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Yes - Classic Yes CD (album) cover

CLASSIC YES

Yes

 

Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 174 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Review Nš 174

'Classic Yes' is a compilation of Yes and was released in 1981. Originally it was released as a single LP with a bonus 7 inch 33 1/3 RPM disc featuring live versions of 'Roundabout' and 'I've Seen All Good People' from 1978. However, this version was taken out of circulation in 2003. The Atlantic Records cassette tape has bonus tracks 'Roundabout' as the last selection on side one and 'I've Seen All Good People' as the last selection on side two. On the remastered CD version of 2004 everything has been compiled onto to the main disc, as on the original cassette version.

'Classic Yes' has nine tracks. The first track 'Heart Of The Sunrise' was released on 'Fragile'. It was written by Anderson, Squire and Bruford. It became as one of the best and most popular tracks played live by them. It's the best track on that album and it binds together the gentle and bombastic atmosphere and the fiery technicality that are portrayed on 'Fragile'. It also shows several aspects of Anderson's great vocal abilities. The second track 'Wonderous Stories' was released on 'Going For The One'. It was written by Anderson and is a typical Anderson's song. It's a beautiful ballad with great vocals and beautiful instrumental parts. It's the smallest song on 'Going For The One' and is fascinating how a band can be able to introduce so much complexity into a so short song. The third track 'Yours Is No Disgrace' was released on 'The Yes Album'. It was written by Anderson, Squire, Howe, Kaye and Bruford and is the first long track made by them. The lyrics are simple but musically we can see the progressivity on their music, especially due to the guitar and keyboard workings. The fourth track 'Starship Trooper' is a song divided into three parts, 'Life Seeker', 'Disillusion' and 'Wurm', and was released on 'The Yes Album'. It was written by Howe. It's another long composition and is another great song of the band, which became a classic of Yes. This is the first musical suite composed by them, absolutely fantastic, with great individual musical performances by all band's members. The fifth track 'Long Distance Runaround' was released on 'Fragile'. It was written by Anderson and is the smallest track on 'Fragile'. It's perhaps, the most charming of all 'Fragile' songs, with Anderson singing, while Howe's guitar and Wakeman's keyboards, marry beautifully together in the mix. The sixth track 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)' was released on 'Fragile'. It's the Squire experience on 'Fragile', where he uses the different sounds on his bass guitar. Who read my review of 'Fragile' knows that I don't like very much of the individual tracks of the band, on that album. The seventh track 'And You And I' is a song divided into four parts 'Cord Of Life', 'Eclipse', 'The Preacher The Teacher' and 'The Apocalypse' and was released on 'Close To The Edge'. It was written by Anderson, Howe, Squire and Bruford. It's a melodious track and is probably the most commercial song on 'Close To The Edge'. It's shorter than the title track of that album, but it still has 10 minutes. It's a different piece on 'Close To The Edge' and serves an excellent position as a middle piece, relying less in virtuosity and more on musical atmosphere. The eighth track 'Roundabout' was released on 'Fragile'. But, the version on this compilation is a live version recorded at Oakland's Coliseum, San Francisco, California, USA, in 1978. It was written by Anderson and Howe and became as one of the best known tracks of Yes. This is one of the most played live pieces of Yes, with several versions on diverse live albums. An edited version was released as the A side on a single, with 'Long Distance Runaround' as the B side. It represents the new, collective and more inventive sound of the group, never heard before, and shows the musical power of Yes. The ninth track 'I've Seen All Good People' is a song divided into two parts 'Your Move' and 'All Good People' and was released on 'The Yes Album'. But, the version on this compilation is also a live version, but this time, it was recorded at the Empire Pool, Wembley, London, UK, in 1978. It was written by Anderson and Squire. This is also a classic composition of Yes, very well known, and it remains a standard of those days. It's another brilliant song that explores a vast musical world with great progressivity. It has two distinct musical parts, one more calm and acoustic and the other more rock and aggressive. However, the song shows a perfect balance between both parts of the track.

Conclusion: 'Classic Yes' is a very different compilation of 'Yesterdays', their debut compilation. While 'Yesterdays' has only songs from their first two albums, 'Yes' and 'Time And A Word', 'Classic Yes' has songs from 'Fragile', 'Going For The One', 'The Yes Album' and 'Close To The Edge'. So, while 'Yesterdays' represents the sound of a band giving their first steps, 'Classic Yes' represents the sound of a mature band, with tracks from their four best albums at that time. It has some of the best tracks ever composed by them with the exception of 'The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus)'. So, as I rated 'Yesterdays' with 3 stars, it would be fair that I rated 'Classic Yes' with four stars. However, this is a compilation album and despite 'Classic Yes' be an excellent compilation, perfectly representative of the music of Yes in those times, a compilation never can substitute the original albums. So, it's good but non essential.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 3/5 |

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