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Produced by Jeffrey Crecelius, Wayne Hall, Preston Frazier and Bill Govier
In a week when I was very pressed for time, I did manage to listen to Yes and Time And A Word and also speak to Mark about them.
- Which is the better album?
- Who stars in these shows?
- Is the orchestra a good idea?
Listen to the episode and let us know what you think!
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Show notes and links:
- Jeffrey Crecelius
- Preston Frazier
- Bill Govier and
- Wayne Hall
|Mark James Lang|
|Mark ‘Zarkol’ Baggs|
|Guy R DeRome|
|Hogne Bø Pettersen|
Robert and David
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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
3 replies on “Yes vs. Time And A Word – 449”
Very interesting episode, especially as these records are so sorely overlooked by many Yes fans and experts. Apologies in advance for rambling a bit on this subject.
Listening to your discussion I immediately think back to that Bruford quote where he says that he thought he was joining a vocal harmony group (like the Beach Boys) but with jazz drums. Add to that the classical. film and tv music thing that they all confess to, the clear influence (musically more than lyrically thank goodness) coming from the Laurel Canyon scene and also from hybrid artists like Laura Nyro, Blood Sweat and Tears, Vanilla Fudge, early Tim Buckley and Fifth Dimension – who made a virtue of taking heterogeneous musical elements and making them into a distinctive sound of their own. I can hear all that going on in these two albums.
Mostly American influences too. Though that is in itself also interesting because Jon is one of the few prominent lead English singers of that late 60s early 70s era whose singing voice / accent didn’t become to some degree become Americanised. That probably speaks to the lack of a Blues influence in early Yes music. We’re maybe also hearing Graham Nash’s vocal stylings being exported back to us from the West Coast.
In that context these records make perfect sense in terms of what they were writing at the time as does that lack of prominent electric guitar. Though there are places where Banks tears it up. If subtly as far as the mix goes.
They certainly weren’t the only band of that era to be more sonically aggressive on stage (and significantly louder!) than on record. The Who themselves being a case in point. Play the rather sedate sounding “Tommy” next to the Tommy section of the barn-burner that is “Live At Leeds” for proof of that.
Not sure I hear any real connection musically between The Ox and Chris Squire myself though other than their choice of basses. Squire is much more classical (even baroque) in his note selections and use of counterpoint. Entwistle seemed to me to play his instrument like McCoy Tyner or Cecil Taylor approached the piano – an absolute barrage of notes with powerful rhythmic figures that drove the whole Who ship forward and filled both the lower and mid range (especially necessary with Moon being anything but a disciplined Ringo type player). There is harmonically interesting stuff in there too but he is almost like an entire rhythm section and horn section wrapped up in one guy. Violent, visceral music. A one man big band.
Squire meanwhile had a lot more going on around him allowing his instrument to be more of a subtle voice in the music and less specifically rhythmic. I also suspect that he had been listening to Scott LaFaro’s playing with Bill Evans and that Modern Jazz Quartet record with the Swingle Singers and such like and was trying to bring some of that classical / jazz hybrid thing into his playing. He still rocks hard at times (Astral Traveller for example) but it is still with distinct single note melodic lines rather than a Lemmy-esque blur of trebly bass notes. Very different roles at any rate.
Anyway, I love both albums but would have to plump for the debut if pushed because I am not a fan of the orchestral arrangements on TAAW. though I think the material is equally strong on both.
The only other thing I would like to mention is that I dearly wish that the current line up would fully revisit this music (still holding out hope for a Relayer / Yesterdays set list next year!) and also use it as the compositional template for some new music. They are never going to write another Close to the Edge but I think they could definitely come up with something as strong as Time & A Word, Survival or Sweet Dreams.
I heard the 1st album in ’70, followed by the 2nd later in ’70 on US radio stations that played new albums in full. Love them both. Wish more fans would check them out. I’ll always be partial to the 1st. I wish they had not added the orchestra to the 2nd album, so the guitar & keys were more strongly mixed or featured. My favorites on YES are “Beyond and Before” and “Survival.” My favorites on TAAW are “Astral Traveller” & “The Prophet.” I agree with Mark that the title track seems out of place. I believe it’s the influence of David Foster there. The production is definitely a step up on TAAW.
I’ve talked to all of the guys who played on them. They had some interesting stories & opinions about the songs, recording & production, as you’d imagine. None of them were happy with Paul Clay’s work.
I do hope Yes continues to perform “Astral Traveller” in concert. It’s a wonderful song & is Peter’s best work, in my opinion. And he said he should have been credited along with Jon. I agree.
Attached is my US signed album.
Another great “battle of the albums” episode – thanks for making it. Loved your comments about Tony Kaye’s work on “The Prophet”. Mark’s insights about the role of Eddie Offord on the second album were also quite welcome (have you two ever done an episode about Offord?). As to the title track on the second album, I’ve always heard “Time and a Word” as a folksong of the kind that Jon does on his solo albums, so I’d agree it doesn’t really fit in here. There are other instances of such songs on later albums – I think especially of “Your Move” and “Wonderous Stories”, although you could even imagine a stripped-down, folkie version of a song like “And You And I” (I know Mark will take issue with this comment, since he lauded this song on your Fragile vs. CTTE episode!). I’m already looking forward to more head-to-head episodes…