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Yes? No? Maybe? I don’t know! Can you repeat the question? (GTLIYWI) 1

I’m in the process of making a movie about Twitter. It’s going to be similar to The Social Network but with fewer characters. (the bad jokes will continue until morale improves). Today’s delve back into the past is not going to be a double album, oh no, it’s our first, (of many) TRIPLE albums! Our cups, and running times, runneth over! So for our first entrant we feature the prog giants Yes and their 1973 live album, Yesssongs.

Yessongs is the first live album by the English progressive rock band Yes, released as a triple album (their first but not their last) in May 1973 on Atlantic Records. After completing their Close to the Edge Tour in April 1973, the band selected live recordings between February and December 1972 on their tours supporting Fragile (1971) and Close to the Edge (1972) for a live album release. Three tracks ( Perpetual Change, Long Distance Runaround, The Fish) feature original Yes drummer Bill Bruford while the remaining tracks feature his replacement, Alan White. Bruford’s departure came eleven days prior to the tour’s start, leaving White to learn the band’s repertoire in three days. The tour ended in April 1973, by which time Yes had made additional live recordings. Yessongs  received a mostly positive reception from music critics, though much of its criticism was directed at its sound quality. As producer Eddy Offord was in charge of the band’s sound on stage, he could not operate the recording equipment at the same time. This resulted in recordings that he was disappointed with as they were substandard. When it was time for the album to be edited and remixed, Offord and the band retreated to studio 2 at Advision Studios in Fitzrovia, London to complete it. Guitarist Steve Howe recalled the group treated the mixing process with as much care and importance as one of their studio albums with careful consideration to the preparation of the various edits and the finished product. The album was a commercial success for the band, reaching number 7 on the UK Albums Chart and number 12 on the US Billboard 200.

No mention of Lord of the Rings or Michael Moorcock here.

Variety published a positive review, noting the album shows the band at “their exciting best.” Band biographer Tim Morse thought the album’s downfall was its substandard audio quality despite the band’s strong performances.

Yes, along with Rush and Gabriel-era Genesis, were one of the band’s that introduced my young ears to the glorious world of prog-rock. The Yes Album, Fragile and Close To The Edge are fantastic examples of prog albums to me; wonderful long songs, superb musicianship and glorious solos by the bucket load and all the songs on here are taken from those 3 records, except for the Stravinsky Firebird opener and, for some reason, an excerpt from Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry VIII, (which makes me yearn for a drum solo!). The performances on here are excellent, the band are firing on all cylinders here, from Anderson’s soaring vocals, Howe’s stunning riffing and soloing, Squire’s bass driving the band onwards and upwards. The only issue here is the poor sound quality throughout the album, which manages to makes the album both tinny and fuzzy at the same time; it’s more like a glorified bootleg than an official release. And that’s a shame as the songs on here showcase the very best that Yes had to offer up to that point in time. Close to the Edge, Long Distance Runaround, And You And I, I’ve Seen All Good People, Heart of the Sunrise; it’s a veritable greatest hits record. Side 6 for me is possibly my favourite side; I mean, what better to to end a live show with two of the most monster Yes tracks ever, Yours Is No Disgrace and Starship Trooper, with Howe’s guitar solo soaring majestically up into the rafters and beyond.

So is it excessive? 6 of the 13 tracks are over 10 minutes, 2 other tracks are a gnat’s erection away from 10 minutes, oh and did I mention that it’s a freaking TRIPLE ALBUM. However, in spite of all that the album doesn’t feel long or outstays it welcome. Were the critics right? Yeah, this album does showcase Yes at “their exciting best.” Would I listen to it again? Definitely, it’s a live greatest ‘hits’ album with very few flaws (sound quality notwithstanding). Would I recommend it? In a heartbeat. Is there a drum solo? Not only is there a drum solo but there’s a bloody bass solo too! But as it’s a bass-god Chris Squire solo, all is forgiven.

My score for this album is a very respectable 8 out of 10, half a point off for the Wakeman keyboard snooze-fest and 1 and a half points off for the sound quality but overall a great live document of a great prog band. Another triple live album re-evaluation is coming up in my next post, so I hope you can join me. Until then, keep it proggy and toodle-oo!

Published by Lusco Fusco

I'm just a creature from the heap so excuse my savage ignorance.

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