July 24 – A Second Offering from Yes

7/24/70: Yes – Time and a Word

Yes’s second album, released on Atlantic 50 years ago today, was recorded during the band’s touring breaks and continued the evolution of their classic early/mid 70’s sound (and lineup). A small brass and string section was employed on most of the album which sets it apart from Yes’s other albums, a move which guitarist Peter Banks did not approve of and which hastened his departure from the group before Time and a Word‘s release. He was replaced by Steve Howe, who was added to the group photo on the album’s jacket which was released in the U.S. because the original U.K. jacket was deemed inappropriate for release across the Atlantic.

Original US cover featuring Steve Howe (far right)

There’s simply no doubt who you’re listening to from the opening notes of Tony Kaye’s Hammond organ on No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, a very interesting take on Richie Havens’s original which is also notable to me as a Havens fan because Richie was known better for being an interpreter of others’ tracks rather than the one being covered. Yes’s version has an Aaron Coplandesque bombast of strings and brass, giving it a bit of an American flavor. Other favorites of mine include their reading of Stephen Stills’s Everydays, which starts out spacey before kicking into an extended jam before returning to where it began, plus Jon Anderson & David Foster’s Sweet Dreams, which points the way to future Yes albums, and Anderson’s Astral Traveller, a standout track for drummer Bill Bruford. Dear Father is probably the only song on this album that doesn’t really do anything for me.

Yes

Time and a Word is considered by prog and specifically Yes aficionados to be the weakest of their 1970’s albums. I consider myself to be a casual Yes fan, and I find it to be a very enjoyable listening experience despite its status as a transitional work. The Yes Album, Fragile, Close to the Edge, and Relayer it is not. Probably not Tales from Topographic Oceans, either. But to me that says more about their depth of quality albums in those years. Take away the occasional overuse of strings and it would probably be more on par with those others.

Tracklist

Side One:

  1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
  2. Then
  3. Everydays
  4. Sweet Dreams

Side Two:

  1. The Prophet
  2. Clear Days
  3. Astral Traveller
  4. Time and a Word

-Stephen

https://www.allmusic.com/album/time-and-a-word-mw0001948160

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_and_a_Word

http://www.prog-sphere.com/specials/yes-time-word/

 

May 1970, Pt. 3 – King Crimson’s Followup

5/15/70: King Crimson – In the Wake of Poseidon

King Crimson released their second album on the 15th of May, seven months after their striking debut, In the Court of the Crimson King. Most of the band, including Greg Lake, had departed prior to recording the followup, but returned on a session basis for this album. The similarities to In the Court are clear: sometimes erratic jazz fusion, rock, intricate guitar playing, popping drums, and periods of intermittent ethereal instrumentals. And lots of that signature Mellotron. Unsurprisingly, as with many contemporary reviews of bands not called Beatles or Stones, critics were cool to this album. Also not a shock, retrospective reviews consider it a masterpiece.

The Story Behind The Album: In The Wake Of Poseidon, by King Crimson

This band has had so many incarnations and sounds, I’m hesitant to try to write about them as a casual fan/listener. Robert Fripp seems to me a musician’s musician, an audiophile’s audiophile, and quite an intense one at that. My first two King Crimson albums were In the Court and Discipline, and that was it for a few years. Poseidon was the next one I obtained, and my initial thought was that it was a lesser version of the debut. I’ve come around, however. Maybe it took exploring more of there later work to come closer to “getting” this one. I’m sure Robert Fripp would be relieved to know it.

King Crimson - In The Wake Of Poseidon (Vinyl) | Discogs

Interesting (to me) factoid: A still-relatively unknown Elton John, who had released his debut album Empty Sky in the U.K., was hired to perform the vocals on Poseidon before Greg Lake returned, but Fripp, perhaps wisely, changed his mind, deeming E.J. not quite the right fit.

Tracklist

Side A:

  1. Peace – A Beginning
  2. Pictures of a City
  3. Cadence and Cascade
  4. In the Wake of Poseidon

Side B:

  1. Peace – A Theme
  2. Cat Food
  3. The Devil’s Triangle: I. Merday Morn II. Hand of Sceiron III. Garden of Worm
  4. Peace – An End

-Stephen

https://ultimateclassicrock.com/king-crimson-in-the-wake-of-poseidon/

https://www.popmatters.com/137916-king-crimson-in-the-wake-of-poseidon-40th-anniversary-series-2496068598.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Wake_of_Poseidon