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Thread: Steve Howe: solo artist

  1. #26
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    Howe is the kind of artist that shines in an ensemble setting and needs band collaborators. As a solo artist, he's sorely lacking, although his guitar playing is always great.

  2. #27
    Really enjoy the Trio stuff. Got me to explore Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. There is an excellent show on Dime from 2013 called "Friday the 13th at the Cellars". Looking forward to the new one.

  3. #28
    So I've got The Grand Scheme Of Things on right now. The instrumentals are great, of course, and ya know what? I'm not really being bothered by the vocals that much here. I had the first Homebrew on last night, and I felt the same about the vocals there, they really weren't that bad.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    So I've got The Grand Scheme Of Things on right now. The instrumentals are great, of course, and ya know what? I'm not really being bothered by the vocals that much here. I had the first Homebrew on last night, and I felt the same about the vocals there, they really weren't that bad.
    If I remember right Steve had singing lessons before recording this album - not a joke, seriously.

  5. #30
    Member SunshipVoyager1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    So I've got The Grand Scheme Of Things on right now. The instrumentals are great, of course, and ya know what? I'm not really being bothered by the vocals that much here. I had the first Homebrew on last night, and I felt the same about the vocals there, they really weren't that bad.
    As I mentioned above, I think Keith West's presence is helpful in the vocal dept. on GSoT.

  6. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve983 View Post
    If I remember right Steve had singing lessons before recording this album - not a joke, seriously.
    Yeah, I can believe it. I mean, it's been a long long time since I've listened to Beginnings, and at the moment, I can't find my CD copy, so that's preempting me from putting it on now, but I remember listening to that and thinking his singing was terrible.

    But there was something I listened to much later, maybe it was The Grand Scheme Of Things, or it might have one of the live things or whatever, but I do remember at some point feeling his singing had definitely improved. So maybe that had something to do with it.

    But even some of the demos from the 1980's that are on Homebrew are like that, so maybe he took the singing lessons at some point in the 80's, who knows?
    As I mentioned above, I think Keith West's presence is helpful in the vocal dept. on GSoT.
    To be honest, I didn't really notice West's presence that much, but then, he's mostly singing vocal harmony, I think. Howe's singing most or all the lead vocals.

    I remember Mike Rutherford once explaining why he doesn't sing lead vocals with Mike & The Mechanics, by saying that "Every great song deserves a great voice, and I am not that voice". I don't think Howe has a "great voice" either, but really, neither does Jon Anderson, if you ask me. But I think Howe has managed to improve his singing to the point where it is reasonably palatable.

  7. #32
    Member SunshipVoyager1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, I can believe it. I mean, it's been a long long time since I've listened to Beginnings, and at the moment, I can't find my CD copy, so that's preempting me from putting it on now, but I remember listening to that and thinking his singing was terrible.

    But there was something I listened to much later, maybe it was The Grand Scheme Of Things, or it might have one of the live things or whatever, but I do remember at some point feeling his singing had definitely improved. So maybe that had something to do with it.

    But even some of the demos from the 1980's that are on Homebrew are like that, so maybe he took the singing lessons at some point in the 80's, who knows?


    To be honest, I didn't really notice West's presence that much, but then, he's mostly singing vocal harmony, I think. Howe's singing most or all the lead vocals.

    I remember Mike Rutherford once explaining why he doesn't sing lead vocals with Mike & The Mechanics, by saying that "Every great song deserves a great voice, and I am not that voice". I don't think Howe has a "great voice" either, but really, neither does Jon Anderson, if you ask me. But I think Howe has managed to improve his singing to the point where it is reasonably palatable.
    With Anderson it isn't technique but tone, he has a very haunting and unique tone. Steve has learned breath control since his first record enough to carry a lead vocal. He was always tolerable as a harmony vocalist IMHO, but only because the blend with Squire and Anderson's voices worked so well.

    Mike was always very hard on his voice- he isn't great but he could at least carry a tune...

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e7WtYn0ieG8

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, I can believe it. I mean, it's been a long long time since I've listened to Beginnings, and at the moment, I can't find my CD copy, so that's preempting me from putting it on now, but I remember listening to that and thinking his singing was terrible.
    I listened to Beginnings last night. There were definitely a few moments where I truly cringed and honestly couldn't believe he left some vocal passages there. I simply can't believe he couldn't have gotten a better pass on those passages, because at times he is actually quite in tune. I'm not saying his voice is particularly great, but at least he demonstrates that he can hit the notes at times. There's even a multi-voice a capella section that amazingly is one of the best vocal performances on the album!

    He doesn't have a great voice and never will, but I think if he took a bit more care and cleaned up a few things, Beginnings' vocals wouldn't have the reputation they do (it wouldn't be great, but it wouldn't be as horrible). I also still think the mix is wonky and lacks high end. I have the original Japanese pressing of the CD, which pretty much conforms to my memory of the vinyl. I know it was remastered, but I'm never ditching this CD, so I never bothered. But in addition to the lack of treble, I think Howe's voice doesn't sit very well in this mix, and some of the acoustic guitars have the same problem.

    All that aside, though, I largely enjoyed hearing this album again after a long time. Yeah, it has its flaws, but if you can get used to it, it has its charms too and I'm glad I own it. I encourage you to give it fresh spin with low expectations, and it wouldn't surprise me if you wind up liking it more than you'd anticipated.

    Bill

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    So I've got The Grand Scheme Of Things on right now. The instrumentals are great, of course, and ya know what? I'm not really being bothered by the vocals that much here.
    I've always really enjoyed this song - vocals and all. Though I think Keith West does some of the singing on here:


  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by SunshipVoyager1976 View Post
    With Anderson it isn't technique but tone, he has a very haunting and unique tone. Steve has learned breath control since his first record enough to carry a lead vocal. He was always tolerable as a harmony vocalist IMHO, but only because the blend with Squire and Anderson's voices worked so well.
    Yeah, that's why it was so surprising to me when I heard him sing lead, I thought he always sounded great doing the harmonies with Squire and Anderson.



    Mike was always very hard on his voice- he isn't great but he could at least carry a tune...
    Well, yes, but he does sort of have a point. If you compare his voice to that of Paul Young or Paul Carrack, there is a very distinct difference in quality. One wonders if something like Living Years would have been a hit if Mike had sung it, instead of Paul Carrack.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, that's why it was so surprising to me when I heard him sing lead, I thought he always sounded great doing the harmonies with Squire and Anderson.




    Well, yes, but he does sort of have a point. If you compare his voice to that of Paul Young or Paul Carrack, there is a very distinct difference in quality. One wonders if something like Living Years would have been a hit if Mike had sung it, instead of Paul Carrack.
    Oh, Mike absolutely made the correct choice to hire two pro singers for the Mechanics. I do think the personal nature of the lyrics (and the novelty of the school chorale arrangement) probably would have allowed "Living Years" to make a major chart impact even if Mike had sung it, but it certainly would have diminished the record's emotional impact!

  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, that's why it was so surprising to me when I heard him sing lead, I thought he always sounded great doing the harmonies with Squire and Anderson.
    Who would you give the nod to for backing vocals.. Peter Banks or Steve Howe?.. I'd go with Peter everytime

  13. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Who would you give the nod to for backing vocals.. Peter Banks or Steve Howe?.. I'd go with Peter everytime
    Ya know what? I've never really thought about the harmony vocals on the first couple Yes albums. I'll have to keep that in mind the next time I'm listening to them.

  14. #39
    Member SunshipVoyager1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Who would you give the nod to for backing vocals.. Peter Banks or Steve Howe?.. I'd go with Peter everytime
    You can certainly put my hat in the Banks ring. Even when the material on the first couple Yes records was a bit duff, the vocal blend was stronger.

  15. #40
    Tough to answer. Sometimes the "character" vocal adds that certain something that elevates a song & makes it unique. No one sings a Richard Thompson song better than Richard Thompson - not even Sandy Denny. Do feel free to disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    Who would you give the nod to for backing vocals.. Peter Banks or Steve Howe?.. I'd go with Peter everytime
    Sleeping at home is killing the hotel business!

  16. #41
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Skyline: this is one is sort of a somewhat new-agey sounding instrumental disc, a sort of a duo album with a keyboardist named Paul Sutin. I kinda liked this, but I have to spend more time with it.
    He has two others with Sutin, and I think they're both credited to Sutin/Howe. All in a similar, new-agey vein. Nice background music.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Homebrew 2: I have the first three Homebrew albums (Wiki says there's been six so far). I've got the 2nd one playing right now. There's some good stuff on this and the first one, as they're all demos of various things, many of which ended up on various records in other forms. One thing that's kinda neat is hearing some of the raw musical ideas that he brought to, let's say a Yes record, before they got fashioned into the more complete form that we've heard them in previously. Volume two here has a bunch of things that ended up on Keys To Ascension, I think there's a couple things related to GTR here, etc. Oh, and there's the demo to what we now know as To Be Over.
    These are interesting, but they're not "listening albums," for me. There's a lot of good stuff here, but they're kind of scattered.


    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I'm kinda dreading listening to The Grand Scheme Of Things,
    As others have said, the instrumentals are pretty good, and this probably has his best vocals (though, they're still not that great).

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    I am looking forward to listening to his all acoustic album, Natural Timbre because, well, once again, it's all instrumental, and again, it's basically want to hear from someone like Steve Howe.
    I really like this one. I'd been waiting for him to do one like it for years, and for me, this one doesn't disappoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by StarThrower View Post
    Bought the LP 40 years ago. All's A Chord is a really nice muti-tracked guitar composition. And I like the classical guitar piece, Surface Tension.
    "Surface Tension" is absolutely gorgeous. Back when I played, I tried and tried to learn this one, but just could never get it right. Just a beautiful piece of music.

    "All's a Chord" is a really nice song that would have been more successful with a more competent vocalist. Someone like Annie Haslam could have really made this one shine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fracktured View Post
    I often though that he could do a great solo acoustic album but maybe 40 minutes would be a stretch to listen to if Steve only on acoustic guitar.
    As mentioned, check out Natural Timbre.

    Quote Originally Posted by happytheman View Post
    I think Time is an often overlooked release.
    Agreed. I like that one, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by SunshipVoyager1976 View Post
    Oh! And if you like jazz, particularly organ/guitar/drum trios from the 1950's and 1960's (think Wes Montgomery), the SH Trio albums are very fun...
    Quote Originally Posted by elliottnow View Post
    Really enjoy the Trio stuff. Got me to explore Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell. There is an excellent show on Dime from 2013 called "Friday the 13th at the Cellars". Looking forward to the new one.
    Absolutely! Love 'em. When is the new one coming out?



    All that said, I think Turbulence is far and away his best solo work. Great arrangements, no vocals, just a consistently great album.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

  17. #42
    Lots to love in Howe's solo catalogue. His earliest albums are diverse in style, but in recent years, he's very much believed in each album having a clear theme. Time, the "classical" album, is great. I also love Natural Timbre. It's not been mentioned, but I also enjoy Portraits of Bob Dylan. Anthology is a good sampler, and Anthology 2, focusing on band work, is a great sampler, with about one third being otherwise unreleased. The Steve Howe Trio is fantastic: new album, New Frontier, is due late Sep... with input from Bill Bruford!

    Henry
    Where Are They Now? Yes news: http://www.bondegezou.co.uk/wh_now.htm
    Blogdegezou, the accompanying blog: http://bondegezou.blogspot.com/

  18. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    with input from Bill Bruford!
    As in drumming input?

  19. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by yamishogun View Post
    As in drumming input?
    No, as in composing input, which is more exciting. It seems. It's not that clear yet...

    Henry
    Where Are They Now? Yes news: http://www.bondegezou.co.uk/wh_now.htm
    Blogdegezou, the accompanying blog: http://bondegezou.blogspot.com/

  20. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    No, as in composing input, which is more exciting. It seems. It's not that clear yet...

    Henry
    Thanks. I didn't think he would take the cloth off the drum kit, but you never know.

  21. #46
    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bondegezou View Post
    The Steve Howe Trio is fantastic: new album, New Frontier, is due late Sep... with input from Bill Bruford!

    Henry
    Awesome.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

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