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Yes - Yesterdays CD (album) cover

YESTERDAYS

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.09 | 207 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 149

Yes, was formed in 1968 with Jon Anderson (vocals), Chris Squire (bass), Peter Banks (guitars), Tony Kaye (keyboards) and Bill Bruford (drums). Yes, always was a band where members often changed, and in some cases the members went out and returned to the group very often. Yes became as one of the most important bands of the 70's, together with Genesis and Pink Floyd. These three bands were the bands who farther contributed to the rise of the movement of Progressive Rock. These are probably the three bands, which more have influenced progressive groups, until today.

'Yesterdays' is a compilation of Yes and was released in 1975. 'Yesterdays' is a collection of songs of the band and was launched at the time in which the band members released their solo musical projects. It consists mostly of material of their first two albums, their eponymous debut studio album 'Yes' and their second studio album 'Time And A Word'. Added to this, it features the B side 'Dear Father' and a cover of the song 'America' of Simon & Garfunkel.

All tracks on this compilation feature the original line up of the group with Peter Banks and Tony Kaye, except on 'America', which includes Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman, on guitar and keyboards respectively. So, the band members that participate on this compilation are Jon Anderson (vocals), Peter Banks (guitar), Steve Howe (guitar), Tony Kaye (keyboards), Rick Wakeman (keyboards), Chris Squire (vocals and bass guitar) and Bill Bruford (drums).

This was the last Yes' album until their tenth studio album 'Drama' to use a cover of the artwork of Roger Dean. The front cover of the album presents elements of the front cover of 'Time And A Word', and when I say the front cover of the album I mean the U.K. front cover, while the back cover was designed to be used as an alternative front cover.

'Yesterdays' has eight tracks. The first track 'America' is a cover of a Simon & Garfunkel's song released on their studio album 'Bookends', in 1968. It never was released on any studio album of them. It was featured on an Atlantic Record sampler album called 'The New Age Of Atlantic', in 1972, which was a collection of songs that became noted, especially due to two of them. The Yes' 'America' cover song and Led Zeppelin's 'Hey, Hey, What Can I Do', both unavailable elsewhere at that time. The second track 'Looking Around' was released on 'Yes', the third track 'Time And A Word' was released on 'Time And A Word', the fourth track 'Sweet Dreams' was released on 'Time And A Word', the fifth track 'Then' was released on 'Time And A Word', the sixth track 'Survival' was released on 'Yes', the seventh track 'Astral Traveller' was released on 'Time And A Word' and the eighth track 'Dear Father' was also a song which never was released on any studio album of Yes. It was released as the B side of the 'Sweet Dreams' single, a song taken from 'Time And A Word' and that was the single that served to promote the album at the time.

So, 'Yesterdays' is basically a compilation of tracks from the two very first Yes' albums. But Atlantic was of course wise enough to also include a couple of non album tracks, as a bait. The version of Paul Simon's 'America' was originally released as a single in 1972, but here we get the full length, a 10 minute version, in all its glory. It shows very well how a simple and light pop tune can be transformed into a complex progressive rock track. This track is a complete surprise because, besides being an extensive version of the original song, isn't a soft ballad song as the original version. It respects completely the original spirit of the song but is, at the same time, a completely new song. And we also may say that this is practically a Yes' song. This is a great cover song. The other non album track is 'Dear Father', a simple and beautiful song which was only released as a single. It's a very calm song with many time changes and with beautiful Jon Anderson's vocals perfectly supported by Chris Squire's vocals. However, its inclusion here will probably please completists most, as the song has a rather typical B side quality and is really not all that good. The rest of the album consists of thoughtfully selected songs from the first two albums. As I said before, from the debut we have 'Survival' and 'Looking Around', and from the second 'Astral Traveller', 'Then', 'Sweet Dreams' and the title track.

Conclusion: Usually, I don't much care about progressive rock compilations. However, in this case, I'm convinced that somehow 'Yesterdays' is a little bit different. If by one hand this is an historical document of the group, by other hand it has two songs that never were released on any studio album of them. In the third place, and most important of all, this compilation is very good representative of the first musical period of the group, a kind of a pre- musical period, a period where Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman weren't yet present in the group. So, 'Yesterdays' will be a fine alternative if you want to get a glimpse of Yes in their earliest phase without having to buy both their two first albums. The only thing I can't understand is the absence of 'Harold Land', one of the two best tracks on 'Yes'. Despite 'Looking Around' be a good song, it hasn't the progressivity and quality of 'Harold Land' and it should have been replaced by it. But 'America' makes it also worth having for others. And Roger Dean's cover art should also be counted as a bonus.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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