56 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2003
During 1975 and 76, the members of Yes each recorded their own solo projects. Chris Squire (the much admired bassist for Yes) gave us one very convincing album of five solid, interesting and alluring compositions. The music is muscular, with the deliberate and pointed accents so typical of 70s progressive fare. There is plenty of tasteful time signature trickery (sevens, elevens, etc.) and the basic rhythm section of Squire, Bill Bruford (drums) and Patrick Moraz (keys), lacks for nothing. The vocals are by Chris--his lead vocals have character (although he sang backup in Yes, he surely doesn't sound like a novice in the lead role; quite the contrary, he sounds great!) and the harmony vocals are strong, and simply beautiful. An orchestra is used in certain sections. The orchestral parts are unobtrusive and work, much like a keyboardist would, to color passages and bring added emotion where appropriate. Nothing here is sappy or commercial; this album is in very good taste throughout.
The bass takes a lead role in "Hold Out Your Hand," which opens the album. "You By My Side" sports tasteful utilization of the orchestra, and then segues beautifully into "Silently Falling," which begins with the fantastic flute of Jimmy Hastings. The vocals toward the end ("si-LENT-ly fall-ing") will remind you of Yes. In "Lucky Seven" we get the great sax playing of Mel Collins (of King Crimson fame), and the effective use of the string section. Here, we are also treated to a short section of enjoyable interplay between Squire's bass and Bruford's atypical accents--a bit reminiscent of their work on the enthralling "Heart Of The Sunrise" (from FRAGILE). We then get another beautiful segue into "Safe (Canon Song)," which, after the lovely vocal section, builds throughout the extended coda, giving us some great orchestral textures. The very end will surprise and delight you.
This is probably the best solo effort by a member of Yes (I say "probably" because Jon Anderson's OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW, from 1976, is also quite excellent). I highly recommend this thoroughly enjoyable album. Any fan of Yes, or progressive rock from the 70s, should grab this before it disappears. You will need a magnifying glass to read the notes and lyrics--well, at least I needed one.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2007
It's been a long time since I've heard "Fish Out Of Water" and it sounds just as amazing as it did thirty years ago. The music (a blend of rock, prog, and jazz) is intense and extremely creative. There is limited guitar on this disc, but the keyboard and drum work, stellar bass playing complete with solos, and interesting orchestral arrangements make it an exciting listen.
This "Deluxe Expanded Edition" includes the original album remastered with an edited version of "Lucky Seven" as a bonus track. I can't compare the new mix to a previous version but it sounds good to me. The bass is fuzzy fat, the other instruments can be heard clearly, and everything blends well. Unfortunately, there is no surround mix. Maybe on the super deluxe edition? The second disc includes videos to "Hold Out Your Hand" and "You By My Side" (check out Chris's clothes!), a 41-minute 2006 interview with Chris on his thoughts on the album, and an audio commentary provided by Chris throughout the entire album while it plays in the background.
In my opinion, this disc is as good as anything Yes was doing at the time, so if you've never heard this do yourself a favor and check it out. If you already own this, the extras presented make this hard to pass up and may be worthy of purchase again.
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2007
Hats off to Chris Squire for an excellent job on the reissue of his 1975 solo album "Fish Out Of Water". It seems Chris put alot of effort into the overall package, which is made up of two disc's. The first is the album itself. The music, thanks to today's technology , sounds great. The instrumentation sounds very well balanced. Chris is backed up by former YES men Bill Bruford[drums], Patrick Moraz[keyboards] and life long friend Andrew Pryce Jackman[keyboards and conducting the orchestra]. You get all 5 original tracks plus a bonus track of "Lucky Seven" in it's US single edit.
The second disc - a DVD - is the real highlight of the package. There are three parts to the disc. First, there are the promo video's that Chris made for the songs "Hold Out Your Hand" and "You By My Side". I think the last time I ever saw these was back in the late 70's on Don Kershner's Rock Concert. The overall image and sound on these promo's is great, considering that they are 30years old.
The second part is an interview with Chris that is conducted by Jon Kirkman. What I find nice about this is that Jon's questions stick to the "Fish Out Of Water" album, with little emphasis on YES. Jon seems to ask the right questions. Chris also gives a little info about his up coming solo album, something I am really looking foward to.
The third part of the DVD is my favorite. It is Chris giving an audio comentary of the album. It shows Chris sitting at a microphone, and, as the album plays, Chris cuts in and tell stories about the songs, the musicians , he gives a nice overall history of the making of the album. He gives info that I never knew and I would bet most diehard YES fans would never have known.
If your a YES fan, a Chris Squire fan or a big fan of 70's progressive rock, I highly reccomend you purchase this album. I think Chris really put alot of effort into this project. It is, in my opinion, one of the better album reissue's I have heard in the last few years.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2001
Fans of Yes or golden-age Prog should not miss this 1975 solo outing by Chris Squire, the outstanding bass player of the Progressive Rock movment. Not an overly twee or complex suite of songs, Fish Out of Water offers listeners extended music that is directed, well-orchestrated, and uniformly good.
In the CD format the Album holds together a little better than on the orginal vinyl. The music is continuous, contiguous, and becomes a real symphony unlike the fake symphonic output of lesser 70's rockers. Squire understands how to handle thematic material across a broad spectrum of texutres. Spare instrumentation lends additionatal unity to this music. For once, a Prog leader shows that the music is more important that the chops it takes to play it, which was the ultimate undoing of the form.
Squire never made another solo album, which is a shame. Eclisped in Yes first by Anderson & Howe, and then by Rabin, Squire surely must have a catalogue of unheard work. But then, maybe it is better to leave behind a single perfect work than a hundred flawed ones.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2003
An amazing album from Chris Squire, Yes's co-founder and one-of-a-kind bass player. He proves himself to be a great songwriter, musician, vocalist, arranger, and lyricist. You can not get music this good on another album, and the way the songs are played with excellent precision and crazy time signatures, is something that Emerson Lake and Palmer wish they could have perfected.
First the album starts out with, "Hold Out Your Hand", a song that contains lyrics that aren't that shy off of Yes' lead singer John Anderson's sci-fi style. On this tune we feature probably one of the best uses of Church Organ in Prog-Rock from Barry Rose, the sub-organist from St. Peter's Cathedral, also we have Andrew Pryce Jackman giving us nice ascending electric piano riffs, some under-the-mix 12-string rhythm guitar from Chris, along with some nice distorted bass work. Chris' vocals are sterling with some backup harmony provided by his wife Nikki.
Next we have "You By My Side", starting right out of the breakdown of "Hold Out Your Hand", we are reminded of one of Chris' and Yes' biggest influnces, The Beatles. We get a nice waltz-tempo piano from Andrew Pryce Jackman, with some 3/4 time drumming from Bill Bruford. After the first verse, we get a nice flute solo from Jimmy Hastings, with a little ascending backup harmony from many different overbuds of Chris' voice, backed with some nice Hammond Organ from Patrick Moraz. Then with the second verse, we have a more exciting and elaborate declaration of love by changing all of the "I's" of the first verse into "we's". As the song ends we get a major crescendo forte of orchestration and more church organ from Barry Rose.
The song ends with a tap on a cymbal, and we go right into a Tchaikovski-esque intro of the next tune, "Silently Falling". As the flute of Jimmy Hastings falls we find ourselves in a jazz feel with some nice bass and piano work. The next verse, we have some distorted bass work with strange tempo changes, and as the verse winds down, we get a nice ostinato of 12-string guitar, and rolls of organ. As we go into a more excited version of the jazz-like introduction, the tempo gets faster and faster until we have Patrick Moraz literally setting his Hammond on fire, until afterwards we have a stop dead in the tracks, and we head back into a more classical-esque re-intro. Then we get a little more excited until, Until, UNtil, UNTIL!!!!!, stop. We go into a section where the narrator proclaims that he is silently falling down, in a sad ending in E minor.
On Side 2, we have "Lucky Seven", a nice jazz piece, with some electric piano riffing from Andrew Pryce Jackman, some Saxing from Mel Collings, strange tempo changes from Bill Brufords pounding drums, and some bass soloing from Chris Squire. All this with some nice orchestral ostinatos, and some very spacy lyrics, we get a nice package, probably the most popular tune from this album.
Now we end this record with the longest and most classically-influenced piece of rock and roll ever made, "Safe (Canon Song)". This tune basically picks up where "Silently Falling" left off, continuing the story of someone giving life to imagination, proclaiming that whoever does right in their lives will be "Safe with me" as Chris proclaims. Then we are treated with a nice repetition of the same C-B-A-B-A-G-A-B-E line first on bass, then trumpet, french horn, dueling flutes, piccolos, violins, clarinets, etc. The song just builds and builds and builds until we end on a very large C major, but Chris drags his bass line on for another minute and a half with the C-B-A-B-A-G-A-B-E with an ascending C chord from an overdubbed 12-string guitar. Then at 15:00 precisely the song and album are over.
This album is a treat for anybody who wants to hear something extraordinary from a rock musician. If you do listen to it, and your extraordinary tastes are not satisfied, seek mental help.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 1998
If you really like Chris Squire of Yes fame, then you probably already have this album, which is the only solo album he's ever done. I don't consider it his best work, but as always, the quality of the music is excellent, and offers insights into the inner workings of this genius of the bass guitar.
The album opens with the strong (but short) song "Hold Out Your Hand", which showcases Squire's masterful use of the Rickenbacher bass as a foreground melodic instrument. Also prevalent throughout the album are the whirlwind time signature changes that are a trademark of classic Yes music.
The remaining songs have a somewhat brooding tone and can seem a bit repetitious at first blush, but after repeated listenings reveal surprising subtleties and sensitivity.
As with all music of the Yes pantheon, I find myself coming back to listen to this album again and again, and I always discover something new each time. I'm glad I own this album.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2003
When I first bought this album 25-odd years ago, I did so simply because I was a huge Yes fan and figured it would be the next best thing. That this naive transference led me to such a stunningly piece of work amazes me to this day.
While Squire's signature contributions to Yes are immediately evident in the bass lines and harmonies, most of "Fish Out of Water" sounds very little like Yes' 70s output. Stylistically, the record is an sublime mesh of tight jazz rhythms with somber yet soaring melodies that seem inspired by Anglican church hymns. That the combination sounds so effortless and natural is a wonder in itself, but the underlying songs also amaze in their beauty and grace. This is a record which pleases on first listen, but over time reveals itself as a multilayered masterpiece of writing, performance, and production.
I've never heard anything quite like this album. An absolute treasure that defies categorization.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
When I first purchased this 1975 album (on vinyl no less), my first impression of the record without even listening to it was that this was high quality stuff. From the outside artwork to the inner gatefold photo of Chris reflected in a car bumper, this was an impressive package (the CD is not disappointing in this respect). Of course, when I finally got to the incredible music, everything was made that much more "complete" and made me more fully aware of the significant contribution that Chris made to the overall Yes sound. Clearly, this guy was not only a phenomenal and groundbreaking bassist, but he was a top notch composer too. Of course as a huge Yes fan, I am hopelessly biased towards the "Squire can do no wrong" end of the spectrum. Undeniably though, this is a remarkable album by an equally remarkable musician and has brought me many years of enjoyment. Musically, this album is one of the strongest of the Yes solo works, although I feel that The Six Wives of King Henry VIII (Rick Wakeman, 1973); The Story of I (Patrick Moraz, 1976); and Olias of Sunhillow (Jon Anderson, 1976) are on equal footing.
On this, his debut solo album, Chris sings and plays a Rickenbacker bass and 12-string guitar. Joining Chris are former Yes keyboardist Patrick Moraz (organ and bass synthesizer); former Yes and King Crimson drummer extraordinaire Bill Bruford (drum kit and percussion); ex King Crimson member Mel Collins (saxophones); Caravan alumnus Jimmy Hastings (flute); and Barry Rose (pipe organ). This last fellow is very interesting: according to the liner notes, he was the sub-organist of St. Pauls Cathedral in London and based upon what I have read, also instructed a very young Chris Squire while a member of the church choir (see Bill Martin, Music of Yes: Structure and Vision in Progressive Rock, 1996). Andrew Pryce Jackman played acoustic and electric pianos and conducted the orchestra (the orchestral parts are excellent and add a lot to the pieces).
I have to confess that as a huge Yes fan and a bassist, this album is a dream come true. Chris' trademark trebly Rickenbacker sound is all over the place and his playing is simply jaw dropping - he really pulls out all of the stops and demonstrates throughout why he is considered one of the finest bass players of his generation. But there is much, much more - he can compose lengthy, sophisticated, and proggy compositions with the best of them. It is important to note that this album is not simply Squire jamming over a drum part - the pieces are all well thought out, feature excellent melodies, harmonies, intricate ensemble work, and are well arranged. To make it all better, Squire writes great lyrics and can sing very well too. After listening to a piece like Lucky Seven, it becomes clear what he brought to Yes - a full, "big" sound that conjures up huge, Roger Dean-esque landscapes. The other players are excellent as well. Bill Bruford and Squire re-unite and the chemistry between them and the energy levels of their performances are reminiscent of definitive Yes albums like Fragile (1972) and Close to the Edge (1972). Although I love this album to death, I have to admit that the last piece just drags on for a tiny bit too long - this really is an inconsequential point though, given the general excellence of the album.
Well I have rambled on for long enough. This is an exceptional album by a musician of stunning technical ability who is capable of composing intricate and complex musical pieces. Very highly recommended to Yes fans and anybody interested in English progressive rock along with The Six Wives of King Henry VIII.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2002
Out of the solo albums that were released by the members of the 1975 incarnation of Yes (Anderson, Squire, White, Howe, & Moraz), _Fish Out of Water_ is usually rated by fans and critics alike as the best. One listen to the album, and you'll realize why.
This is definitely Chris Squire at his compositional and performance peak. Whereas many of Yes' most popular tracks were written primarily by the Anderson/Howe writing team, Squire proves his compositional strength by delivering five gems of his own. Whether they are the "shorter" pieces such as the infectious "Hold Out Your Hand" and "You By My Side", or the longer tracks, "Safe" and "Silently Falling", Squire delivers material that could've easily fit on Yes' early 70s albums. With very little electric guitar on the album, this is quite a unique album fueled by bass and orchestra arrangements. Yes fans may also be interested in the excellent interaction between Squire and Bruford - especially on the jazzy, King Crimson-ish "Lucky Seven." Moreover, Squire delivers some very good lyrics that are in the vein of the positivity of much of Yes' output ("Don't believe in miracles/I do believe in love/Don't advise you to stick to rules/There ain't no need to push and shove,")
Squire has often taken heat from Yes fans over the last two decades for his desire to take Yes into an AOR and Top 40 arena, but realistically, he is not the only person to blame when Yes releases an album like _Open Your Eyes_. _Fish Out of Water_ reiterates the fact that during the 70s, few rock bassists were doing more with the instrument than Chris Squire.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2000
Particularly considering the revitalization of Yes with the addition of Sherwood & Khoroshev. Not to mention the resurgence of prog rock with a new, younger generation. This album reveals the extent to which Squire has always influenced Yes' sound--they never were really the "Jon Anderson Quintet". Here Squire shows an awareness of how he wants parts for instruments he doesn't play himself to sound. A jazz fan would say "well, duh"--it's anything but unusual for rhythm section members to have a gift for arrangement over there. He's also a damn good songwriter--as the medley "Hold Out Your Hand/ With You By My Side" proves. Less strong is the 15-minute "Canon Song"--you've got to dig long numbers the way I do to get off on its repetetive nature. Another thing you get here is the voice who gives you the third-interval-down harmonies of Yes, but he proves he can handle lead quite well. In fact, the original recording of "It Can Happen" from Yes' "91025" album was done by Squire before Anderson rejoined the band and they redid it for that album. If Jon Anderson is the captain of Yes, this album proves who's first officer. And no skipper can get along withot a good exec.