YES Fragile (1971) & Close To The Edge (1972)


Fragile (1971)
Close To The Edge (1972)
Two Reasons To Quit Rehab

Drummer Bill Bruford should be bronzed and statued for his work on these releases alone. You’ll note the Fragile track, “Five Per Cent For Nothing,” compositionally credited to Bruford, though, in reality, it’s a band improv (minus singer Jon Anderson). The title is a cheeky reference to songwriting royalties, which drummers rarely get, and which caused a ongoing riff between the drummer and Anderson. I caught Bruford at a drum clinic once, and he told the story of how he argued for a songwriting credit on an improvisational piece of music (I forget which) that he didn’t even play on. His rationale was that his non-involvement completely altered the feel and outcome of the end result, making his decision to lay back as compositionally pertinent as the playing players. He, somehow, won that debate. Oft-ignored drummers around the world would surely attest that Bruford should be bronzed and statued for that, too. He’d soon find himself in King Crimson, a band far better suited for that kind of thought process [as one of our commenters confirms]. As for these two essential Yes albums… why is it, to this day, they always make me want to take drugs? Just say Yes! Amazon sellers have these excellent 2003 Elektra/Rhino reissues dirt cheap, HERE & HERE.


FRAGILE
Roundabout (8:36)
Cans And Brahms (1:43)
We Have Heaven (1:40)
South Side Of The Sky (7:58)
Five Per Cent For Nothing (0:38)
Long Distance Runaround (3:30)
The Fish (Schindleria Praematurus) (2:42)
Mood For A Day (3:03)
Heart Of The Sunrise (11:33)
America (10:33)
Roundabout [Early Rough Mix] (8:35)

CLOSE TO THE EDGE
Close To The Edge (18:43)
And You And I (10:09)
Siberian Khatru (9:01)
America [Single Version] (4:13)
Total Mass Retain [Single Version] (3:21)
And You And I [Alternate Version] (10:18)
Siberia [Studio Run-Through of "Siberian Khatru"] (9:20)

20 Comments

  • 1
    Sven
    May 4, 2010 - 13:57 | Permalink

    ah. Highschool daze…

  • 2
    Roger Camden
    May 4, 2010 - 17:31 | Permalink

    Jon Anderson seems pretty much full of shit

    These albums are great, regardless

    I particularly like the full-length cover of Simon & Garfunkel's America
    very, very nice

  • 3
    bsk
    May 4, 2010 - 17:40 | Permalink

    Great stuff Capt. I had both these but not the bonus tracks versions. It's great to hear some 'new' old Yes.

  • 4
    Capt. Willard
    May 4, 2010 - 15:46 | Permalink

    .
    .
    .
    FRAGILE – HERE

    CLOSE TO THE EDGE – HERE
    .
    .
    .

  • 5
    censusloss
    May 4, 2010 - 21:55 | Permalink

    Dear Captain -boy do these take me back to my not misspent enough youth!! Yes well they were "it" along with ELP etc but altho i have still the vinyl and bought the remasters, I think their music has dated not at all well- even at the time I thought they were really starting to lose the plot with close to the edge and it got worse in overindulgence and pretentiousness from there
    What do the rest of you guys out there think ?
    Sorry- 1st and only negative post from me but your continuing work remains HIGHLY appreciated
    Plus is it me or is Blogger cracking down or what- blogs are disappearing fast ?? Hope theres no pattern there

    Cheers, Captain

  • 6
    Ray
    May 5, 2010 - 00:07 | Permalink

    @censuslos: Maybe your comments about Yes's pretentiousness relate to Willard's comments about the music making him want to take drugs. There's something about a pipeload that makes prog rock sound as if it had to be that overbearing. There's always room for jello. I myself haven't listened to Yes for years, but Animal Collective frequently makes me want to dust off that stash box.

  • 7
    Clive
    May 5, 2010 - 04:41 | Permalink

    I guess whether or not it sounds dated depends on what else your ears have become attuned to lately.

    These albums are in a class of their own imho. There are more proficient players for sure – Vinnie Colaiuta may be the only drummer who could possibly make Bruford sound dated but that depends on who Colaiuta is working for at the moment. Jeff Berlin has far more technical training and ability than Chris Squire and doesn't fail to make public mention of it either, but goddam is his playing boring by comparison.
    Who could Howe be dated by? Steve Vai maybe? Another case of less is more and Yes wins again in my book.

    It's like comparing ancient classical music to say, Phillip Glass – dated, hell yeah, but not "better"

  • 8
    ElementaryPenguin
    May 5, 2010 - 04:46 | Permalink

    I recently got these two (along with The Yes Album and Relayer) to replace my old albums. I'm debating whether I want to get Tales from Topographic Oceans again… The extra tracks aren't very special on hardly any of these releases (in my book). But some are interesting like "Siberian," because it's so impressive that that was just a "run-through."

    I never got into King Crimson. Never had the cash to get their albums, but I too have been in a bit of a Proggy-state, and I'm considering grabbing a few of their essential albums. KC is important, but my purchase will be fairly blind seeing as I only had The Courts of the Crimson King. And the band is strangely absent from the web. Fripp must be an internet cop.

  • 9
    Capt. Willard
    May 5, 2010 - 05:01 | Permalink

    After Court, a few other essentials are Lark's Tongues In Aspic, Lizard & Red. Just be aware that they're all very different albums (with different line ups). Jon Anderson makes an appearance on Lizard, which may aid in your transition, but, it's a weird album – and may be a tough nut to crack after 40 years. There are other essentials, too, but those are solid starting points. My personal favorite is still Lark's Tongues.

  • 10
    Anonymous
    May 5, 2010 - 10:32 | Permalink

    I used to have pretty much their whole discog in lossless files on my pc but my drive crashed and I haven't replaced them.
    If you're into bit-torrent at all, their entire discog is available as both m4a files(551mb)or mp3(1.37gb) on a site that rhymes with irate day – they're both well seeded. The quality will likely be lacking but at least you'll get your feet wet and inform your purchasing options better.

  • 11
    Anonymous
    May 5, 2010 - 10:47 | Permalink

    both the versions of the above mentioned KC discogs are finished d/l at 1.5 Mb/s and the mp3's are 320 and the m4a are vbr but sound good – I'll probly keep those to save space and dump the mp3's. There's no info or cover art with either set.

    Hope that helps.

    ~ Mother Goose.

  • 12
    Anonymous
    May 5, 2010 - 13:05 | Permalink

    I must admit buying most of the out put of Yes on record in those days of growing up until those punk rockers stole my ears in 77 but I was one of the few that kept listening to them I even loved "Tales from Topographic Oceans!"…I once saw a great doc with Mr Anderson coming clean that he had no idea on his own lyrics just streams of words ..hey why not it didn't bother us at the time the more daft the better I would also strongly recommend the Tomorrow album if some of you chaps need to play catch up….I bet there are a few guys playing this now with wifes and girl friends awaiting to pull the plug out…six Wives of Henry anyone?…..6pt

  • 13
    H. P. L.
    May 5, 2010 - 15:13 | Permalink

    Willard: Bruford being credited in a song he didn't play anything in – the song is Trio from Starless and Bible Black by the Mighty Crim. Bill tells the story in his autobiography, using almost the same words you reported.
    The bio itself is a rewarding read.

  • 14
    ElementaryPenguin
    May 5, 2010 - 15:15 | Permalink

    Thanks for all the feedback. And what rhymes with "irate day"?

    Just kidding, I've never been one for "Florrents" just because I'm never absolutely sure what I'll be getting. Maybe just this once.

  • 15
    ElementaryPenguin
    May 5, 2010 - 15:25 | Permalink

    To comment on the post itself (and not steal its thunder), I think both of these are essential. I'm more partial to Fragile with South Side of the Sky, Long Distance Runaround, Mood For a Day, and Heart of the Sunrise (and of course Roundabout, but we need not comment on that). Both "Heart" and "Long Distance" are nearly perfect, but they both have a few cheesy prog brakes that mar them for me. Not marred too much though. It gives them a particular character.

    Oh Yes of course, the Bass! Chris Squire is amazing in so many ways (the "Fish" itself isn't that special to mine ears, but everywhere he plays a note I'm amazed.)
    Anyone who likes Squire, or Yes, or bass, or orchestral prog should check out "Fish Out of Water." It's basically Yes, only Squire sings (and sounds similar to Anderson even with the nearly two foot height difference. I guess tall guys can sing high too.) That got long-distance.

  • 16
    Capt. Willard
    May 5, 2010 - 15:20 | Permalink

    Thanks HPL for rescuing my useless memory.

  • 17
    censusloss
    May 8, 2010 - 22:44 | Permalink

    Boys and Girls -I am sooo pleased to appear to have kicked off a vigourous tho fortunately temperate forum – wish more of it would appear esp on other blogs whose authors put in at least as much work and love as Willard ( and that of course is saying a lot..)
    2 points then i will shut up on this topic. Best Yes album? The Yes Album was then to me and still is tho even it is still dated.As for topographic well i still can laugh at that one as a pretty high point of pomposity, obligatory and vacuous virtuosity etc- dont take offence any relevant guys out there if you love it then good but the fact that punk had to happen kind of proves something..
    King Crimson – they say it has been many bands and i have big respect for RED apathy for the rest EXCEPT the Crimson King which is an undoubted prog masterpiece prob THE PM – fresh as paint and still offering a punch and then some- maybe it was best their vocalist went and they lost their main co-writer cause how could they have matched let alone surpassed it?
    OK I'll let y'all chew on that- no hate mail tho- I have high blood pressure and numerous other ailments ( and no, my ears do still work kind of..
    Cheers all
    C

  • 18
    furrball
    November 6, 2012 - 02:30 | Permalink

    I remember the first time and place I ever heard FRAGILE. Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, when I was in the Army. I bought the LP the day I left. Still an essential part of my music collection to this day.

  • 19
    RobJam
    February 13, 2014 - 19:56 | Permalink

    Interesting stories re Bill…
    My fond memory is the time I met him at a drum clinic in CA. I had in hand the three reformed KC albums (Red, Blue and Yellow) as well as a bootleg with a great cover in the same design of the others (in Lavender) which I placed at the bottom of the deck.
    At the time, Bill was promoting those big hexagonal Simmons electronic drums kits…this was pre-Roland.
    Anyways, I met up with him after the clinic and asked him to sign the albums, and chatted a bit. He got to the boot, and said “What’s all this then?” in his swanky brit accent. I said “it’s a bootleg. Sign it.”
    He groaned. And signed it.
    Afterwards, I looked at the sig. “This looks very shady Bill Bruford”
    I’ve since had it signed by Adrian and Tony. For some reason Robert wouldn’t sign it. Ha!

    • 20
      Willard
      February 13, 2014 - 23:35 | Permalink

      Very funny. Especially how demanding you were that he “sign it.” I’ve only ever collected a couple of signatures in my life, but never got one with a cool response.

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