Today seemed like a good day to add to my all time favorite CD list and today's disc is from one of my all time favorite bands. Number 54 is:
Yes - Close To The Edge (1972)
Considered by many music critics to be the definitive highpoint of Yes. Close to the Edge features three songs. The songs are written in the style of classical compositions where there are movements within an overarching theme. Classic Yes' sound gels here, the disparte influences of art rock, classical music, jazz, folk and hippie dippy psychedelics merge with beauty and power. The title track clocks in at 18+ minutes with it's dizzying array of all things Yes. Back in the days of vinyl this song took up an entire album side. The song begins as a shimmering, psychedelic rush before moving to a lumbering beat until the middle. The middle section moves quietly with haunting harmonies and Rick Wakeman's grandiose organ blasts. The climactic finale rushes through frantic solos to the big finish. The first of Yes' epic "masterworks", the song is a highlight of their career. Amazingly, in the eight Yes concerts I've attended I've never heard this song live.
The second song I've heard at every Yes concert I've attended and that's "And You And I". The song alternates between folky Hobbit style hoedowns and slowly building musical themes. One of the songs that helped defined their early tag as "space rock", "And You And I" is a moving piece of music with no literal meaning. It does what Yes does best, express pure emotion without making sense.
Then final song, "Siberian Khatru" is an upbeat, surging piece that closes the album in fine style. If you like Yes, this is one of THE discs to have with all members at their peak. Jon Anderson at his spaced out hippie best, Chris Squires strong melodic bass lines, Rick Wakeman's bombastic classical styled synth playing, Steve Howe's fussy angular guitar parts and Bill Bruford's unpredictably jazzy drumming. Creatively, Yes would never top this disc.