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Thread: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

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    socket pup! pat 2's Avatar
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    Disco How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    How would you rank the Paris session songs, as a set and as they exist today, among Yes albums?

    Personally, I agree with what I think is the consensus—they sound pretty bad. I also think that if members of the band thought the ideas behind the songs were good, we’d’ve seen more of them on future albums (they’ve had 38 or 39 years to use them), on tours, or even played by tribute bands.

    On on the other hand, there are some Yes albums that are hated so much that their revilers are at a loss for creative comparisons. For example, maybe you hate Talk so much you’d claim it’s worse than the Paris sessions (at least they didn’t have Rabin, right?)? Or you think Heaven and Earth is so bad that it makes puts the Paris sessions up there with Abbey Road? (I’m in that camp.)





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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    In the bottom 25% the Paris Sessions would fall.

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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Heaven and Earth has at least mostly complete songs, and there are a few good ones on that album. Everything from the Paris Sessions is garbage (some of the stuff obviously improved when finished, like what eventually became Run Through the Light).

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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    I think they made the right judgement call to abandon the material. I do like The Golden Age, In The Tower and the slow outro to Tango that was edited out of the version on In A Word Yes. Tango itself I think is a bad track, it's like Roy Thomas Baker was trying to turn Yes into Queen. Friend of a Friend (To Let You Know) is really bad. Run Through the Light was a solid re-imagining of a weak track. I prefer Jon's guitar and rhythm box demo version of Flower Child (Never Done Before) to the '79 Yes version and the Song of Seven version of Everybody Loves You to the '79 Yes version.

    Overall, I think the late 70's outtakes on the Rhino Tormato reissue is a much better batch of songs. I really like the '78 Yes version of Some Are Born musically but the vocals needed some work. I also really like Countryside but it could stand maybe having a bit of Rick on piano and You Can Be Saved is great but would have been better with some pedal steel from Steve.
    Last edited by Faceintheplace; 05-12-2018 at 10:30 PM.
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    *1/2
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    Polishing the mirror Enlighten's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    There’s a bit in the middle of The Golden Age that has something in it that is Yes through and through, the rest is mostly tripe but I’d still take it over Heaven and Earth.

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    SR Mega Yesfan Mr. Holland's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by JMKUSA View Post
    Heaven and Earth has at least mostly complete songs, and there are a few good ones on that album. Everything from the Paris Sessions is garbage (some of the stuff obviously improved when finished, like what eventually became Run Through the Light).
    That pretty much sums it up for me. With the Paris sessions Yes forgot, or at least a part of Yes forgot, they were a rock band, prog rock for sure, but the rock is not be found in the Paris sessions stuff. Drama hughly corrected that mistake and was the right album at the right time. Now some might argue that Yes also forgot they were a rock band on H&E and to a large degree I agree, although I still like some of the songs on it, but hopefully that will be corrected on the next album.
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    I would say that it appeared like it would have headed toward the bottom segment of a ranking of Yes albums. As talented as the 5 guys involved were, and as great as song of the music they'd made together earlier in the decade had been, I think Tormato was a clear indication that something was wrong. The chemistry was suddenly off, and it seemed like the great ideas that could be created by this particular exact combination of guys *together* had already been done.

    If one thinks about it, these exact five guys in that precise lineup never really did anything else together in an identical lineup that was all that great. Going for the One was sort of their last hurrah as a fivesome in terms of really doing something that as an entire album could be rated very good to excellent. Keys to Ascension was a reunion of that lineup and again was not that good by Yes standards. I thought Union was strong, but did these five guys ever all appear together by themselves one any of the same tracks there? ABWH was only 3 of the 5 of them.
    ,
    These guys had plenty of great music left to make, inside and/or outside of Yes, but in different lineup combinations. Drama, 90125, and Big Generator were great, as were Asia, Alpha, and Astra, just looking at some of the next decade, but all involved a different chemistry and combination of talent.

    I always say a bad Yes album is better than a good album by a lot of other bands, and that's true. By that standard, the Paris Sessions would have been good, but not relative to what Yes had done to that date or was going to do in the future. It'd have sort of been flipped in there in that bottom quarter of Yes albums with Tormato, Keys to Ascension, and Heaven and Earth. Better made than unmade, some good songs, but certainly not what on its owb would mark Yes as the great band that it was and is. And I really say better made than unmade in the sense that it would have just been an okay album to have to listen to occasionally- but if it actually happening would have prevented the much better Drama from getting made, then we're probably kind of lucky it was torpedoed. In a way, Drama, 90125, Big Generator, and the entire band Asia and its catalog of like 15 albums may have hinged on the Paris Sessions not producing an album. Had it produced an album, Anderson and Wakeman might not have walked out, so no Drama, and without Drama, Steve Howe and Geoff Downes may not meet and form Asia, and Trevor Horn doesn't feel guilty about the reaction to Drama and the band's temporary breakup, so he may not have produced 90125, and who knows if Rabin would have hooked up with Squire and White, who may have been working with Steve still in some way, shape, or form.

    So, maybe it was for the best. Some of the demos of course came out anyway as extras to album re-releases, and I like 2 or 3 of them, while others leave me scratching my head a bit.

    As others noted, it didn't seem to rock. It sounded a bit like Heaven and Earth, actually. The commonality between those two albums is Roy Thomas Baker, who I think at this point its very obvious does not mesh well with Yes. The next album for Yes after the Paris Session non-album was the harder rocking slicker faster tempo Drama for some participants, and the harder rocking slicker faster tempo 90125 for other participants. If Yes can put something like either Drama or 90125 out to follow up Heaven and Earth, I'll be thrilled. Billy Sherwood has already gotten the band to play songs faster in concert, Topographic Drama is worlds better than the two Like It Is live albums, so maybe that will carry over to some of the studio work. Sherwood and Schellen could really rock out, and Howe could look for his Drama/"Heat of the Moment" mode, etc..

    Sherwood and Schellen may be the shakeup that yields not just good results from them, but better results from everyone carrying over. Different combination, different chemistry, just like Tormato or Paris to Drama, or Yes on stage in like 2013-2015 to the late 2016 and early 2017 shows. That those shows featured Drama is an interesting coincidence.

    Its not saying that anyone in either era who joined are better than those who's positions they took over, its just that different ingredients yield a different soup, and sometimes some new spices liven up dinner. They can even mix with existing ingredients and make them better by accenting and bringing out different elements of their taste.

    I'm not discounting some of the unused stuff intended for Heaven and Earth from being good either- maybe some cuts that were better than a lot of what was on there got left off for whatever reason- too proggy, rocking too hard, etc., that are actually things the band may want for a followup.

    Similarly, some stuff from the late 70s was reused and reconfigured for Drama to good effect.
    Last edited by downbyariver; 05-13-2018 at 01:18 PM.
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    I think it is a bit unfair to judge the material in demo form. However, I was not particularly impressed by the raw forms. With a little work, additions, subtraction.. there are four decent songs buried in there.
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by SunshipVoyager View Post
    I think it is a bit unfair to judge the material in demo form. However, I was not particularly impressed by the raw forms. With a little work, additions, subtraction.. there are four decent songs buried in there.
    Demo versions are never very impressive to me. Of all the demos i’ve ever heard maybe 5% are as good as the finished versions and maybe 1% better...

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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    There's a reason this material never got beyond the demo stage. It's because the people making it didn't think it was good enough. I'm OK with that, and I don't need to have it on an album. I listen to this kind of 'bonus' material once, through gritted ears, and then never again.

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    Insane Yesfan ragtime's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Holland View Post
    That pretty much sums it up for me. With the Paris sessions Yes forgot, or at least a part of Yes forgot, they were a rock band, prog rock for sure, but the rock is not be found in the Paris sessions stuff. Drama hughly corrected that mistake and was the right album at the right time. Now some might argue that Yes also forgot they were a rock band on H&E and to a large degree I agree, although I still like some of the songs on it, but hopefully that will be corrected on the next album.
    Of course, Yes never said they were "a progressive rock band" or even a "rock band". They are just a band that plays whatever music they choose to play at any given time. They have historically been part of the rock/pop/progressive scene and typically use amplified instruments with music that hinges on a rock rhythm section, and they will doubtless stay within that field of music making for whatever is left of their career. But nothing except fans expectations says that they have to be a hard hitting rock band. That said, I think the Paris sessions do reveal a marked lack of energy and creative focus at that time. Heaven and Earth is generally a somewhat softer and simpler outing from an ageing group than previous offerings, but it is better than the Paris sessions IMO. I would like to hear Steve rip it up again on electric and Alan pound those skins, if he is able. However, they will doubtless do what they feel comes naturally at this stage of their lives and careers. "Yes" is whatever the musicians make of it at any time.
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don the Cap View Post
    There's a reason this material never got beyond the demo stage. It's because the people making it didn't think it was good enough. I'm OK with that, and I don't need to have it on an album. I listen to this kind of 'bonus' material once, through gritted ears, and then never again.
    It's a shame they didn't apply the same quality control to H&E.

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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by The View Post
    It's a shame they didn't apply the same quality control to H&E.
    Let’s hope they do on the next albums, both parties have implied they do.

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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    What Don said.

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    socket pup! pat 2's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by Don the Cap View Post
    There's a reason this material never got beyond the demo stage. It's because the people making it didn't think it was good enough. I'm OK with that, and I don't need to have it on an album. I listen to this kind of 'bonus' material once, through gritted ears, and then never again.
    Quote Originally Posted by The View Post
    It's a shame they didn't apply the same quality control to H&E.
    True enough, although we did get some nice Dean artwork.

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    SR Mega Yesfan Mr. Holland's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by ragtime View Post
    Of course, Yes never said they were "a progressive rock band" or even a "rock band". They are just a band that plays whatever music they choose to play at any given time. They have historically been part of the rock/pop/progressive scene and typically use amplified instruments with music that hinges on a rock rhythm section, and they will doubtless stay within that field of music making for whatever is left of their career. But nothing except fans expectations says that they have to be a hard hitting rock band. That said, I think the Paris sessions do reveal a marked lack of energy and creative focus at that time. Heaven and Earth is generally a somewhat softer and simpler outing from an ageing group than previous offerings, but it is better than the Paris sessions IMO. I would like to hear Steve rip it up again on electric and Alan pound those skins, if he is able. However, they will doubtless do what they feel comes naturally at this stage of their lives and careers. "Yes" is whatever the musicians make of it at any time.
    Well....if you put it that way....
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    New music from both YES's please sherwoodfish1's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    An incomplete selection of demo music that has not been completly put thorught the YES mincer cannot be evaluated .
    As such it is unfair to compare it to any other finished YES album esp H & E

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    Yes Old Fart Chris2210's Avatar
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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    iirc one of the complaints made by the other band members after the split with Anderson [and Wakeman] was that 'Jon was trying to use the band to further his solo material.

    The material from the Paris sessions seems to indicate this even more so than Tormato material - where I think there is a clear distinction between some tracks which sound like Jon solo efforts [I'm thinking specifically Circus of Heaven and Future Times/Rejoice] and material which is by other members of the band or genuine group efforts. That core songwriting partnership of Anderson/Howe does seem to have disintegrated to a large extent and I think the various offshoots illustrated how their musical paths were diverging [the personal relationships reportedly took a dive too of course].

    So essentially I think what happened was almost inevitable.

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    Re: How would the Paris Sessions rate as an album?

    Quote Originally Posted by Enlighten View Post
    There’s a bit in the middle of The Golden Age that has something in it that is Yes through and through, the rest is mostly tripe but I’d still take it over Heaven and Earth.
    Unsurprisingly, the same goes for me.
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