day to be a true showcase for the professionalism that Yes exhibited live and a testament that they were just not a "studio" band but could "deliver the goods" live as well. No wonder people consider this to be the best of the 70's live albums. It is phenomenal. I think it is one of the best live albums of all time.

    yogibear
    http://www.progressiveears.com/asp/r...sp?albumID=924

    As much as I hate "cover bands", one of the most impressive live performances I've ever seen was Going For The Ones's rendition of Yessongs. here's a vid:



    And here'e Yes:

    Regards,

    Duncan

  2. #2
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    And the video is one of the best of all time too, warts and all.

  3. #3
    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Yessongs will always hold a special place in my memory and personal history of musical loves. Although I have the vinyl and CDs, it's actually the ancient VHS copy that I watched so much in my youth. Mesmerizing then, and still enjoyable now. I was always disappointed that "Starship Trooper" was (mostly) cut from the film...

    Every time I think of that film, the first image that comes to mind is the blurry closeup of Rick's cape during the opening of his "Six Wives" solo.
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

  4. #4
    I'll be the first detractor.

    Mushy sound. Loud cymbals. And. That. Fucking. Tambourine.

    So much of live Yes is ruined for me because Anderson can't stop hitting that damn thing. I want to hear what the drummer is doing. I want space between the instruments. I want to hear what everyone is doing. And Anderson's insistence on constantly hitting that thing gets in the way of all that and muddies everything else.

    I'm quite ok with that being my hang-up, and I don't need anyone telling me how wrong I am. I know I'm wrong, and I should love this album. But it's not going to happen.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  5. #5
    Not to cast aspersions on Yessongs, but the best live album is ELP's PaaE, closely followed by KC's USA.

  6. #6
    Member Oreb's Avatar
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    My introduction to the band via a library copy I taped and kept as a memento for many years.

    In a funny way it had a negative impact for me: when I eventually tracked down The Yes Album I was dismayed at how comparatively pedestrian the studio tracks sounded in comparison to the blazing live versions. Took a while to appreciate TYA for the gem it is, but the Yessong versions of those tracks will always be for me the definnitive ones.

    One more anecdote: I was always rather haunted by the brief melody Jon hums (is it before introducing Rick's solo spot?) Then a friend played me The Rite of Spring...

    Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a life for you?

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    took me a while to figure out you were refering to ELPS Pictures at an Exhibition. While that was recorded live, I never considered a "Live" album like Yessongs or USA. Mainly because when it was released, it an original recording that hadn't been released previously.

  8. #8
    Traversing The Dream 100423's Avatar
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    I love this album!

  9. #9
    I like this album. I don’t prefer any of the tunes to the studio counterparts but I must admit, the Yes Album material comes close. Wakeman’s contributions definitely lift the pieces and Howe is on fire (especially on “Starship Trooper”)!

    One piece that I definitely do prefer in its live version compared to its studio counterpart: “Ritual” from Yesshows. I thought the studio version had great moments but didn’t cohere, for some reason the live version just feels stronger all round.

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    Member Paulrus's Avatar
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    Boy, so many memories.

    This thing was the soundtrack to most of my time in high school. I inherited my older brother's copy after he'd gone off to join the navy. I would sit for hours listening to it and pouring over the Dean sleeve artwork and booklet, being generally blown away at the group's ability to combine precision with power. The murky and uneven mix merely added atmosphere and depth -- as if you were really sitting in the balcony or something. I *so* needed to track down the film after hearing this, but none of the video stores in SoCal carried it (this was the anti-prog late 70s/early 80s) and when I finally found a theater running it as a midnight double feature with The Song Remains the Same I happily drove out to see it -- bad splices, scratches and all. It was like a spiritual fucking pilgrimage!

    Plus, this was the set that taught every other band about how the live versions of songs should just kick the living *shit* out of their studio counterparts. IMO "Yours Is No Disgrace" from Yessongs is pretty much the most bad ass piece of rock music ever performed.

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    I had the original vinyl... long lost ago... Maybe one day I'll buy the DVD
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from drug-addicts to complete nutcases.

  12. #12
    I don't have it!!!! And I'm a Yes fan!! What're the odds for that?
    Check out my concert videos on my youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/broadaccent

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Trane View Post
    I had the original vinyl... long lost ago... Maybe one day I'll buy the DVD
    I still have it on vinyl, and on CD. It was my first Yes-album.

  14. #14
    The best live album ever ...nothing else comes close !

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    There are a couple of anomalies regarding Yessongs,but first I have to agree with Duncan and Yogi,this is my all time favorite live album. Ok, here I go: 1. Your Move DOES NOT contain John Lennon's "all we are saying is give peace a chance" and seems to be the only place ttbomk where it doesn't. 2. And You And I starts out with the bridge in a lower key,CTTE version and all other live versions except Q.P.R use the acoustic harmonics played by Steve with Rick on organ. I have always wondered why Yes changed the arrangement for this album and again at Q.P.R. 2 years down the road,then went back to the studio version from then on,except maybe YesWest's version on YesYears....but at this moment I can't remember. I loved hearing Rick Wakeman showcasing his monumental talent on songs from The Yes Album,which as we all know he had no part in composing. I love what he does on them esp. the solo on Wurm. But for me the best part of Yessongs is Chris Squire's Tour-De-Force Bass solo on The Fish incorporating Led Zeppelin's Friends somehow......rates as best bass solo by anyone afaic.

    People bitch about the sound quality on this and it amazes me. It's 1972,Eddie Offord at the mixing board and Yes are literally white hot in performance mode on different nights and stages. What is there to bitch about? I can think of about 10 live albums recorded in the last 5 years that sound way worse than this...but I won't name them here. I love Yessongs.

  16. #16
    This is for me YES' essence perhaps their peak

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Mushy sound. Loud cymbals. And. That. Fucking. Tambourine.
    I'll have to agree. I actually mostly prefer the studio versions to this, particularly the CttE- and the Yes Album-material, but also "Roundabout". Both "Starship Trooper" and the saggy "Yours is No Disgrace" appear somewhat lacking in steam, and their attempts at "jamming" aren't exactly successful.

    I absolutely love "Heart of the Sunrise" here, though. And "Perpetual Change" is good, despite the overlong finishing section.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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    Oh yea, "The Fish" on here is unbelievable. Unfortunately, the people complaining about "Bad sound" and "rough video" (on the video) have been weened on HD pictures, blu-rays and having access instant access to everything. They really have no idea what it would've been like to see this when it came out, at the midnight movie showings, etc.
    Last edited by 80s were ok; 01-12-2013 at 08:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rand Kelly View Post
    People bitch about the sound quality on this and it amazes me. It's 1972,Eddie Offord at the mixing board and Yes are literally white hot in performance mode on different nights and stages. What is there to bitch about? I can think of about 10 live albums recorded in the last 5 years that sound way worse than this...but I won't name them here. I love Yessongs.
    I agree 100%. Fuck this complaining about the sound quality. The performances are great and Howe is on fire.

    Rick

  20. #20
    My first ever music purchase with my own money. I don't care about the "muddled" sound, its performances like "Yours Is No Disgrace" and "Roundabout" that still has a special place in my heart. Ironically I've been thinking about Genesis's Seconds Out for reasons relating to this day.
    Be a loyal plastic robot for a world that doesn't care... Frank Zappa

  21. #21
    Certainly among the definitive live albums of the 70s. This one captures some really spirited and exciting performances, though there is so much live Yes out there in one form or another that one can usually find performances that are just as good, if not better. But overall, this is a pretty great set performance-wise. Sound quality never bothered me too much on the album, though I always did find it a bit "thin," even on vinyl.

    Much as I liked it back in the day, I don't find myself reaching for it that much anymore. The drum solo and Wamekan's and Squire's solo spots just get dull to me now, and I've just heard Roundabout and Your Move too many times to enjoy them much anymore. On the other hand, Howe's extended solo in YiND is still stunning as ever, possibly among his finest recorded moments, and there are lots of other good moments. Maybe I'll made a CDR of select tracks for the occasional spin.

    Quote Originally Posted by 80s were ok View Post
    Unfortunately, the people complaining about "Bad sound" and "rough video" (on the video) have been weened on HD pictures, blu-rays and having access instant access to everything. They really have no idea what it would've been like to see this when it came out, at the midnight movie showings, etc.
    Well, I'm not sure that is true. I first saw the film in a cinema in West Springfield, MA in the early 80s on a pilgrimage with all my "Yes fiend" friends. The fact is that the video was rough (made rougher by the film actually splitting in the middle and then dying completely at the end during the Starship Trooper outro). And the film does have bad sound, worse than the album, even on the DVD (though I have the original release). We pilgrims were all pretty disappointed with it, though it was cool to catch a glimpse of the band in their prime. In that regard, I enjoy the film for what it is, but have always recognized its flaws. And I definitely didn't grow up with HD anything, unless "HD" is short for "heavy drumsets," of which I've helped schlep my share.

    Bill

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by 80s were ok View Post
    Unfortunately, the people complaining about "Bad sound" and "rough video" (on the video) have been weened on HD pictures, blu-rays and having access instant access to everything.
    That's just not a very good argument. Crimson and Zappa were making live recordings at this time that far exceed in terms of quality what Yes has here (note: not all of KC's and FZ's live albums sound great). But, in truth, the sound doesn't ruin it for me. I guess I just prefer some bands in the studio.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  23. #23
    Member Jerjo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rand Kelly View Post
    It's 1972,Eddie Offord at the mixing board and Yes are literally white hot in performance mode on different nights and stages. What is there to bitch about?
    I think the problem is that Eddie Offord is at the mixing board. Great producer but he couldn't enunciate the bottom end or produce drums to save his freaking life.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is Yes at their peak and the performances are stunning. But the sound on this album makes the original mix of Exile on Main St sound like it was produced by Alan Parsons.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sputnik View Post
    Certainly among the definitive live albums of the 70s. This one captures some really spirited and exciting performances, though there is so much live Yes out there in one form or another that one can usually find performances that are just as good, if not better. But overall, this is a pretty great set performance-wise. Sound quality never bothered me too much on the album, though I always did find it a bit "thin," even on vinyl.

    Much as I liked it back in the day, I don't find myself reaching for it that much anymore. The drum solo and Wamekan's and Squire's solo spots just get dull to me now, and I've just heard Roundabout and Your Move too many times to enjoy them much anymore. On the other hand, Howe's extended solo in YiND is still stunning as ever, possibly among his finest recorded moments, and there are lots of other good moments. Maybe I'll made a CDR of select tracks for the occasional spin.


    Well, I'm not sure that is true. I first saw the film in a cinema in West Springfield, MA in the early 80s on a pilgrimage with all my "Yes fiend" friends. The fact is that the video was rough (made rougher by the film actually splitting in the middle and then dying completely at the end during the Starship Trooper outro). And the film does have bad sound, worse than the album, even on the DVD (though I have the original release). We pilgrims were all pretty disappointed with it, though it was cool to catch a glimpse of the band in their prime. In that regard, I enjoy the film for what it is, but have always recognized its flaws. And I definitely didn't grow up with HD anything, unless "HD" is short for "heavy drumsets," of which I've helped schlep my share.

    Bill

    Me and a couple of friends went to the Century 21 theater in Sacramento,Ca. on Friday night and Saturday Night because it was only playing for those 2 nights on it's debut release in I want to say,1974. The projectionist wisely cranked the volume and this was before multi-channel sound movie theaters. I remember just grinning ear to ear on both nights. This movie was like visiting heaven twice. I didn't care that half the album wasn't there or that the running order made no sense. We were just glad to have the privilege to see them on the big screen.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    I think the problem is that Eddie Offord is at the mixing board. Great producer but he couldn't enunciate the bottom end or produce drums to save his freaking life.

    Don't get me wrong, I think this is Yes at their peak and the performances are stunning. But the sound on this album makes the original mix of Exile on Main St sound like it was produced by Alan Parsons.
    Strange comparison,Exile On Main Street was a studio album. Apples and Oranges?

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