Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

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Fretless
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Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Fretless » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:58 am

My ever-shifting musical focus has now come to rest on an individual I previously regarded as an over-productive irritation. Stand up Mr. Billy Sherwood.

In the late 80's/early 90's there were very few acts making what one could describe as complex, melodic rock. One of the new lights on the horizon was the band World Trade who's debut album had a pleasant Yes/Rush-like sound with good songs and commercial hooks. It sounded like singer/guitarist Billy Sherwood was announcing his arrival on the musical stage and immediately stating that he had been born to be in that legendary rock dinosaur -Yes.

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World Trade -World Trade- 1989 Full Album

As it happened - Yes were looking for a singer to replace Jon Anderson, who had left the group (again) and Sherwood was invited to join. He didn't feel that he was the right choice but did strike up a close friendship with Chris Squire and work was begun on new tracks which ended up on the 'Union' album. So Billy does appear in the credits and from then on in various supportive roles.

Squire and Sherwood began to write songs for a duo project which Jon Anderson heard (he was back, again) and this turned into 'Open Your Eyes' (1997) where Billy plays guitar and keys.

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YES - OPEN YOUR EYES
Yes - New State Of Mind (Open Your Eyes - 1997)

To be quite honest, I hated this album when it came out - but, like many others, I was waiting for the next 'Close To The Edge' which this wasn't. Coming back to this album after 20-odd years with Open Ears reveals it to be an excellent and powerful rock album with strong songwriting, the usual impeccable musicianship (and vocals) and an intriguing, detailed production/recording. Sorry that this has been so ignored all the years - blame my own prejudices.
Billy recorded this album and had a major say in the production - it shows! In comparison, the next album 'The Ladder'- with the same lineup - is less interesting as producer Roy Thomas Baker treated Yes as yet another corporate rock band and the sparkle that 'Open Your Eyes' has just isn't maintained.

But, there is hope, a fantastic live album from the 'Ladder' tour was recorded: 'Live from House of Blues' with both Sherwood and Howe on guitar and trading licks and solos through a mixture of old and new material. A great recording and lots of fun.

House Of Yes (2000) Part 1- Intro & Yours Is No Disgrace

Chris Squire and Billy did produce their duo albums under the name 'Conspiracy' with a high-tech power-rock sound and Sherwood has his own Yes-spin-off group 'Circa' with Yes founder member Tony Kaye on keys (especially Hammond organ), this group plays powerful, energetic and complex neo-prog.

Sadly Chris Squire died in 2015 leaving a very large hole which he himself nominated to be filled by Billy Sherwood, who is now Yes's permanent bassist.
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Mississippi Blind Child Assburn
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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Mississippi Blind Child Assburn » Sat Nov 10, 2018 11:44 pm

Sherwood is on that.


.....

Must say I did not think much of the Circa. Even though I LURVS the Hammond.

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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Mississippi Blind Child Assburn » Mon Nov 12, 2018 4:31 pm

V.A. "A Life in YES: Chris Squire tribute"

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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Fretless » Mon Nov 12, 2018 7:10 pm

Yes mania here - trying to get a bunch of later live albums and some related stuff.
Just in is the recent-ish 'Topographic Drama' live double set. Haven't listened to it yet.

Apparently, Chris Squire's last recorded work was on 'Citizen'; a Billy Sherwood solo concept album with a whole list of guests from Yes, Steve Hackett and (faints) Alan Parsons !!! (amongst others).
It's on order.
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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Fretless » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:50 am

It's true, I confess, once I was a fully-paid-up member of the PSB (Prog-Snobs Brigade). I firmly believed that The Day The Music Died was when Steve Hackett quit Genesis, that Pink Floyd were crap after Waters left, all YES albums without Wakeman were rubbish (except The Yes Album and Relayer) and that any band that dared to have a HIT SINGLE was simply not worth listening to any more.

Now older and somewhat milder in my preconceptions I am widening my vision to include discs that I would have cursed, mocked and burnt on a raging pyre while (preferably) naked virgins danced around it. Under this category falls the oft-maligned band known as ASIA.

Lurking on my shelves are discs from AOR monsters like Journey and Foreigner - and The Buggles, who included keyboard maestro Geoff Downes. He started out together with Trevor Horn as a pair of studio boffins who, by accident, had a massive hit and got pulled unexpectedly into YES to replace Anderson and Wakeman.

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Yes - Drama (Full Album - 1980)

After the album 'Drama', Downes jumped ship along with Steve Howe and joined Carl Palmer (ELP) and John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, Family, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, etc.) to create an AOR supergroup which they christened ASIA. Things went swimmingly - massive worldwide hit with 'Heat of the Moment', huge-selling debut album ('Asia') full of singalong pomp-rock anthems. But was it Art?

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Asia full album 1982

The second album 'Alpha' saw the departure of Steve Howe. After album no. 3 'Astra' Wetton left to be replaced (briefly) by Greg Lake, he went, Palmer left and Downes recruited young rocker John Payne as new singer/bassist. With a shifting cast of supporting players these two went on to create a series of finely-crafted mainstream rock albums: 'Aqua', 'Aria', 'Arena' and 'Aura'.

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Asia - Aura (2001) Full Album

These are discs that I have flatly refused to acknowledge before - but there are some real surprises here with excellent productions, well-written songs, superb guitar work and stylistic shifts worthy of the best 'Prog' acts.

The final album from the Downes/Payne team was 'Silent Nation' a hard-edged concept album about the faceless modern world. However during this time Geoff Downes had been working again with John Wetton under the name 'ICON', Making gentler and more intricate sounds. This led to a reunion of the original line-up with Howe and Palmer - and the album 'Phoenix'. Finding a new impetus to go out and play their quality stadium-rock again they went on to make 'Omega' and 'XXX' then Howe left again - unable to successfully split his attention between Asia and Yes.

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Asia - Gravitas (Full Album) 2014

The final album 'with John Wetton was 'Gravitas' which has a more orchestral grandeur to it. He passed away in 2017 but there was material for another Asia album already written and Downes has hinted that this will appear in the future. Asia now is a a half-Yes project as Geoff Downes and Billy Sherwood (bass/vocals) are currently members of both bands.

These days I don't want to be a genre-snob anymore - I'm just looking around for good music and whoever can be bothered to make it. If the Payne-era band had been called something except 'Asia' then it could have had major success (yes, the albums ARE that good) but continuing the band-name only raised comparisons and doubts.

There is more music out there - now to get out and hear it (all) ! :music-listening: :music-listening: :music-listening:
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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by CN211276 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:17 am

I used to be a genre snob and suppose I still am to some extent. I can now listen to anything but rap and hip hop, lossless streaming opening up a whole new world.
I remember being horrified when punk emerged and at the same time liking a lot of it. Looking back I think I went through something of a late teen crisis. :lol: My long hair remained although it was no longer cool. :grin:
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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Andy-831 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am

Interesting "Confessional" post Fretless which I can partly relate to although I do still have difficulty with most "Arena rock" and "AOR".

As regards genres I avoid, I tend to agree about rap but I quite like some Hip Hop which is probably a bit strange for a 64 year old LOL. Oh! and I still have difficulty with most Punk.
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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Mississippi Blind Child Assburn » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:23 pm

Andy-831 wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 9:32 am
I quite like some Hip Hop
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Re: Oh Yes! (or is it No?)

Unread post by Mississippi Blind Child Assburn » Mon Dec 10, 2018 2:28 pm

Fretless wrote:
Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:50 am

Now older and somewhat milder in my preconceptions I am widening my vision to include discs that I would have cursed, mocked and burnt on a raging pyre while (preferably) naked virgins danced around it. Under this category falls the oft-maligned genre known as easy-listening, Geritol-AORPwog.

Fret: oldage brings liquification of the vitreous and brain. Hence it is common to open oneself more to the poppification of YES and Howe.

I will ask The Deacon to pray for you.

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