5 September 2009, gsparaco @ 4:27 pm
Master Of Dream (Highland HL343/344)
Disc 1 (76:05) Union, Arista promo CD issued: Would Have Waited Forever, Shock (Shock To The System), Masquerade, Must Be Love (Without Hope You Cannot Start The Day), Lift Me Up, Dangerous, Angler Wat (Angkor Wat), Silent Talking, Let Go (The More We Live – Let Go), Holding On, Bill / Tony Intro (Evensong), Take The Water (Take The Water To The Mountain). ABWH demos: She Walks Away #1 (Instrumental), She Walks Away #2 (vocals), She Walks Away #3 (Instrumental), She Walks Away #4 (Instrumental)
Disc 2 (70:30): Dangerous #1 (Instrumental), Dangerous #2 (Instrumental), Must Be Love (Without Hope You Cannot Start The Day), Shot In The Dark #1, Shot In The Dark #2 (Instrumental), Give And Take #1, Give And Take #2. YesWest demo: Say Goodbye, Lift Me Up, The More We Live – Let Go. Saving My Heart (edit version). Keys To Ascension demos: Be The One (promo only version ’96), That That Is (promo only version ’96), The One (“Keys To Ascension” demo take), All In All (“Keys To Ascension” demo take). Owner of a Lonely Heart (’98 remake version)
For Yes, the period between 1990 to 1996 (the time span of this collection) is the most rocky, fluctuating yet ultimately fructuous time in the band’s history. The decade began with, in essence, two bands called yes, a gigantic Union, the restoration of the Trevor Rabin 80s and the restoration of the 70′s “classic” line-up. Master Of Dream is a curious collection of very rare documents from this period of the band’s history giving a good aural picture of the time.
Unionwas release by Arista on April 30th, 1991 with fourteen tracks for the US version and with fifteen on the European, with the following sequence:
Before the finished album was released, a preview was released two months earlier on February 28th with only twelve tracks and a different mix. Missing are “Saving My Heart,” “Miracle Of Life” and “Give & Take.” “Evensong,” the Bruford / Levin piece, lacks a title and the mix on the remaining songs are much different. They are much closer to ABWH’s aesthetic with a more prominent role for the rhythm section. “I Would Have Waited Forever,” is longer than the version that appears on Union and “Shock To The System” is shorter. “Without Hope You Cannot Start the Day” is listed under its promo title “Must Be Love” and is a different mix with with more bass, guitar, and Chris Squire vocals at the beginning and substantial development including guitar solo and multi-round vocal at the end.
“Life Me Up” differs with Rabin on vocals, “Ankor Wat” is purely instrumental and “Silent Talking” had no vocals in the intro and an extended closing section before a final chorus with heavier percussion. The promo version of “The More We Live – Let Go” had richer vocal harmonies and guitar texures and “Holding On” lacks the swooping vocals at the beginning, goes straight into the chorus before second verse, replaces the “Stop that reasoning” section with new vocal material and fades out almost a minute early. “Take the Water to the Mountain” has an added guitar solo, another chorus and other variations. The Arista mix is very rare, since it was only released as a promo, and was booted in 1994 on The Perfect Union (Blue Moon Records BMCD 16/17). Highland is in similar excellent sound quality.
The rest of disc one has four versions of an unreleased song called “She Walks Away.” It isn’t clear if this is a demo for the first ABWH album or if it is a demo from the sessions for the never completed second ABWH album Dialogue. From the instrumentation it sounds like this session was recorded by Anderson, Wakeman and later Howe. The drums sound mechanical enough to suggest it to be a drum machine. The first two tracks of “She Walks Away” are in good mono. The first is an instrumental and the second contains vocals, Anderson singing: “she walks away from love / she walks in darkness / she walks away from love, she walks alone / in this refugee world…”
The third and fourth run throughs of “She Walks Away” are in glorious stereo and both are purely instrumental. Steve Howe is prominent in the mix in the third but is absent in the fourth, but Wakeman is prominent in both. It sounds as if he’s trying to decide, comparing the two, what kind of keyboard arrangement sounds better.
The first seven tracks on disc two continue with ABWH demos from 1990. There are two instrumental runthroughs of what would be later recorded as “Dangerous.” “Must Be Love” (aka “It Must Be Love”) is an early version of what turned into “Without Love You Cannot Start The Day” on Union. The sound quality is good but loud and there is significant distortion when the drums kick in.
“Shot In The Dark” is an unreleased song. The first version on the disc is really strange. It sounds as if Anderson took a cheap tape recorder, held it up to his stereo while playing the ABWH demos and sang along with it for a little bit, working out the lyrics. You can even hear him (or someone anyway) physically press the “play” button at the beginning. There’s something that sounds like a dog whining in the background at one point. The sound quality is really awful, and the recording cuts off in mid-sentence. The second “Shot In The Dark” is a much better sounding instrumental, but is still a bit muffled and hissy. The ABWH demos end with two runthroughs of “Give & Take,” a song that would appear only on the European version of the disc.
The following three songs are YesWest demos from before the Union sessions. It is fascinating hearing these three tracks as a demonstration of what the American Yes were doing while Anderson was working on the ABWH project and when his role in the band was in doubt. Billy Sherwood was brought in as a possible successor to Anderson on vocals. Even though a Yes with Sherwood on vocals never existed, he remained working with both Squire and Yes for the next decade. “Say Goodbye” is a Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood song which was never recorded for any Yes project. It was re-recorded and released by Sherwood’s band World Trade for their second album Euphoria (Magna Carta Records, 1995). The sound quality is very good but is cut at the beginning and end. “Lift Me Up” is the same song as appears on Union but with a heavier Trevor Rabin influence. He sings lead vocals and there is more of his squealing 80s style guitar histrionics. “The More We Live – Let Go” is a similar arrangement as appears on Union except Squire and Sherwood share vocals. Finally, “Saving My Heart” is the single edit of the great Trevor Rabin song from Union. Its omission from the Arista mix is curious. The single isn’t too much different from the album version.
The next three songs date from the mid-nineties reformation of the “classic” line up after the Rabin Yes Talk tour wound down. “Be The One” and “That, That Is” were the first two studio songs to emerge from this project in 1996 and the first two tracks are the single promotional edits. “Be The One,” which clocks in at 9:50 on the album, here is edited down to 3:54 focusing upon the opening themes.
“That, That Is,” which is 19:14 on the album, is edited to 3:19 focusing upon the middle, mid-tempo section. It is an interesting decision to focus upon this section of the song. The melody is catchy, but here is no hint of the ultra cool Chris Squire riff that dominates most of the epic’s duration.
These are followed by two demos of the same tracks. “The One” is the opening section of “Be The One” and “All In All” contains a bit more material from the same section of the “That, That Is” promo edit but are about double the length. They sound muffled compared to the previous two tracks but are still in nice sound quality. The final track on the disc is a true curiosity. It is Jon Anderson’s remix of “Owner Of A Lonely Heart (Jeronimo Road remake)” which appears on the and out of print Yes, Friends and Relatives (1998 Purple Pyramid CLP 0337-2). Jeronimo Road is Adam Wakeman’s band and they turn the 1983 Yes hit into a techno number with heavy metal guitars carrying the melody. Master Of Dream is a great collection of rarities and the type of Yes compilation release that really isn’t made anymore. For those with a passing interest in latter day Yes, it is a great release to have.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Yes - Master Of Dream (Highland HL343/344),