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Am I Right? #1 (Banks era)

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    Am I Right? #1 (Banks era)

    Long and short of it: the original Yes lineup was actually a fantastic group, not just a launchpad or footnote. The Yes Album blew its predecessors away, but those first two albums are very good, and a third would’ve been too. They didn’t can Peter Banks because he was a poor guitarist.

    Am I right?

    pq

    #2
    No.
    Sometimes the lights all shining on me, other times I can barely see.
    Lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it’s been.

    Comment


      #3
      Alternative histories are always fun, but my guess is, a third album would have consigned the band to a footnote in rock history, and the band would have split, and likely gone on to different things. Yes, they're pleasant enough, but not different enough to build a career on. I think Peter Banks was a fine guitarist, but at that point wasn't enough of a writer, and didn't have a wide enough vocabulary of playing styles and sound, and it was the writing, the original ideas, they needed the most. The first two albums feature a handful of cover songs, a handful of songs co-written with Foster and Bailey, and then about half new-ish songs, which are fine as songs, but don't have the cohesive identity or theme to really make the band stand out from other c. 1969/70 bands.

      Comment


        #4
        A third album from the original Yes would have been cool - parts of The Yes Album like A Venture and Disillusion are very much in the mode of the first era Yes - but no more than three albums from them if they were to grow into what they became. They needed to go beyond doing two cover songs and the occasional leftover from the Syn/Mabel Greer's Toyshop era per album. That format had served its use and they needed to be ready to progress towards the epic track.

        I wouldn't say Banks was fired for being a poor guitarist. I gather it was possibly partly because his angry personality may have rubbed the others the wrong way and because Steve Howe was a similar guitarist that would fit the band but also had better songwriting chops. But Banks' guitar playing is never in question for me - he was their Steve Howe before Steve Howe. He just didn't do much in terms of writing/singing during his tenure, so I suppose the others felt they needed someone else more in tune with what Yes were after.

        Comment


          #5
          ^Yes—I’ve always thought of “A Venture” and “Astral Traveler” as having been switched at birth.


          PS I’m no Howe hater… I rank him in the proverbial Holy Trinity

          Comment


            #6
            Peter was certainly a good guitarist, he just wasn't what they wanted in the future, which may have been equal parts personality and ability. But otherwise, it's all a matter of opinion so there is no "right" or "wrong."
            Rabin-esque
            my labor of love (and obsessive research)
            rabinesque.blogspot.com

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by luna65 View Post
              Peter was certainly a good guitarist, he just wasn't what they wanted in the future, which may have been equal parts personality and ability. But otherwise, it's all a matter of opinion so there is no "right" or "wrong."
              Good point… and I must say that it reminds me of this Flansburg-Linnell observation:

              XTC versus Adam Ant
              Content versus form
              Fighting for their place in rock and roll
              There is no right or wrong​

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                [Banks] just didn't do much in terms of writing/singing during his tenure
                Yeah, that singing is maybe overlooked, too: while Howe is, uh, well, not what I'm looking for in a *lead* vocalist, what he and Squire were able to do to support Anderson was pretty damned great. So again, a little more colour from one band member in the sonic landscape available.

                And of course, none of this is to take from where Banks went or what he became: heck, he's got more writing credits on Flash's first album than in his entire time in Yes, so it's not that he couldn't write, it's that he grew into it a little later (as far as we can tell from the official album credits).

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by patrickq View Post

                  Good point… and I must say that it reminds me of this Flansburg-Linnell observation:

                  XTC versus Adam Ant
                  Content versus form
                  Fighting for their place in rock and roll
                  There is no right or wrong​
                  Adam Ant all the way. Antmusic forever! Some of his stuff equals that of Roxy Music for sure. A clever cat he was. Pretty original.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    The first two studio albums never really captured what the first line-up of Yes was doing live, with Banks in particular keen on long improvised sections. I think that's the question, could a third album with that line-up capture what they were doing live better?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The Banks/Bruford duet on I See You is one of my favorite moments from the original Yes. I assume the long Banks improvs live back them stem from live versions of this track. A third Banks Yes album would possibly be Flash meets the Yes Album. But Yes were keen on tightening up the arrangements and with less free-form playing. 'Musical differences' I guess would be the easy description for it.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        i think the first 2 albums are definitely of similar quality, if not higher, than the 2 that followed. i am a big fan of jazz though, and there is a jazz rock sound at times on those records. they're all great albums, so don't get me wrong. just i enjoy the first 2 more. there's a different energy to them that has just as much merit in my mind. when compared with, say, Fragile - they have a lot more meat to them, with Fragile feeling like it only has a few 'actual songs' accompanied by interludes, and I prefer the soulful jazzy energy of the first 2 albums to the more 'classic rock' feel of TYA. I discovered Yes in the 2010s so this comes from a totally retrospective view, and I wasn't guided into them with any leanings towards any particular eras, members or albums at the start of my exploration of them.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I think Peter Banks was a very good guitar player, and a great performer. He was also a very capable singer, he sang on the first two records, as well as on stage with Yes, and was certainly not an inferior singer to his replacement. I agree with the sentiment expressed above that Banks did a great job of playing rock guitar but also he had a great feel for jazz. I also am a big fan of the Yes version of I See You, and it seemed that Banks and Bruford must have enjoyed recording and performing that piece a great deal. That's one particular Banks tune which I always thought Steve Howe would do justice, I always hoped Yes might perform that song during the Howe years. Howe seemed to be very comfortable playing the few Banks tunes he has performed over the years - much more so than any of the Rabin songs.
                          I always loved that hint of jazz in the early days of Yes. And Tony Kaye had a bit of the blues in him. I loved what people like Wakeman, Rabin and others brought into the mix years later, through them Yes gained a great deal, but they lost a link to the jazz and blues influences of the early Yes.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by True View Post
                            I think Peter Banks was a very good guitar player, and a great performer. He was also a very capable singer, he sang on the first two records, as well as on stage with Yes, and was certainly not an inferior singer to his replacement. I agree with the sentiment expressed above that Banks did a great job of playing rock guitar but also he had a great feel for jazz. I also am a big fan of the Yes version of I See You, and it seemed that Banks and Bruford must have enjoyed recording and performing that piece a great deal. That's one particular Banks tune which I always thought Steve Howe would do justice, I always hoped Yes might perform that song during the Howe years. Howe seemed to be very comfortable playing the few Banks tunes he has performed over the years - much more so than any of the Rabin songs.
                            I always loved that hint of jazz in the early days of Yes. And Tony Kaye had a bit of the blues in him. I loved what people like Wakeman, Rabin and others brought into the mix years later, through them Yes gained a great deal, but they lost a link to the jazz and blues influences of the early Yes.
                            Agreed. Checkout Steve playin' NON NEN this year. Groovy banger. Current band is on fire!! 🙂

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
                              The Banks/Bruford duet on I See You is one of my favorite moments from the original Yes. I assume the long Banks improvs live back them stem from live versions of this track. A third Banks Yes album would possibly be Flash meets the Yes Album. But Yes were keen on tightening up the arrangements and with less free-form playing. 'Musical differences' I guess would be the easy description for it.
                              I had no idea I See You is Peter and Bill singing! Wow...

                              Comment

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