YES — Time And A Word (review)

YES — Time And A Word album cover Album · 1970 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Prog Zone
Review - #2 (Yes - Time and a Word)

Time and a Word is the second studio album by Yes, released in July of 1970 on Atlantic Records. It was distributed several months after the release of the band's self-titled debut. During the writing of Time and a Word they continued to tour heavily and recorded the album during gaps between shows. In this album, Yes continued to follow their early musical direction and styles but now accompanied with a small orchestra of brass and string session musicians. The use of the orchestra seems to be a controversial point when discussing the album. The orchestra at points enhances the song and at other points feels unnecessary. However, the main problem I find with the release is the production/mixing of the orchestra, it just feels sloppy. Nevertheless, it doesn't take away from the overall listening experience all too much. The line-up of musicians remains the same as their previous album. It consists of Jon Anderson on vocals, Tony Kaye on Hammond organ, Chris Squire on bass, Bill Bruford on drums, and Peter Banks on guitar. Guitarist Peter Banks did not endorse the idea of adding an orchestra to the album, which resulted in heightened tensions between himself and the rest of the band. While touring in the United Kingdom during April of 1970 and before the album's release, Banks was fired by the band and was replaced by the now legendary guitarist Steve Howe. Funnily enough, the US album featured Steve Howe on the cover even though he didn't perform on Time and a Word. Let's take a closer look at some of the tracks found on this album.

No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed is the album's first track. In fact, it is a cover which was originally written by American artist Richie Havens. It opens with an orchestral theme taken from the soundtrack to the 1958 Western film The Big Country by Jerome Moross. Unfortunately, I believe this track features the worst orchestra mixing on the entire album and amplifies the weak production found throughout the album. Nevertheless, it is a solid track containing a wonderful energy throughout. Jon Anderson also sings a a lower register then usual with makes this track have a truly unique appeal to it. The next two songs, Then and Everydays (which is cover by Stephen Stills), contains a similar jazz style that feels unique for the band. Furthermore, they both feature some truly fantastic drumming from Bill Bruford. They contain complex, well elaborate, and interesting song structures. Just from these first few tracks, the improvements made from their debut is clearly apparent. Sweet Dreams is one of those tracks that I always find myself coming back to. Peter Banks displays excellent guitar work throughout this track while Chris Squire does what he's known for on the bass. Sweet Dreams was also well-received by future Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin, who requested its performance during the 90125 tour in 1984.

The next song, The Prophet, is the longest song on the album and shadows some of the arrangements the band would be known for. Jon Anderson wrote The Prophet tells the story of "a man who tells others to find and believe in themselves and not follow like sheep". It contains an abundance of orchestra which fits this track fairly well. Despite it seeming to be forgotten by most of the Yes fanbase, it is a great track that I would love to see the band revisit live one of these days. Not to mention, there is some truly great Hammond organ work from Tony Kaye here. Clear Days is up next and is a short yet beautiful song that has a similar style when compared the song Yesterday and Today which is found on Yes's self-titled debut. Up next is Astral Traveler, which instantly became one of my favorite songs from this album and the band in general. Jon Anderson uses an odd vocal distortion while singing which conveys an other- worldly sound. Once again, Peter Banks really shines on here with his guitar work. Tony Kaye also steps up to a somewhat lead role in parts of the song which is not necessarily common place on this album. Last but certainly not least we have Time and a Word. The band was searching for an anthem-type song. Jon Anderson presented its basic theme to the group on a guitar, using only two or three chords, which left the band members trying to discern what he was playing and eventually resulted in the song we know today. It was recorded with Jon Anderson previous bandmate David Foster on acoustic guitar. However, Peter Banks claimed it was not meant to be part of the final mix, having been intended only as a guide track. On the final version, Banks played his parts over Foster's. This song would become another classic tune from the album and would be played on multiple tours.

Regrettably, this album isn't perfect. Jon Anderson still seems to be finding his voice and sometimes the instruments seem to be lost. However, these flaws do not take away from the overall listening experience of the album. From beginning to end, this album contains and different yet excellent version of Yes that would not be revisited after this album. Soon after the recording of the album, Peter Banks would be kicked out of the band in favor of Steve Howe. Which would ultimately be a good decision by the band. The first excellent album by an excellent band! There's a time and the time is now, and it's right for me, It's right for me, and the time is now!

- π˜›π˜©π˜ͺ𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘷π˜ͺ𝘦𝘸 𝘸𝘒𝘴 𝘰𝘳π˜ͺ𝘨π˜ͺ𝘯𝘒𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘸𝘳π˜ͺ𝘡𝘡𝘦𝘯 𝘧𝘰𝘳 π˜—π˜³π˜°π˜¨ 𝘈𝘳𝘀𝘩π˜ͺ𝘷𝘦𝘴 (http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=2536119)
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