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Ultimate Yes: 35th Anniversary Collection
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Let's look at the facts. Since 1991, Yes has released 4 complete albums of new material (5 if you count Keystudio). In that same time, they have released 6 box sets or compilations which re-hash already released material. And with each new compilation comes a little sampling of new material that forces us to buy the entire catalog of songs that we have already purchased. To make matters worse, Rhino has, over the last year, re-released 11 Yes albums, each with another sampling of new material. So we are forced, yet again, to re-buy all of the same albums we already own. And then, just when we thought we had enough, they give us 2 box sets in as many years and include, once again, samplings of new material. Now, they could have just as easily taken ALL of the new material and put out a disc of completely unreleased material. But then they wouldn't get as much of our money that way, now would they? Of course, it's not all Rhino's fault because this seems to be an old Yes trick (see the 2 live Keys To Ascension albums that had new bonus material thrown on the end or the 3 Magnification releases that each had a different bonus disc of previously unreleased live material).
So, aside from feeling completely cheated and ripped off, what is this latest 3-disc compilation really like?Read more ›
Other than the third disc of previously unreleased versions--mostly acoustic, there are only four tracks from the first two discs not found on IN A WORD. Obviously the third disc was meant to entice the die-hard fan, but it strikes me as nothing short of extortion by the record company and I'm not buying. If you're a casual fan and don't own either of their previous box sets, I'd say go for it. ULTIMATE YES probably includes everything you really need. For the serious fan, it depends on how deep your pockets are.
I applaud Yes for putting some lesser-known material on here. Their 2001 Magnification album, which sold like a lead balloon, was still hailed as wonderful by those who did buy it (including myself), and putting the title track on here might help to boost its profile. And just when I'm beginning to wonder if Yes will ever acknowledge the existence of their 1980 masterpiece Drama- which singer Jon Anderson did not perform on- they put "Tempus Fugit" on this collection. Great move. That song had the potential to be *huge* when it came out, and it is a real gem in the Yes catalogue.
And I must add, the sound quality on all of these songs is amazing.
There are a few edited tracks on the album. "Soon," the finale of "The Gates Of Delirium," is edited to include a minute and a half more of the song that the previous single edit version. It's an improvement, but "Soon" doesn't really work out of the context of the song from which it comes. I think Yes would've done better to include something else from Relayer, like an unedited "Sound Chaser." Oh well. The single edit of "The Calling-" which I've never heard before- doesn't sound right with its reworked intro. I loved the vocal harmonies in the beginning of the song, and this version does away with them. The radio edit of "Homeworld (The Ladder)," I have to admit, is sloppy.Read more ›
For the uninitiated, this is an overall decent representation of Yes' music from the 70's to now, with at least one track representing every album except a few(the debut, Tales and Keys). As you can hear, the band has gone through many member changes and many styles and phases yet retaining a distictive sound of their own. For those not familiar with Yes, they pretty much have the following aspects: a couple high-voiced vocalists, clean cutting bass guitar loud in the mix, classical-tinged piano and synthesizer licks, somewhat country-ish guitar playing, long epic tracks done in sections often stretching up to 20+ minutes, positive yet undecipherable lyrics that deal with the spiritual/metaphysical etc, spacey album covers, revolving door of coming and going band members, all of which leaving lasting marks. That's pretty much Yes in a nutshell, and here are some fine songs to boot. A decent set to start off with, and good for those not willing to shell out for the 5 disc box set. Consider this the 2 disc version.
As for the third disc, there are 5 new tracks here, the first with Rick Wakeman since 'Keys to Ascension' from 1996, which give this set a strange sense of almost being a Fragile part 2 or a 'mini-Fragile'. Indeed, the content is very much like that classic 1971 Yes album in that it is comprised of solo pieces and band compositions. There is an solos for Anderson(Show Me), Squire(New World Symphony), Howe(Australia) and Wakeman(South Side Variations), plus acoustic versions of two tracks from the original Fragile(Roundabout & South Side Of The Sky). All that's missing is a new epic track(Heart Of The Sunrise-ish) and an Alan White solo.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While I agree with many of the other posters that there are way too many Yes compilations out there, if you only want one, get this one. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Bill Rehaume
Most my favorites and the acoustic performance bonus cd is fantastic! Wish they made that 2 CDs.Published 6 months ago by Pink Floyd in Space
Only missing one great song - Close To The Edge - other than that it's a great CD.Published 6 months ago by david hall