Wonderous Stories-the Best of Import
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2014 two CD collection from the Prog Rock icons. Yes are one of Progressive Rock's greatest and most enduring bands. This collection is the ideal Yes primer, taking a panoramic sweep from their early days in the late 1960s, through such classics as the rapturous 'And You And I' and on into the late seventies and early eighties, when the band scored global hit singles with classics such as 'Wonderous Stories', 'Going For The One' and 'Owner of A Lonely Heart'. This collection also shows the band at their most innovative and inventive best, with epics such as 'Siberian Khatru' and 'Close To The Edge' featured in their entirety.
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I really like the way this set is laid out song wise and it has a nice flow. It kind of reminds me of an expanded version of the Classic Yes album. I've become bored with best of/collection albums always being organized by chronology over the last 15 years for various bands and artists. I'd much prefer a collection album have it's own flow and an identity of it's own. It makes me think that someone actually put some thought into it. This album doesn't shy away from some of the longer songs and gives a pretty good overview of the band's output during this time frame. This is a great inexpensive collection for fans as well as a great introduction for people new to the band.
I liked the overall package, which (inexplicably) contains some of the cover paintings from the live Yessongs album (1973) and comes with a cover for the CD case. There are also some liner notes that, while not breaking any new ground, will provide the new fan with a nice overview of the group. I thought that the track selection was pretty good, even though the emphasis on CD 1 is on three albums released during the 1971-1972 timeframe (The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close to the Edge). In fact, Close to the Edge is featured in its entirety, which is pretty cool - most people regard it as their best album. One of my favorite tracks from Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973) made it on CD 2 in its entirety - this was another plus. Generally, I prefer CD 2 because of the wider range in tracks/albums. I also thought that the time period covered was good too (1970-1983). This was the time during which Yes made their biggest cultural impact.
I never liked albums such as the not-so-great experiment with an orchestra on Time and a Word (1970) or the arena rock of 90125 (1983) so those selections did not do much for me. I also did not like the fact that Relayer (1974) is only represented by a single edit (Soon) and that the 1969 debut and Tormato (1978) were ignored. An (ostensibly) representative overview for the new fan should try to include something from every album. I also did not like how the sound quality varies from track to track - some tracks are "hotter" than others so you will have to adjust the volume between tracks. The sound quality is not bad overall.
All in all, this is not a bad compilation and may be the best Yes compilation out there for the fan (old and new alike). You also can not beat the low cost of this set - you definitely get a lot of tunes for your money.
Wonderous Stories is just a small taste of this bands extensive repertoire. But it's a good taste.