Yes ephemera – print and digital – 615

Produced by Joseph Cottrell, Jeffrey Crecelius and Ken Fuller

This week, Mark and I had a great conversation about Yes ephemera – what do I mean by that? Well it’s stuff that would certainly have disappeared if it wasn’t for people like Steve Sullivan, Pete Whipple and Geoffrey Mason over at who collect and share all sorts of items on that amazing site. As on other occasions, it’s best if you take a look at the images below either as you listen or afterwards because everything will make a lot more sense – assuming Mark and I actually do make sense, of course.

We chose three concert or related items to talk about each and then I threw in a somewhat unusual item I have just received which is certainly ephemeral. I don’t know how many of them still exist. As always, Mark and I would be fascinated to hear your views on this week’s items via comments.

  • What items did we choose?
  • What items would you choose?
  • What is that disk thing?

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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:

8 replies on “Yes ephemera – print and digital – 615”

A good chat as usual chaps. The indoor festival was packed out and along with he support acts, who managed to get a positive response from the audience a record fair kept people busy too.

The stones and staging I never saw it, if indeed it was made. I think being indoors then Stone Free is that its definitely not a Stonehenge type venue in a windy wet field, or maybe there are strict rules and people just don’t get stoned, not sure!

As for Roger Hodgson, well he was great and I could have listened to a whole show of his hits, a must see artist I believe.

ARW/YES I loved of course, plus I did manage to meet the band afterwards and Chris Welch.

I never did see the fake rocks, if there ever was any. HaHa.

Great ep as always, what an interesting and unexpected topic. I looked it up and the car stereo shop Sound Pro is still operating in Rapid City, SD. (Confirmed via Forgotten Yesterdays that the 90125 tour stop in Rapid City was the only time Yes have played in the state of South Dakota…so far!)

My eyes immediately went to the very same ad that Mark mentioned, and for the same reason. I love Gentle Giant. Interestingly, despite being one of the most technical prog bands, they never had a studio track reaching 10 minutes.

As for their popularity, Mark is definitely right. When they weren’t opening — famously, for Black Sabbath when they got booed off the stage — they were playing about 2,000 seaters or less in the U.S.

Regarding Gentle Giant, I saw them open for Rick Wakeman in Oct. ’75 at an 18,000 seat coliseum, in a theatre that held 1500 in July ’76, and in a ballroom that held 2000 on their last tour in ’80. None of the shows were sold out. All excellent shows by Giant, one of my top favorite bands. I saw offshoot band Three Friends 4 times from ’10-’15.

Wow – I loved the focus on the posters and those events (I had to go listen to It’s Love again).

But once again it was the “secondary” conversation that really grabbed me. I hope Kevin and Mark can find access to a Roland Sound Canvas-equipped device of some kind with which to play these standard MIDI files faithfully. While the sounds of the Sound Canvas definitely had their limitations, they were remarkably good for their time, and there were Yes MIDI files floating around the Internet in the late 90s that were admirably faithful to the originals. The biggest difference in these renditions, of course, was that they were all-instrumental – various instrumental sounds are playing the vocal lines. Sometimes these were flute-like tones.

A lot of devotion and respect for the original Yes music, as well as creative workarounds with the sounds and MID sequencing, went into these SMFs. (And I didn’t know about the “Yes MIDI home page” site – so now I’ll be refreshing my memory there.)

An SMF I found of Long Distance Runaround was so good that I was able to edit out the vocal lines, record it to digital audio, and use it as a backing track for my own solo instrumental performances on guitar. The sounds are still acceptable for this purpose (at least for my regular audiences), though not nearly as good as more recent backing tracks. It’s a thrill to play Steve’s opening lines of that tune in particular. (This is one of my ways of “sneaking in” a little Yes music.)

Note, by the way, that the Roland floppy disk in the image is an earlier-generation disk known as Double Density. I still have my Roland JV-1000 from about the same year (1994), which is a synth workstation equipped with a disk drive that only reads Double Density disks, not the later High Density format that became so ubiquitous until CD-ROMs took over. Things have certainly come a long way.

Thanks for the great podcast!

All the best,

Mark was correct about Spark-o-matic car stereos being cheap. I had a Spark-o-matic equalizer in my car during the 90125 years. Even in 1984 I knew I they were cheap.

I agree with everyone regarding the Spark-O-Matic “lack of quality”. As an audiophile, I thought it strange that a company that was not known for its quality sound sponsored a band that WAS known for its quality sound.

As for yes ephemera, I have something that I’m a little surprised you didn’t bring up. An interactive CD-ROM from the “Talk” era. It was neat for its time, but didn’t really offer a whole lot.

Another great episode, which triggered all sorts of memories. Having seen the Drama tour, with its Roger Dean stage sculptures, and Benjamin Britten walk on music, the 90125 tour felt radically different to me. The warm up music was the techno Hello/Goodbye remix of Leave It, the stage set was sparse and angular, and our concert tickets for the Birmingham NEC mentioned “Sponsored by Sparkomatic Car Sounds” as did the pre-show announcements, such as the one introducing the Bugs Bunny cartoon shown before the show. This big American-sounding corporate sponsor was very new and strange for some of we parochial Brits, who chuckled a bit when we heard it, and hearing it mentioned on the podcast was very evocative.
Also, I have friends and family very near to Crystal Palace park, and have been known to go for a run round there with a Yes playlist from time to time. Next time I do so, I’ll put the live tracks from “The Word Is Live” that were recorded there on to accompany me. I adore the band’s reworking of “It’s Love”. I was pleased to hear you extol the virtues of the Squire and Bruford live team this week. They really shine on the incendiary version of “The Fish” on “Yessongs”, for example.

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