Uncle G’s FUN Music Collection: Yes – Magnification (2001) + Yes – Talk (1994)

Published: 05 June 2013 – 06 June 2013 – Classic Rock Radio (UK) Official Facebook Page
Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews

From Uncle G’s FUN Music Collection
Spotlight: Yes – Magnification (2001) + Yes – Talk (!994)

A Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page Exclusive
A Two-part YES Special Occasion – by Gary “Uncle G” Brown (Twitter @GBrown0816)

Music CD: Yes x 2 Originals: Magnification (2001) / Talk (1994)

Part One of a Two-Part Column

Yes – Magnification (2001)

I must admit it took me a few years to really fall into Magnification. One reason was that for the first time in their history, there was no main keyboardist. Magnification would be the band’s second album with an orchestra. With orchestral music composed and arranged, by Larry Groupe’. News to me at the time, Yes was a four-piece band. Magnification was the group’s first original music release in the new century. Would be the last original studio album with one of the founders of Yes; Jon Anderson. Unless a new one arrives with Jon again, because, with this band, anything is truly possible.

Magnification was a perfect combination of orchestra and prog-rock band. As much could be credited to Mr. Groupe’ as one could the band.

The Yes members that participated, considered core Yes musicians. They all appeared together for the first time on a studio album with 1973’s release of; Tales From Topographic Oceans. The same four guys; Relayer (1974) / Going For The One (1977) / Tormato (1978) / Union (1991) Keys to Ascension (1995 – 1997) Open Your Eyes (1997) / and The Ladder (1999). All with various keyboardists with Mister Keyboard Wizard himself, Rick Wakeman, appearing the most.

Note: Union (1991) is a coin toss on who actually appeared on what if anything. The studio record…a good topic for a future column.

Who Are The Four Core Members of Yes?

Jon Anderson: vocals/lyrics / assorted percussion / and giver of good vibes.

Chris Squire: bass/backing and sometimes lead vocals / Official Yes Good Will Ambassador (the only original member to have appeared on ALL of the bands’ official studio / live releases).

Steve Howe: guitars / ever-improving backing vocals.

Alan White: drums / assorted percussion/closet pianist and keyboard player.

Kidding aside, Alan White does indeed do some keyboard work on this album. I read over the years how Alan helped compose on a piano/keyboard. Stories from The Going For The One sessions perhaps? A cool moment when he would rise up from the drum kit and play the keyboard into from the song, In The Presence, when in concert. Pardon me…I’m jumping ahead of myself.

Uncle G’s Favorite Songs off Magnification; Track One: Magnification – it’s a wonderful title song. Very catchy and a great intro to the rest of the disc.

Track Five: Don’t Go – long enough time has passed now for a group to cover this. A deep cut that excels in excellence. It’s a Chris Squire song. White’s drum work is perfect. In baseball speak, a Home Run for the man nicknamed; Fish.

Track Eight: Dreamtime – this is what a prog-rock and orchestra SHOULD sound like. The strongest song on the album, never getting the proper attention it deserved/deserves to this very day. Would LOVE to witness this performed live. Steve Howe shines. A shame the track seemed to fall through the YesCracks as far as it never being included in any setlist since the release of the album. I like to see them revisit the song one day.

Track Nine: In The Presence Of — seems to flow naturally. A treat to see in concert as I got to witness the band perform the song with Rick Wakeman on keys, about eleven years ago. One of the most impressive moments of the night.

Yes’ Magnification — Music-wise for me it feels closest to Tales From Topographic Oceans / Going For The One. Should one like one or the other, then my guess is they would at least appreciate this, Yes’ nineteenth studio release. If overlooked, Uncle G recommends adding Magnification to your classic rock / Yes collection.

Acknowledgment: OK YesHeads…any of this is open to debate.

Graphic: Accompanying the column is a scan – Eagle Rock Entertainment – Out of Germany in the year, 2008.

Tomorrow’s Column: Part Two – Yes Talk (1994)

Tic Tok…Tic Tok…

Uncle G’s FUN Music Reviews

From Uncle G’s FUN Music Collection
Spotlight: Yes – Magnification (2001) + Yes – Talk (!994)

A Classic Rock Radio (UK) Facebook Page Exclusive
A Two-part YES Special Occasion – by Gary “Uncle G” Brown (Twitter @GBrown0816)

Music CD: Yes x 2 Originals: Magnification (2001) / Talk (1994)

Note: Conclusion to a 2-part column

Yes – Talk (1994)

Yes’ Talk would mark the last appearances of Yes founding member Tony Kaye (now with Circa:), and a guy who single handily resurrected the band; Trevor Rabin. A man who is hugely famous now for his work doing Hollywood film scores. But back in 1994, he had a large part in what was then Yes’ newest album; Talk.

I remember stumbling on this at a Best Buy one day. I just happened to go music shopping the day Talk was released. Not only did I totally fall (totally engrossed) into Talk, but my then-girlfriend (now wife) did as well. Can’t tell you how many times we had this play in the background while we made whoopee. Both of us know every song by heart. When the band toured the release, we ended up seeing two shows; San Antonio / The Woodlands (both respectively located in Texas, U.S.A.). The best moment for me was the song that closed the show (before the encore; Roundabout); Endless Dream. If you’re into keyboards, you’ll fucking love this song. It’s presented in three parts. The intro (Silent Spring “instrumental”) seriously rocks. Used by the NFL at one point on their network broadcasts.

No hit songs per-say came from Yes’ fourteenth studio release. But you can’t say they didn’t try. Back in ’94 and with me living in a single-wide trailer, my now better half woke me up in the middle of the night to tell me Yes was on TV playing their new song; The Calling. Was a video. I remember opening my eyes and seeing blonde hair and sunglasses. Then I went back to sleep. It’s a good song. The Japan release including a version where an extra minute of music was inserted somewhere around the half waypoint. The famous Yes, slow down. The band has a history to where they are rocking, just grooving away and then all the sudden slowing down the tempo. Seriously, like they were in a funeral procession. The magic what is ‘prog’. It’s just something Yes did. Back to ‘The Calling’, that extra sixty seconds or so made the import Japan release a must-have for most YesCollectors.

Note: The extra-long version of The Calling, IS included in the CD here that I’m spotlighting. The disc, by the way, brand new cost me with tax, about eight bucks.

The Music

Track One: The Calling — GREAT beat!! Alan White’s the backbone (as usual) to a very catchy, uptempo song. Superior vocals / harmonizing. Can’t find a finer definition of what a mainstream prog-rock song should sound like. All players stand out. Tony Kaye ROCKS on the Hammond. One of two songs Squire gets songwriting credit on.

Track Two is entitled; I Am Waiting. A Trevor Rabin/Jon Anderson collaboration. The has moments where it simply ROCKS! One of the best numbers on the recording.

Track Three: Real Love — Listen to this on a GOOD pair of headphones. There is a background sound in the very beginning that catches your attention. Blends in and then it fades away taking us on a slow progression until Alan starts sounding more like John Henry Bonham (RIP). Here again, Trevor Rabin reminds us that Yes is a PROG-ROCK band. What some might call slow, pretty music has its moments. Deep down I’m a rock music fan who digs the prog energy. A lot of times something with a harder sound and a faster beat. Makes me feel good inside. Especially when played LOUD, and on a REAL stereo. It’s cool when rock musicians remind us they are also serious/accomplished players and present quieter moments to showcase their skills but don’t bore me to death doing so. One could never accuse Rabin of ever doing that when with Yes…ever.

Fun Fact: Real Love mentions Stephen Hawking. Not that I cling to his every word, but the man does capture my attention from time to time.

Steve Howe Vs. Trevor Rabin

Howe’s a top musician and in my opinion, one of the most talented guitar players on the planet. A lot of times he plays skilled delicate/beautiful chords and notes. Enough so to leave you in true shock and awe.

When it comes to playing a rock guitar, Rabin’s work with Yes being so different then Howe’s has to me anyway a more youthful sound. A comparison that was never fair and I imagine ALWAYS having yourself compared against, made Rabin work even harder.

Yes – Talk (1994) ended up Trevor’s swansong with Yes. From there it was film score composing in which he for the large part never looked back. A new solo album last year. the album Yes – Talk, was his baby. Songwriting credits mostly go to him and Jon Anderson. Sure the others contributed. Trevor was a major source of the writing and the recording process.

Truthfully (not that I would lie to you) the critics panned Talk. Plenty of problems and to their credit those five guys that made up the band at the time carried on (half-empty concert venues due to the labels failure to properly promote and leaving the band hanging in the wind. Yet they completed what they set out to do. Speaks highly). The fans that did go were treated to an exceptional show. Billy Sherwood along for the ride. For my lovely wife and I…two special nights to remember. Oh…Howe Vs Rabin — fodder for Yes Fanatics only. Akin to Roger Dean Vs H.R. Giger — makes me laugh. The only thing Howe and Rabin really have in common is that they both professionally play the guitar. Oh, wait, two things really. Both at one time or another, the main guitarist for Yes.

Track Four: State Of Play — Parts balls to the wall with a touch of some really nice deep bass. Another classic sounding YesMix of rock and prog elements. The vocals as well deserve praise. The same said for the whole album.

Track Five: Walls — In part written by one of Supertramp’s founding members; Roger Hodgson. I remember seeing the band perform the song live on David Letterman (the good old days back when Dave was actually cool). A good attempt at a radio-friendly song.

Track Six: Where Will You Be — I remember Jon telling the story in an interview about going over Rabin’s house. Trevor so wanted a good collaboration between the two of them. This song I believe is about death. Something unavoidable for us all. The music is mellow. Jon’s words are emotionally moving. I saw the band play Where You Will Be live with Chris playing an old fashion stand up bass. A beautiful composition.

Track Seven: Endless Dream — To me, yet another YesMasterpiece. A shame songs from that recording has never been done in concert since the Yes Talk tour ended. I always hoped Rabin would do a mix rock/film score concert and include this one. Add a fancy Hollywood light show. Do other YesTunes as well that he was a contributor on. And then the main theme from one of the motion pictures Mr. Rabin did the score for; Armageddon (1998).

Yes – Talk (1994) — A very good effort that the majority of the public at the time just didn’t get. Lucky us, the ones who did. If not in your classic rock / Yes collection already, I’d recommend adding it. For most reading this, I can just about guarantee repeat listens.

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