Yesmen outside Yes
Recommendations from the newsgroup of what to try.

Contents

Last updated: 18 Sep 01

The many members of Yes have been involved in many other musical projects outside the band: as solo artists, in other bands, as guests, as producers or in other roles. As a guide to these other projects, I am holding a series of polls of the alt.music.yes and rec.music.progressive newsgroups to find out what albums are recommended for the Yes fan to buy, or avoid. I use sequential STV (single transferable vote) counts after preferential voting to obtain the results.

Caveat emptor: these results can only be a rough guide. Just because many like or dislike an album, there is no guarantee that you will agree with them. More recent releases may post-date when a particular poll was taken.



Jon Anderson
Poll closed Nov 98

Recommended:
1. Olias of Sunhillow
2. Animation
3. Change We Must
4. Song of Seven

Avoid:
1. In the City of Angels
2. The More You Know

Change We Must is widely available. Olias of Sunhillow and Song of Seven are available on CD in Japan and Europe. Animation has only been released on vinyl (although one song was on the Affirmative: The Yes Solo Family Album CD) and has long since been discontinued, but Anderson continues to push for a CD release. Details and discussion here.


Chris Squire
Results posted 27 Jan 97

Recommended:
1. Fish out of Water [Chris Squire]
2. Criminal Record [Rick Wakeman]
3. Euphoria [World Trade]

Avoid:
The Six Wives of Henry VIII [Rick Wakeman]

Unsurprisingly, Fish out of Water is the clear winner; it took every first preference vote. Squire has been involved peripherally on a number of other easily available albums, but little further consensus appeared from the few votes cast. With The Six Wives of Henry VIII, some of the voters pointed out that they would not recommend the album for someone seeking Squire's playing, but they do not think the album bad in itself. With not much choice in Squire's work outside Yes, numbers voting were greatly down.

Fish out of Water has been released on CD domestically in Europe and Japan. Criminal Record is out of print (see under Wakeman), as is Euphoria.

There have been two notable releases featuring Squire since this poll. Peter Banks' Can I Play You Something? features early recordings from the Syn and Mabel Greer's Toyshop, with Squire appearing on 11 tracks all told. Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood's Conspiracy began life as a planned second solo album from Squire around 1989 and includes alternate versions of the two pieces on Euphoria on which Squire performs.


Bill Bruford
Results posted 29 Apr 97

Recommended:
1=. Feels Good to Me [Bill Bruford]
      Red [King Crimson]
3. UK [UK]

Avoid:
THRaKaTTaK [King Crimson]

Interest in Bruford's work was high, but voting was spread over a large number of different albums. Clear winners in Feels Good to Me and Red, but a tie break between UK and King Crimson's The Great Deceiver for the last place. Strangely, UK nearly won discommendation too, before being beaten by THRaKaTTaK, which won through an alliance of those who disliked the album and those who liked it, but felt it unsuitable as a starting point of Bruford's non-Yes work.

All three recommended albums are readily available.

Bruford himself cites his favourite past work in his website's FAQ as: Close to the Edge (Yes); Red, Discipline and Absent Lovers (King Crimson); One of a Kind (Bruford); and Earthworks and A Part, and Yet Apart (Earthworks).

Bruford continues to be prolific in recent years. Together with a continuing flood of archival King Crimson releases (notably Absent Lovers, The Night Watch and the compilation Cirkus), several new albums have been released since this poll was conducted, including A Part, and Yet Apart, The Sound of Surprise, Bruford Levin Upper Extremities and ProjeKct One's Live at the Jazz Cafe (the latter two with Tony Levin).


Tony Kaye
Results posted 19 Mar 97

Recommended:
1. One Live Badger [Badger]
2. Flash [Flash]
3. Station to Station [David Bowie CD remaster only]

Avoid:
White Lady [Badger]

Voting was very poor with few releases by and little attention in Kaye. Clear winners in One Live Badger and Flash, but the remastered Station to Station only just scrapes in for a recommendation, while White Lady's discommendation was closely fought.

All three recommended albums have been released on CD, although One Live Badger and Flash are now discontinued.

No new material with Kaye has been released since Talk, but there has been one notable re-issue since this poll: Eddie Harris's In the UK/Is It In, on which Kaye guests along side Squire and White.


Peter Banks
Results posted 10 Feb 97

Recommended:
1. Instinct [Peter Banks]
2. Flash [Flash]
3. The Two Sides of Peter Banks [Peter Banks]

Avoid:
Empire, Mark III [Empire]

Clear winners in Instinct and Flash and a clear loser in Empire, Mark III. The Two Sides of... just scrapes in ahead of Self-Contained.

All three recommended albums have been released on CD, but Flash and The Two Sides of Peter Banks have since been discontinued. 


Steve Howe
Results posted 8 Jun 97

Recommended:
1. The Steve Howe Album
2. Not Necessarily Acoustic
3. Turbulence

Avoid:
GTR [GTR]

As with Bruford, interest in Howe's work was high but spread over a large number of albums. The three albums to be recommended won clearly, although Asia was just behind. GTR only won in a tie break with In the Grand Scheme of Things.

All three recommended albums are readily available. Note that The Steve Howe Album is available in a remastered form.

More recent releases include Homebrew 2, Portraits of Bob Dylan and Pulling Strings.



Rick Wakeman
Results posted mid-1997

Recommended:
1=. The Six Wives of Henry VIII
      Criminal Record
3. The Myths and Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

Avoid:
The Gospels

Very clear winners in The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Criminal Record—both albums featuring other Yes members prominently—but a fight for the remaining place won by The Myths and Legends of King Arthur... over Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It is saddening in a way that The Gospels, a piece that seems to mean much to Wakeman personally, should top the discommendations.

The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Myths and Legends of King Arthur... are both readily available. Criminal Record was only released on CD in Japan briefly, but the first side (with Squire and White) is included on the recent compilation Recollections.

Asked in an interview about his own favourites, Wakeman picked out The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Journey to the Centre of the Earth, while he cites Close to the Edge as his favourite Yes record. You might also be interested in an album poll at Rick Wakeman's Communication Centre website, although there are methodological problems in its voting system.

Since this poll was held, Wakeman has continued a high rate of output, including his flagship release, Return to the Centre of the Earth.



Alan White
Results posted 20 Aug 97

Recommended:
1. Imagine [John Lennon]
2=. Ramshackled [Alan White]
      Criminal Record [Rick Wakeman]

Avoid:
Ramshackled [Alan White]

Voting was low, particularly for the Avoid category. Ramshackled, White's only solo album, won in both categories! Criminal Record, already a recommendation for Rick Wakeman and Chris Squire, picks up a third win.

It may seem odd that Ramshackled can be both recommended and not recommended. Note that the two votes are distinct and separate. Also, the voting system used here, STV, is inclusive in that any significant fraction (just over one quarter to be exact) of votes for an album will ensure it gets recommended, even if others think very differently of the album. Thus, if opinion is very polarised about an album, it can easily win in both categories—especially, as here, if there is a limited selection from which to vote.

Imagine is readily available. Ramshackled has been released on CD in Europe and Japan, but not in North America. Criminal Record is out of print (see under Wakeman).


Patrick Moraz
Results posted 12 Nov 97

Recommended:
1. i [a.k.a. The Story of i, Patrick Moraz]
2=. Patrick Moraz [Patrick Moraz]
      Fish Out of Water [Chris Squire]

Avoid:
Timecode [Patrick Moraz]

Voting was moderate, but spanned a large number of albums. Fish out of Water has won two polls, here and for Squire, although it hardly featured in Bruford's. Timecode is a clear loser.

Fish Out of Water and i have both been released on CD in Europe and Japan, but not in North America. I am uncertain of the availability of Patrick Moraz.


Trevor Horn
Results posted 25 Feb 98

Recommended:
1. The Age of Plastic [a.k.a. Living in the Plastic Age, The Buggles]
2. Adventures in Modern Recording [The Buggles]
3. Welcome to the Pleasure Dome [Frankie Goes to Hollywood]

Voting for recommendations showed the two very clear winners from The Buggles, followed by a slew of other albums fighting it out for the remaining place. However, there were a mere six votes for the Avoid category, each for a different album, so I have decided to consider the category unfilled.

Adventures in Modern Recording has only been released on CD in Europe and Japan and has more recently been re-released in Japan with three bonus tracks. The Age of Plastic has been released generally on CD and, in Europe and Japan, in a remastered form with three more bonus tracks.

Horn has continued to work as a prolific producer on several releases subsequent to this poll, and as a performer notably on the Art of Noise's The Seduction of Claude Debussy and Reduction.


Geoff Downes
Results posted 21 Mar 98

Recommended:
1. Asia [Asia]
2=. The Light Program [Geoff Downes & the New Dance Orchestra]
      The Age of Plastic [a.k.a. Living in the Plastic Age, The Buggles]

Avoid:
Aria [Asia]

A clear winner in Asia, with Asia's Arena just unable to take a place from The Light Program and The Age of Plastic (also one of Horn's recommendations); and a clear loser in Aria. Note that Asia only narrowly missed being a recommendation for Howe too, yet Adventures in Modern Recording, another of Horn's recommendations, barely registered here.

A poll (11 votes) on alt.rock-n-roll.asia on Downes' work outside Asia recommended (1) Drama (Yes), (2) The Age of Plastic, (3) The Light Program. It recommended the one to avoid was The Work Tapes by Hughes/Downes.

All three recommended albums have been released on CD, although only Asia is readily available world-wide.

Since this poll, Downes has released The Work Tapes; his third solo album, The World Service; a new Asia album, Aura; and there has also been a number of archival Asia releases.


Trevor Rabin
Results posted early 1998

Recommended:
1. Can't Look Away
2. Wolf
3. Trevor Rabin

Avoid:
Trevor Rabin

A clear winner in Can't Look Away—more than half the votes were for this album alone—and a clear second place for Wolf. Trevor Rabin just scrapes in third, but also wins discommendation (see under White for an explanation for how this is possible). Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Welcome to the Pleasure Dome narrowly missed out; it is already one of Horn's recommendations, although it barely featured for Howe.

All three recommended albums have been released on CD.

Since this poll, there have been a number of film soundtrack releases involving Rabin, including Enemy of the State, Armageddon—The Score, and Deep Blue Sea.


Billy Sherwood
Results posted 25 Jul 98

Recommended:
1. Euphoria [World Trade]
2. Chris Squire Experiment 1992 live boot (available on volume XV of Yesoteric)
3. World Trade [World Trade]

Avoid:
Supper's Ready [Magna Carta Genesis tribute album]

Clear winners with Sherwood's well-known work trouncing umpteen session/production/engineering appearances. All three also include Squire: Euphoria also won in Squire's poll, with the live CSE material close behind. (Squire's role on World Trade—backing vocals on one song—had not been confirmed at the time of his poll.) The Avoid vote was more even, although all the albums featuring were tribute albums strangely. Voting, however, was very low.

Euphoria and World Trade were both released on CD, but both are now out of print. The Chris Squire Experiment live material has been around tape trading circles for a while and is included on volume XV of Yesoteric.

Sherwood's first solo album, The Big Peace, has since been released, as has Conspiracy, with Chris Squire, which covers some of the same material performed live by the Chris Squire Experiment and on Euphoria.


Igor Khoroshev

I have yet to hold the poll for Khoroshev's work outside Yes, although the choices available are somewhat limited. His first solo album, Piano Works, seems a likely winner, followed by the ELP tribute album Encores, Legends & Paradox and his work for Cakewalk.


Tony Levin
Poll took place late 1999

Recommended:
1. Discipline [King Crimson]
2. Peter Gabriel III [Peter Gabriel]
3. Us [Peter Gabriel]

Avoid:
1. Requiem for the Americas [Jonathan Elias/various artists]
2. Liquid Tension Experiment [Liquid Tension Experiment]

Discipline, Peter Gabriel III and Us are all widely available on CD. Details and discussion here.

Asked in an interview what his own favourite project has been, Levin answered that: "I have no favorites. Typical of many musicians, I focus very much on what I'm doing in the present - so my favorite is always the one I'm doing."



John Wetton

I'm planning to hold a poll on Wetton's work to complement the previous polls on Yes members. Although never a member of Yes, Wetton does stand out for having worked with members of Yes so often: most famously with Bruford in King Crimson and Downes and Howe in Asia, but also with Banks, Wakeman, Rabin, White and Horn.

Asked in an interview of what albums he is most proud, Wetton answered: Red (King Crimson), UK (UK), Danger Money (UK), Asia (Asia), Battle Lines (John Wetton), Arkangel (John Wetton).



If you want to explore these rankings in a wider context, have a look at the Gnosis project, an ambitious set of ratings by experienced fans for a wide range of progressive rock albums. A number of the albums mentioned above are included, although the site is still young and many of the more obscure Yes-related projects are not yet covered. A summary of the Gnosis ratings as they apply to Yes-related albums is available here.

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Any comments, please e-mail Henry Potts.