(front and back covers - click for larger views)
There were plans at one point to release the album with two different covers, but it was eventually decided to make one the front and one the back. The front cover contains a reference to the Time and a Word
cover, and the back cover actually comes from a painting that Roger Dean already had completed.
Jon Anderson - Vocals
Peter Banks - Guitar, Vocals
Bill Bruford - Drums
Steve Howe - Guitar, Vocals
Tony Kaye - Keyboards
Chris Squire - Bass, Vocals
Rick Wakeman - Keyboards
Time and a Word
Up to this point, Yes had put out seven studio albums in seven years. Not particularly unusual in those days, but when you consider that one of those was a double album, and just how much music goes into a Yes album, you can understand that the band needed a break. They took a two-year break, during which time all five members released their first solo albums. (Rick Wakeman, their prolific on again, off again keyboard player, released his third and
fourth albums as well as a movie soundtrack during this time).
Still, this left Atlantic Records with no new music from one of their biggest-selling bands, so Yesterdays
was created to fill the void. It is an odd album, leading off with a then-rare track from the Fragile
lineup, filled out with selected songs from the first two albums (some of which are alternate versions), and closing with an unreleased track, "Dear Father", also from the original lineup.
Promotional albums featuring different bands from a particular label were rather popular in those days. Because the label already owned the rights to the songs and the bands, they were relatively cheap to produce, and if you knew one or more bands that had songs on the album, you might buy it and thus become exposed to several more new bands. The Age of Atlantic
was followed by The New Age of Atlantic
and it was this second promotional album which featured one of the first songs recorded by Yes after Rick Wakeman had joined the band, their amazing 10-minute cover of Paul Simon's "America".
Yes didn't have many unreleased tracks in those days; most every song they recorded made its way onto an album. The only two exceptions were included here. And while it's not clear why the remaining songs were all from the first two albums, it may be because those first two were before Yes were really well known, and Atlantic felt that they could use a sales boost.
In November 1975, Chris Squire released Fish Out Of Water
and Steve Howe released Beginnings
. Fish Out Of Water
has some great songs, is very prog, and is practically a lost Yes album. Chris' high voice is well-known to Yes fans and is similar to Jon's, so it's no surprise that his lead vocals are quite good, and to give it an even more Yeslike sound, Bill Bruford plays drums and Patrick Moraz provides the keyboards.Beginnings
is an excellent showpiece for Steve. Both Alan White and Bill Bruford appear on drums on various tracks, and Patrick Moraz appears on keyboards, but overall the album is not really very prog, although to be fair that's clearly not the intention. There are solo guitar pieces, other instrumentals, and some actual songs. I'm sorry to say, but Steve is fine as a background vocalist, but perhaps should reconsider doing lead vocals on his solo albums.
1976 saw the release of Alan White's Ramshackled
. Jon Anderson and Steve Howe both appear on this album. It is the only one of the solo albums from this period that I've never heard, so I can't really comment on it (but I've heard that it's not great).
Right behind Ramshackled
was Patrick Moraz's The Story of I
. The Story of I
is a concept album with some songs and a lot of instrumental work, mostly keyboards, somewhere between early electronica and new age. At the time, it was quite groundbreaking, and I know a lot of people who really enjoy it, but I have a bit of trouble with it. I only first heard it a few years ago, and maybe it's because it sounds rather dated by today's standards. No other Yes members play on this album.
The last of the solo Yes albums from this period was Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow
. Most people consider either this album or Chris Squire's Fish Out Of Water
to be the best of the lot. Olias of Sunhillow
tells the story inspired by the cover of Fragile
and concluded on Yessongs
. The "earth" (not capitalized) is going to explode, and Olias the shipbuilder builds The Moorglade to take his people to a new world. No other Yes members play on this album, but that's because Jon plays all the instruments and sings all the vocal parts himself. Oddly, although Roger Dean did all the paintings which inspired the story, he was not asked to provide the cover for this album.
Just as Yes took a break at this point and fans were given all this to fill in the gap, I'm taking one too. I'm going on vacation, so no more Yes Discography updates for a while. I might
be able to post if the place where we're going has wi-fi, but I don't know.