Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by PaulKTF, Jun 4, 2020.
The Yes Album
Close To The Edge
Keys To Ascencion
You made my post for me.
Great comp of the early material plus "America" Porky cut sounds amazing.
Those are the big 3 and really defined the band for me.
Over the years, though, I've come to really love Tales maybe more than any.
They lost me after Relayer, though was familiar Tormato and Drama, but started listening to a lot of punk music around that time. It wasn't until many years later that I visited their later catalogue and came to appreciate The Ladder and Fly From Here and some of the other releases.
I envy the OP exploring Yes for the first time!
The Yes Album is a good place to start
Start with Fragile, then The Yes Album and after that Close To The Edge. Then Going For The One, Relayer, Tales From and Topographic Oceans, after that 90125 and then any album except Open Your Eyes and Talk.
Studio - everything from the first album to Going For The One minus Tales From Topographic Oceans plus 90125 & Magnification & Fly From Here (original)
Live - Yessongs, The Word Is Live, Progeny Highlights From Seventy Two, Symphonic Live, Topographic Drama, Yes 50 Live, In The Present, House Of Yes
The Yes Album and Fragile are the best possible entry points. If you take to those at all, then give Close to the Edge a run. CTTE is generally tops among hard core fans, but not necessarily the best entry point.
I do like Tales From Topographic Oceans as well but really, you have hit the nail on the head with this list, in my opinion. An amazing run of albums, and one with which I think most fans of the classic era will agree.
I also think 90125 is of the same high quality, but of course it’s a very different type of music and not all fans of the ‘classic’ era will agree with this.
As for deeper gems:
Time and a Word
Keys to Ascension (studio tracks)
Keys to Ascension (live tracks)
The only other live albums I’ve heard are Yesshows and 9012live, but they don’t have the ‘greatest hits’ feel of the other three I listed, and there are only two or three proper songs on 9012live anyway.
Or perhaps the single LP compilation of the first 2 Yesterdays. It also has the 10 minute version of America.
If you have 5.1 sound, do YES ALBUM, then FRAGILE, then CLOSE TO THE EDGE, and finally TALES FROM TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS. They all rock in the Steve Wilson remixes.
The Yes Album was my introduction, thanks to some school friends at a listening session. (Those were the days. Getting together with friends at each others houses just to play albums!) I remember particularly the climax of Starship Trooper getting my attention! It got me into Yes. I'd recommend starting there. It's still my favorite of theirs.
The Yes Album, Fragile,
Essential and a lot of fun to listen to
If you have a surround sound setup, go for the bluray
I have just about everything. I agree with a lot of other posts that the early 1970s was Yes's peak, but there's good stuff elsewhere.
The Ultimate Yes is a pretty solid compilation if you want to dip your toe in the water and sample the band's various eras. It's hard to summarize a band like Yes on two CDs but this set comes close. There are UK and US configurations - the US version, on Rhino, is more comprehensive. (Disc 3 is a 20-minute EP of new, mostly acoustic, material.)
2. Wembley 1978
I think live Yes blows away studio Yes to the point that I never listen to Yes' studio albums.
Many of the CD versions of Big Generator are bright to the point of ear-bleed, but the track Aim High Shoot Low from that album might appeal:
Start with The Yes Album.
If you don't like that, stop right there. Not joking.
I've been a fan for three decades now and agree the approach of YA/Fragile/CTTE is best.
After that your paths vary depending on your tastes.
If you leave those thinking, "I'd like this even more if the songs lasted 30 min apiece" go for Tales.
If you leave those thinking, "Wonder what jazz fusion Yes sounds like", go for Relayer.
Otherwise proceed to Going for the One, which is IMO a return to form for the band in the 1970s. (No doubt I'll piss off fans of TFTO and Relayer here, but there's no denying those albums took some wind out of Yes's sails before punk did. Challenging and ambitious projects both, but a misstep remains a misstep)
If you then want to understand just how much punk set the prog universe adrift, Tormato is exhibit A.
Drama is a transitional album and was the bands polarizer, until 90125 was released. I'd consider both essential, albeit for different reasons.
After 90125 the catalog gets dicey for about 10-15 years, with a tug or war between two factions: one led by Rabin/Squire wanting capitalize on 90125's chart successes, and Howe wanting to revisit old glories, with Anderson bouncing around both camps. Thus the remainder of the catalog is optional listening. There are high points and low points throughout, but the highs never reach that three album run, and the lows get verrrry low.
This isn't even touching on their live offerings. My recommendation there would be the sampler edition of the massive Progeny box set. Yes was a great live band, depending on the era. Some are unfortunately less represented in official releases than others.
And then there are the permutations of splinter groups, solo albums and side projects. It could take a year to wade through them all, so if you only have time for one make it Squire's Fish Out of Water. Best album Yes never made.
Although I already answered I'll chime in again. If the op hasn't bought anything yet I suggest looking for yesyears(either the full version or more compact version)on amazon. Other than that there's classic yes. For a regular non compilation album close to the edge is the best place to start and one of the best progressive rock albums ever recorded(or even just in general). These days Yes are a bit underrated and underappreciated so it's good to see some folks still exploring them.
Great album.... Can't agree more!
The Yes Album (1971)
Close to the Edge
My favourite is Tales from Topographic Oceans, but it seems it's not for everybody (it doesn't rock much). Relayer is excellent and in places jazzier. The next three Going for the One, Tormato, and Drama all are worth hearing. Again there's a lot of differing views on these three.
If you want the FM rock friendly Yes, then hear 90125 and Big Generator. There is a 5 cd box set of later stuff worth getting as you can get it cheap, called Essentially Yes (has 4 studio albums plus live at Montreux 2003, the Ladder and Magnification are particularly good, Talk is back to the FM Rock thing) .
I like the first Yes (album) called Yes, and not so keen on their second Time and a word.
There's a lot of live Yes - Yessongs is a poor recording but has high energy. Keys of Ascension is a big collection and has some good studio tracks within. I like 2004 Songs from Tsongas aswell. Avoid Live at the House of Blues.
even though my favorite Yes album is "Going For The One".
except for the clunker track "Cans and Brahms". Ugh.
And "Five Per Cent For Nothing" could have been left off too.
I'm a hardcore 70s-era Yes fan, so I absolutely love "Topographic Oceans" and "Tormato"...but I would not recommend them to new listeners.
I'd start with "The Yes Album" and "Fragile".
Then "Close to the Edge".
Then "Going for the One" and "Relayer".
If you dig those, then "Topographic".
I also think Chris Squire's "Fish Out of Water" is a stone-cold classic and better than a LOT of Yes albums.
Tales isn't just long songs though. It is atonal (to me) long songs, indian melodies or something, that I really really hate. I love long songs in general but if someone steered me to Yes with a recommendation for Tales from Topographic Oceans I would never bother delving any further into their catalog. Nothing else in their catalog sounds like Tales to me at all melody wise.
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