Friday, 25 November 2016

"Time And A Word" by YES (2003 Elektra/Rhino 'Expanded Edition' CD -Dan Hersch and Bill Inglot Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Life Will Be Even Bolder..."

Produced by TONY COLTON (a close friend of Jon Anderson and the lead singer with Heads, Hand & Feet - another Atlantic Records act on the up) - Yes' second platter "Time And A Word" from July 1970 saw our British Prog Heroes take on an 'orchestra' to mixed results - good and bad.

Personally I've always thought their first two albums wildly underrated and under appreciated (most fans want to begin their catalogue with 1971's brilliant "The Yes Album" and i can understand that) - but I'd argue that the four 'Bonus Tracks' on this 2003 Elektra/Rhino CD Remaster of "Time And A Word" lift proceedings into the realms of essential purchase for fan and newcomer alike. Here are the timely details...

UK released February 2003 (reissued April 2013) - "Time And A Word" by YES on Elektra/Rhino 8122-73787-2 (Barcode 081227378721) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Remaster with Four Bonus Tracks that plays out as follows (60:15 minutes):

1. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed
2. Then
3. Everydays
4. Sweet Dreams
5. The Prophet [Side 2]
6. Clear days
7. Astral Traveller
8. Time And A Word
Tracks 1 to 8 are their 2nd studio album "Time And A Word" - released June 1970 in the UK on Atlantic Records 2400 006 (reissued December 1971 on Atlantic K 40085) and November 1970 in the USA on Atlantic SD 8273. The US issue had different artwork to the UK original - the first page of the booklet uses the UK artwork (naked lady in black and white) whilst the last page of the booklet uses the US cover (a colour photo of the 5-piece band).

9. Dear Father - UK-only 7" single on Atlantic 2091 004 released 15 June 1970 - B-side to "Sweet Dreams" (album track No. 3)
10. No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed (Original Mix)
11. Sweet Dreams (Original Mix)
Tracks 9 to 11 also first appeared on an early German pressing of the "Time And A Word LP" in April 1970
12. The Prophet - UK-only 7" single on Atlantic 584 323 released 27 March 1970 - B-side to "Time And A Word" (album track No. 8)

For "Time And A Word" YES was:
JON ANDERSON - Leads Vocals
PETER BANKS - Lead Guitars
TONY KAYE - Keyboards

The first remaster of this album in November 1994 simply presented fans with the 8-track album and as it was a US based reissue - it used the American colour artwork. This new 2004 stab at it goes back to the British artwork and design of Laurence Sackman (the US variant is on the last page of the booklet) and adds on four tasty Bonus tracks Previously Unissued in the USA. The 16-page booklet detailed and informative liner notes from MIKE TIANO and the text is peppered with colour/black and white period photos of the band. The rare lyric insert that came with original vinyl issues is also reproduced - there's a photo f the band beneath the see-through CD tray and the only tiny glitch that I can see is that Rhino used the December 1971 reissue artwork for Atlantic K 40085 on Page 2 (the rear of the UK sleeve) with the WEA credit when it should have been Atlantic 2400 006 - the 1970 original when WEA didn't exist. Other than that the booklet is very tastefully done - Rhino's quality shining through. But the big news here is a new DAN HERSCH and BILL INGLOT CD Remaster at Digiprep from original master tapes and they've done a sterling job - full, alive and coming at you with real presence.

The album opens with a Richie Havens cover version lifted from his second album on Verve Forecast "Somethin' Else" called "No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed". YES take the 1968 Folk-Soul song and its inherent funky beat and add their Prog Classical slant and actually it works. Driven by Squire's huge Bass notes and Kaye's frantic Organ - it could actually be a Yes song - in fact you can hear "Yours In No Disgrace" in its structures. But it's "Then" and the fabulous "Everydays" that brings the LP to life - brilliant rhythms as Jon sings " is the only answer..." and that gorgeous languid Blues-feel to "Everydays". I know you could argue that "Then" in particular could have done without the strings - but the combo of strings and Kaye's slinky organ notes on "Everydays" along with that cool cymbals and guitar Prog break actually make the song.

Atlantic figured the ever-so-slightly commercial feel to "Sweet Dreams" would make a great 45 - so they give it pride of place as an A-side in mid June 1970 with the none-album "Dear Father" on the flipside - but despite the strength of both sides - it sank without a trace presently clocking in at £45 in the latest 2018 RC Price Guide. But that's as naught to the rarity of the album's first single - the non-album mix of "The Prophet" b/w the album’s version of the title track "Time And A Word". No one seems to know how many stocks copies of Atlantic 584 323 were released in March 1970 in their native Britain - but it wasn't a lot and has subsequently become a notorious YES collectable clocking in at £175.00 - if you can actually find a copy. Both of those rare non-album 45 versions are included here as Bonus Tracks and welcome additions they are too.

The album version of "The Prophet" opens Side 2 (different to the single mix) and at 6:40 minutes gives you the full Jon Anderson/Chris Squire penned gamut of Yes sounds. Again I think the when the strings come in - it adds rather than detracts (others would disagree). The remaster has great power when the band finally kicks in - that Peter Banks guitar passage particularly clear as Jon starts to sing "...a tale of yesterday..." Lead vocalist and founder member Jon Anderson penned "Clear Days" - a song that goes all "Eleanor Rigby" on the string additions to the point where it's difficult to hear any other instrument. But along with the piano - it feels epic and clever. The near six-minute "Astral Traveller" is more like "The Yes Album" Yes people love - Anderson warbling about "...wandering where lights go..." and leaving out the body load (know what you mean man). The opening acoustic guitars of “Time And A Word” are beautifully clear and I’d forgotten how good parts of the song is - similar musical themes that turned up on parts of "Tales From Topographic Oceans". 

The 1969 debut is better for sure and the next LP in 1971 "The Yes Album" is a masterpiece - a band finally arriving and unleashing their potential. "...And the word is love..." - Jon Anderson sings on "Time And A Word" - "...and it's right for me..." I feel the same way about this forgotten part of their mighty catalogue.

PS: This 2003 Remaster variant of "Time And A Word" including the Bonus Tracks also turns up inside "The Studio Albums 1969-1987" Box Set which is amazing value for money and includes repro artwork but not the booklet...

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