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Yes - Classic Yes CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 174 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars Yesterdays II

I don't review compilations unless there is something extra that is not available on a band's regular albums. The present compilation is a borderline case in this respect because the only extras that you get here compared to the regular albums are two previously unreleased live tracks. On the original 1981 vinyl release of Classic Yes, the two live tracks came on a separate 7" disc that accompanied the LP which held the studio recordings. On later CD editions, the two live tracks were tagged on at the end of the same disc.

The two live tracks are Roundabout and I've Seen All Good People, both recorded in 1978 but on two separate occasions and in two different locations. These are both good and constitute worthy additions to a Yes fan's collection, but these particular versions are not exactly essential. Earlier recordings of both songs were included on Yessongs. Yet, the inclusion of these live tracks together with the nice Roger Dean cover art is what brings Classic Yes it's primary value.

When it comes to the seven studio tracks, these are of course all excellent but in every case better heard in their original album contexts. The selection focuses narrowly on the 1971-72 period with all but one of the seven tracks being taken from the trio of masterpieces The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge. That there is nothing from the two first Yes albums is easily forgiven as the earlier Yesterdays compilation had already focused on that early period, but the fact that there is nothing at all from either Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer, Tormato, or Drama, and only one song from Going For The One, is somewhat harder to overlook. Of course, there is only so much space on a vinyl LP which is a mitigating circumstance, but they could perhaps have expanded this into a double disc set.

Moving now from what isn't here to what is here. The Yes Album is well represented by Yours Is No Disgrace and Starship Trooper, two of that album's best tracks. Close To The Edge is similarly well represented by the wonderful And You And I. Heart Of The Sunrise is a perfect choice from Fragile but I think that Long Distance Runaround and especially Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) are somewhat odd choices for a compilation.

Progressive Rock is not very well suited for compilations and it is strongly recommended to go straight to the original albums from which these songs were taken (plus the live Yessongs). As far as compilations go, the four disc set Yesyears is a better choice than the present one.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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