LINEUP: Jon Anderson, Peter Banks, Chris Squire, Tony Kaye, Bill Bruford
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A band trying to figure out its way, with cover material and a couple of decent originals surrounding mediocre early prog.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first Yes album was definitely a band that should have had ‘work in progress’ labeled on it. While the covers of “I See You” and “Every Little Thing” (excellent deep cut choices of the Byrds and Beatles, BTW) are top notch, the only original that truly has the spark of later Yes is the opening cut “Beyond & Before”.
The rest of the cuts are OK. Some meander and are boring – others suffer from a lack of vision in melody or lyrics. Still it’s quite interesting to hear Yes as a developing band since they were so sure and forceful of their vision in later incarnations.
Depending on your taste for Yes, you’ll like this or deem it unworthy. I’m keeping it around myself.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Yes developed out of a band called Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, which Squire originally joined with Banks in 1967. Also, for some reason the US market re-did the cover.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Two versions each of singles that were released between their first and second album with one song appearing on the second album proper.
GRADE: B-: Three of the eight cuts are great – and well, that’s enough to make up for the others.