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Friday, November 13, 2015

Yes - Fragile

With their third album in toe of The Yes Album under their belt and bringing Rick Wakeman from the Strawbs into replacing Tony Kaye as he would form Badger, it was the beginning of the golden-era of Yes career as they were about to climb the boat and sail into other lands that will soon become their classic which was their fourth entitled, Fragile. That and the Definitive Edition reissue CD release this year from the Panegyric label, shows that this reissue is the perfect time to relive those memories.

The reissue which includes the CD in a new stereo mix done by the Wizard of 5.1 mixes of Steven Wilson and also including the Blu-Ray/DVD release of the album in different formats including the original mix, 2015 mix, the Rhino 2002 mix, and the Vinyl needle drop transfer. The new mix that Wilson has done on here, is spectacular and the clarity itself is much better and you can close your eyes and imagine listening to the album all over again.

What I love about the reissue of Fragile is not just the album itself, but the additional bonus tracks that are on here. There is the rehearsal take and early mixes of Roundabout and South Side of the Sky, a full version of We Have Heaven along with the acapella version, and All Fighters Past. Now this track is a killer. This was an earlier beginning their sixth album, Tales from Topographic Oceans.

But it’s a wonderful composition featuring the late great Chris Squire’s Rickenbacker Bass nailing those chops with a crunching sound followed by Steve Howe’s guitar, Rick Wakeman’s organ work, and Bruford’s drumming setting the fantasy tones to embark an amazing journey on what you are exploring to delve into. But I’m getting off-track, let’s get straight to the album.

Steve Howe brings his classical guitar roots into the mix with a flamenco marimba influence on Mood for a Day while Squire’s bass goes into a funk-overdrive with The Fish (Schlindleria Praematurus) with the harmonic sounds between him and Howe as they create the improvisations of a fantasy twist. Bill Bruford’s composition of Five Percent for Nothing was originally known as Suddenly It’s Wednesday, shows Bill at his best creating some of the intense drum work on dealing with the contracts and not getting the royalties they deserve from their former manager.

Rick Wakeman brings a shining torch to the keyboards on the Organ and Harpischord of the third movement of Symphony No. 4 in E Minor on Cans and Brahams. The dramatic finale of Heart of the Sunrise is a classic. I can hear the clarity of the Piano, Synths, along with the Bass sections and Mellotron parts in the opening adventurous wonders of Roundabout. But again on the piano part, Steven raised it up that was buried in the multi-tracks along with the synths.

Which was unearthed and had my eyebrows lit-up hearing that. But it’s Chris Squire’s thunderous riff on the Bass that will send chills down to the spine as he nails it down to a “T”. It’s spacey, mind-blowing, and spellbinding at the same time he goes into town to take it to a whole new level. With Bill’s drumming, Rick’s keyboards, Jon’s vocals, and Steve’s guitar, it makes us know why Chris brought the force and energy of Yes.

The 14-page booklet contains original sketch designs by Roger Dean including the logo, liner notes by Sid Smith, interviews with the band, pictures of the group, archive tickets, singles, and the first presses of Fragile in the UK, US, and in France. 2015 with the passing of Chris Squire, it makes us know that the legacy of Yes will live on. And this amazing definitive edition that Steven Wilson has done on the new mixing, brings emotional beauty and dream onto the heart of the sunrise.

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