Listening To Yes (While Not Sick)

I have noted here before how I typically listen to Yes when I am sick. It seems to help. Jon’s vocals are light and often times lyrics more complex than I have the full capacity (while sick) to follow clearly, so it all gets fuzzy, and the music is sweeping and grandiose and sometimes as I go in and out I don’t even notice the changes from song to song, making it seem very much like one long prog rock dream sequence. I load them up on my laptop and put all the songs and albums on random and drift off. It goes all day.

“Tales From Topographic Oceans” is a great one to be delirious to. I’m just saying. If you can get a hold of the expanded version it may outlast your fever.

That being said, I have a lot of Yes vinyl. This is for listening to while not sick.

I have every Yes album through “Big Generator”. 

Plus, several comps and live albums.

Some of these albums came my way via the discount bin, early in my return to vinyl collecting. Most for only a buck. These days those same albums have moved from the discount bin to the upper racks and priced starting a 5 bucks. I will confess I did spend a bit more for “Yessongs” (a triple album) and their first album “Yes”, (which I ordered from Discogs since I never ran across it and needed it to fill up the collection). These albums are solid classic prog rock. Even the album that Jon Anderson is not on “Drama” is good, which is a surprise even to myself. Typically once the established original lead singer of a band is replaced I have a hard time accepting the new sound. That is a whole post on its own.

So, to return to the notion that I usually listen to these albums (digitally) when I am sick or needing to disconnect… how do they translate when I am feeling fine?

I have in my day run hot and cold at times with Yes. Sometimes the reasons that they are perfect in my altered state of mind while being sick is exactly why I sometimes can’t deal with them while just listening on any other day.

Alan played “Roundabout” on his tape called “Walk This Way” and that song has always been Yes to me. In college I heard Yes a lot but it always seemed to be from a very narrow window of time and breadth of albums. There was little else to be heard until “Owner Of A lonely Heart” hit the airwaves. Then you couldn’t NOT hear that song. I do like it, but it’s hardly their best material if you consider their whole catalog.

It was during that phase that I saw an MTV concert from Yes and it looked pretentious and horrible with everyone dressed like Rush from the back of 2112. I was really turned off. The music seemed equally over the top and extended jams and solos by each member were interesting, but not what I was into at the time. Again, that’s probably on me, not them.

When I started buying vinyl again and Yes albums were available, I bought them. When I picked up “Fragile” it reminded me of Alan and his tape. It was part nostalgia and part rediscovery of a band that created some great music.

It seemed what I thought was sometimes overblown was coming into focus and I was approaching the music with a more worldly open mind than that of a college kid that had just wanted to rock out. I have been more and more attuned to Yes in recent years. A quick look on Spotify tells me there are quite a few more albums now than what I have. New albums for decades and a batch of live albums.

Not sure I would be inclined to pick up any of these up at this point, but I am loyal to my “Yes” through “Big Generator” collection. Over the past few weeks I have been listening to Yes at work and really enjoying it, even the excesses of “Yessongs” which I had sworn off for a long time. I have even listened to some of this new stuff (without Jon Anderson on vocals) and it’s good.

All this Yes in my atmosphere had led me to do something that I have been threatening to do for a long time. Cleaning my records.

I have doubles of “Yessongs” and “9012Live The Solos” and “Yesshows” and wanted to clean them up and compare to keep only the cleanest copy. That led me down the path of… well, if I’m gonna clean some, I should clean them all. So I brought the entire Yes collection up. I broke out the Studebaker record cleaner I bought and got started.

In the process I discovered that 2 records had no paper sleeves, which I remedied, and that the copy of “Classic Yes” I have includes the 7″ single.

That was a bonus. I hadn’t even realized it was in there though I have listened to this album more than once. Per the Wiki page “Some pressings included a free live single of previously unreleased live versions of “Roundabout” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”.” I got lucky.

I also found a poster of Dr. Funkenstein from I presume a P. Funk or Parliment album inside a different Yes album. Not the weirdest thing I have ever found in a record sleeve.

So now I have them all clean, bagged with the sleeve outside the cover to indicate that they have been cleaned and will return them to the stacks downstairs.

So Yes is here to stay.

I guess I like it sick OR well.

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