Episode 184 – Fish Out Of Water

Fish
Fish Out Of Water, Chris Squire

I finally listen properly to Chris Squire’s first solo album, Fish Out Of Water from 1975.

  • Is this the lost Yes album?
  • Does it sound like Yes?
  • What do Patrick Moraz and Bill Bruford add?

Listen to the episode and then let me know what you think!

Show links and notes

Light a candle for Chris Squire

Miguel’s project video in support of Chris Squire #playforChris:

 

2015 Prog Awards

Preston’s mid-2015 review

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Theme music

The music I use is the last movement of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. This has been used as introduction music at many Yes concerts. My theme music is not take from a live concert – I put it together from the following two creative commons sources: thanvannispen and archive.org
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Kevin

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17 thoughts on “Episode 184 – Fish Out Of Water

  1. Just want to chime in on the 90125 keyboard playing. According to the credits on the 9012Live Video, Casey Young is credited for “programming and additional keyboards.” I’m not sure if he did the entire tour; there may have been other programmers during the long tour, which could account for the fact that some fans recall different names in that role. As to the additional keyboards, if you watch the video, there don’t seem to be a lot of keyboard sounds not made by Kaye (and occasionally Jon Anderson). I had assumed that the additional keyboards were added as texture–to accompany what Kaye was already playing. Certainly the great funky piano on “All Good People” and the splendid solo on “Starship Trooper” are totally Tony Kaye. Anything Young may have added seems pretty minor–perhaps along the lines of what Billy Sherwood described on the Talk tour.

    And welcome to the “Fish Out of Water” fan club! When you get a chance, read the section on the album in Bill Martin’s book. I think you’d appreciate it after your great review!

    1. Thanks Kevin. I will search out that bit in the book! I will always be a huge Tony Kaye supporter but it’s continually fascinating to find out exactly what was going on in those live situations. Thanks for your contributions to that!

  2. Glad to hear your appreciation for Fish Out of Water. I think it would be worthwhile to further explore other Yes solo albums.

    In 1975-1976, between Relayer and Going for the One, Anderson, Howe, Moraz, Squire and White each put out a solo album. It was seen as an opportunity for each to explore some musical ideas that maybe weren’t Yes-ish enough.

    Steve Howe- Beginnings: Unlike his subsequent solo albums that consist primarily of Steve doing guitar instrumentals, many of the tracks here would great songs with interesting lyrics. While it took some getting used to, I grew to appreciate Steve’s singing. It truly came from his heart. I suspect that after his singing was panned on this album, he decided to stick to instrumentals and backup vocals.

    Jon Anderson- Olias of Sunhillow- A brilliant concept album that told a story with aetherial lyrics and sounds. Possibly the most Yes-ish of the solo albums.

    Patrick Moraz- The Story of i — Another concept album, very prog with a latin rhythm. I loved Moraz’s contributions to Relayer (always my favorite album) and I wish he had been able to contribute on another yes album or two.

    Alan White – Ramshackled — Nothing prog about this, but Alan having fun with some of his musician friends.

    Chris Squire — Fish Out of Water — Just simply amazing. I love to sing along with Chris on this album, and the bass ranks among the best he’s ever done with Yes. I like it so much better than his second solo album, “Open Your Eyes” (oh, did I say that out loud?)

    As each of those albums came out, my Yes fan friend and I would endlessly debate which was the best. Eventually, we and most other fans concluded that Chris Squire’s entry was the best composed, produced and performed album of the five. It continues to stand the test of time.

    These four solo albums (skip Ramshackled, sorry Alan) would be a good place to start a series on the solo albums.

    After Olias, I think Jon’s second album was also amazing. After that, his solo albums became very hit or miss, so they stopped being “must buy” for me.

    After “i”, Moraz did Out in the Sun.. almost a continuation of the first entry.

    Steve Howe has many great albums of guitar instrumentals, if you enjoy such things.

    Patrick Moraz put out a few more solo albums, but they moved more towards jazz and new age improvisation.

    Rick Wakeman — Lots of great stuff and some failures. Of course enjoyed 6 Wives, Journey, King Arthur. Perhaps my favorite is the hard to find Rhapsodies.

    I’d love to hear your comments on some of these.

    1. My favorite Wakeman album is CRIMINAL RECORD. Recorded shortly after the GFTO sessions on-
      site while he was still in Montreux, Switzerland. Side One features essentially a power trio consisting of
      Wakeman, White, and Squire. If only he had done a full album with White and Squire, this could’ve been a
      complete masterpiece !

    2. Crikey, Jamie! I have my work cut out! Thanks so much for that detailed account. Great to see Chris’ album coming out so well – so much more poignant now.

  3. Thanks Kevin for an exceptionally good review of FOOW. As I listened to your commentary I was hearing the pieces in my head. Wonderful wonderful album. As I said in a previous comment, the best of all of their solo work.
    I was delayed in listening to the episode by about 25 minutes. Usually I listen to the podcast but when I got the email describing your latest offering I decided to listen directly. Then I saw the superb Youtube video of tributes and well wishing for Chris. What an amazing thing that is. Miguel is a great guy for putting that together. Seeing him playing at the end was great, then I noticed over his shoulder the poster which came with FOOW, the stained glass panel of fish. I had that on my wall from place to place for years until it disintegrated from being moved, along with the blue tac and sellotape damage. Memory lane big time.
    Reacting to Jamie’s post above, the solo albums were pretty diverse. Chris’s was the best as a stand alone record as you’ve just experienced.
    Olias is magical, very Yes like and some would put it ahead of Fish for that. Jon played all the music himself and its release was delayed several times as I remember. The excitement I had when I heard it was released; I kept phoning the record shop as that was all I could do in those days. I remember walking the couple of miles to the village where I caught the bus to Durham so I could buy the album then the same trip back and the frisson of discovery. I had a friend who worked at J.G Windows in Newcastle at the time so when they took down the promo material, she got for me the mobile (suspended artwork) and other materials which I had for years. Wonderful.
    Ramshackled is not worth digging out.
    “I” is latin drums and whistles with jazzy keys.
    Beginnings is dull, typical Steve, some pretty melodies.

    Rick’s offerings were varied ranging from ok to terrible. Never anything to write home about

    1. Very similar experience waiting for Olias.

      I also saw Yes live for the first time that year. At the beginning of the tour, each member performed a piece from their solo albums. Unfortunately, by the time they got to my city they had stopped doing it. Apparently they weren’t well received by the audience (Fools!). I would love to have seen Yes perform Hold Out Your Hand, and Flight of the Moorglade.

    2. Steve’s Howe’s BEGINNINGS is one of my favorites of the 75-76 solo albums. Produced by Eddie
      Offord, and the only one of the five to feature artwork by Roger Dean….
      an excellent record, with great songs and astonishing musicanship of all involved, but especially Howe himself. He may not be the best of singers, but I like his vocal very much anyway. He has an interesting voice and sings with passion and conviction. Highlights are Pleasure Stole the Night, Doors Of Sleep and the beautiful classical arranged Beginnings.

    3. Thanks for all that, Jeremy. Having been a very small part of that video has become somewhat important to me now, as you can imagine.

      I was wondering what that stained glass effect poster was so thanks for filling in that detail for me! Also thanks for the comments on the solo albums. I will be working through those in the next few months.

      I’m very glad you appreciated the review of Fish Out Of Water and I love your personal Yes story recollections!

      Thanks again.

    1. I wish I had, Ken but I was only 4 or 5 at the time. I was musically quite advanced but my parents weren’t sadly. They did let me watch Bohemian Rhapsody on Top of the Pops, however…

  4. Fantastic video. What great messages from true fans to help Chris on his way to the Heart of teh Sunrise.

    Kevin, you mention You By My Side reminds you of something from the period – could it be the Moody blues version of “Go Now” (although this was 1964/5)

  5. Kevin,

    I was delighted to hear your review of Fish Out Of Water – an all-time favourite of mine – given added poignancy with recent news, of course.

    I bought this one when it was first released, on vinyl, and at a time when my music collection was quite small. The only Yes album I owned at that time was Fragile. It was also (I think) the first album I bought after getting my first set of headphones – so it got a lot of plays in 1975 with close attention to detail, and it’s one of those albums I can replay in my head pretty much note-perfect, which of course I was doing when listening to your review.

    Much more recently when the CD/DVD was issued I bought that too, and was surprised and delighted to find that it was signed by Chris (I seem to remember the envelope was hand-addressed too, but in a different handwriting. Perhaps Scotty? It seems this reissue was done cottage-industry style!). [I would upload a photo, but can’t see a way to do that here.]

    On to the music, and some of my views to supplement yours, Kevin.

    One thing that is I’ve noticed in the production is that the orchestra seems to have a phasing effect applied in places. Quite subtle, and very effective – I think it helps in blending the orchestra with the band.

    I was really interested in your explanation of what constitutes a canon, and certainly what I now understand as the “canon” section of Safe has always been my favourite part of the album. One thing you didn’t comment on is the shifting time signature. Parts of this are in 12/8 and parts in 11/8 (by my counting, at least!). The shifting between the two gives a wonderful unsettling effect. I think this track in particular gave me a life-long obsession with counting out unusual time signatures!

    Finally, I must admit that the ending really irritated me for many years! The closing quiet bass solo seems to resolve really nicely to the root note (I think I’m right here) about 30 seconds before the end of the track. But then there are three more notes tacked onto the end, leaving a curious unresolved feel. I used to hate that! But now it no longer bothers me; indeed I adore the ending. I wonder what has changed in my head in the intervening years?

    – Russell.

  6. If am reading this right, you did this podcast the day before Chris died? I am glad you got to listen to FOOW for the podcast before that as it might have been difficult to listen closely otherwise. Great review. I,too, wish we had heard more of Chris’ singing lead before Does It Really Happen on Drama, but then he was such a brilliant harmonist for the Yes choir…

    I have always thought that FOOW and Olias were like the 2 halves of the Yes sound. These 2 solos let us listen to the parts that made up the whole (I guess I don’t include Howe’s Beginnings because we had already heard Steve solo on TYA, Fragile, and Yessongs). Then when GFTO came out we got the whole back.

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