Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe
Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe


4.0
excellent

Review

by Divaman USER (157 Reviews)
October 26th, 2016 | 21 replies


Release Date: 1989 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This is the Yes album that time forgot, but is it a good album? Yes!

Even today, Yes is a relatively popular band. If you go to their Sputnik Music page, every Yes studio album has at least 175 ratings votes, and Close to the Edge, the highest-rated Yes album as of this writing, has over 1,900 ratings votes. Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe is the forgotten Yes album. Alone on its own page, currently with fewer than 20 ratings votes, it's the Yes album that time forgot.

That it is, in fact, a Yes album in all but official name is beyond dispute. Most Yes fans consider the classic Yes lineup to be Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Chris Squire on bass, and either Bill Bruford or Alan White on percussion. As the band and album name implies, Anderson, Howe, Wakeman and Bruford are all here, this time with virtuoso Tony Levin handling the bass duties. Plus, the cover art for the album comes from a pair of paintings by Roger Dean, who designed most of Yes's album covers in the '70s.

The only reason ABWH wasn't called a Yes album is that Squire is the one who actually owned the legal name to the band and his version of Yes was still in existence at the time, featuring himself, Alan White, keyboardist Tony Kaye and guitarist Trevor Rabin. Hence, the new band had to settle for calling itself Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, although they advertised each show on their supporting tour as "An Evening of Yes Music Plus."

Now, the question is, is ABWH a good Yes album? And the answer is definitely -- wait for it -- Yes! It's actually an excellent album, and one that any fan of the classic Yes sound would enjoy.

The biggest difference between this and previous Yes albums is that here, besides the rock infused with classical music sound that bands like Yes are famous for, several of the numbers feature more of a world music (Brazilian?) sound. Although all four of the former Yes members received writing credits, the songs here were all basically written by Anderson and Howe. However, for me at least, the sounds of Wakeman's keyboards and Bruford's drums seem to dominate most of the songs, while Howe's guitar work is more subtle and in the background.

Several tracks stand out here. The one that received the most FM radio airplay was the three-part suite "Brother of Mine". It features typically upbeat Jon Anderson lyrics ("Just hear your voice in all the songs of the earth/Nothing can come between us, you're a brother of mine"), and one of his best vocals. It goes from slow-to-mid-tempo in the first two parts of the song to a faster, more exciting pace for the concluding section.

"The Meeting" is a slow, beautiful song that features a simple but sincere vocal by Anderson. It also benefits from some of Wakeman's most exquisite piano work.

"Teakbois" seems to be one of those songs that Yes enthusiasts either love or hate. I'm solidly in the "love" camp. Although there are references throughout the lyrics to reggae artist Bobby Dread, the song actually mixes Jamaican, South American and Calypso influences for a sound that is unlike any previous Yes song. I've been unable to find any definition for the word "teakbois" -- it's probably a word that Anderson made up -- but whatever it is, the lyrics of the song assure us that "teakbois is everywhere." And judging by the happy, upbeat nature of the song, this is a good thing.

Probably the most imposing song on ABWH is the 9-minute-plus, 4-part opus, "Order of the Universe". It's also the most traditionally Yes song on the album, as the band returns to their progressive rock roots in a big way here. There's a grand dominating Wakeman synthesizer theme, filled in nicely by Howe's guitar and Bruford's percussion, that starts the song off, and which the band triumphantly returns to at the end. Sandwiched in between is one of Anderson's more raucous vocals, as he sings about some of the positive attributes of rock music, accompanied by some funky keyboard work. It's almost as if after the more mainstream pop direction of Yes's prior two albums 90125 and Big Generator, Anderson is screaming "Yes is back, bitches!" Except of course that he's too positive, too polite and too ... well, British! ... to ever say it that way.

In any event, with the release of Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, Yes was back as a progressive rock band. The album was successful enough to lead to a merging of the two estranged branches of Yes, which led to the successful Union Tour (and the much less successful Union album) that followed, and also led Yes back to their roots. It's a shame that for many, ABWH has become the forgotten Yes album. I'm hoping that Yes fans and progressive rock lovers who read this review will give it a fresh listen.



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user ratings (36)
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
e210013 (3.5)
This is a good release for prog rock in the 80's. But for an album with this caliber of artists, it ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
tcat84
October 26th 2016


1279 Comments


I will give this another go, but I was excited to find out about this album a while back and after listening I was pretty disappointed. And I think most of their albums are good to great from The Yes album all the way through to Drama (yes I also think Tormato is a bunch of good songs showered in cheese)

Divaman
October 26th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm surprised. I actually caught the concert when this album came out, and it was great. There's also a pretty good dvd of one of the shows from that tour, although the dvd must have been taped after Levin got sick and had to leave the tour.



(Btw, I agree about Tormato -- not their best, but not a bad album).

Digging: Bayside - Interrobang

e210013
October 26th 2016


2616 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm really very glad to see this album finally reviewed here. I myself have the same intention to do so, one of this days, as a great fan of the group.

You're right, this is a good album, but unfortunatelly a truly Yes' forgotten album. But perhaps I'm not so positive about it as you are. "Themes", "First Of Fire", "Brother Of Mine", "Birthright" and "Order Of The Universe" are all great tracks and the best. "The Meeting", "Quartet" and "Let's Pretend" are beautiful tracks but I can't see nothing special on them. "Teakbois" is an outsider track. It has nothing to do with the rest of the tracks. Anyway and overall, this is still a great working from them.

I really liked your review. Great working, man. Pos.



(I agree with "Tormato" too. It's far from being a great album, but it's not a bad album).

Titan
October 26th 2016


20017 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i do not own this album

TwigTW
October 26th 2016


3825 Comments


I just went to see "An Evening Of Yes Music Plus" with Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman (ARW) last week, and they played "The Meeting" from this album. They've lost Bruford and switched out Howe for Rabin, but they still have more of Yes than Yes does. (And, as much as I hate to say it, they sound better than Yes at this point too.) I wonder who owns the Yes name now that Chris Squire has passed . . . I didn't think much about this album when it was released, but I'm listening to it now and it sounds good. Like you said in the review, it is nice to hear Bruford and Wakeman dominating a Yes album.

Divaman
October 26th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks e. Like I said, "Teakbois" is one of those tracks people have different feelings about.



Titan, hope you get a chance to pick it up.



Good question, Twig. It is funny that we have the same situation again, with essentially two different versions of Yes currently on the road. Don't know what the legalities are. Supposed to be an ARW album out sometime early next year, so I'll be curious to hear it.



I DID check out the Anderson/Stolt album this year. It's OK, but kind of unfocused.

Titan
October 26th 2016


20017 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'I just went to see "An Evening Of Yes Music Plus" with Anderson, Rabin & Wakeman (ARW) last week, and they played "The Meeting" from this album. They've lost Bruford and switched out Howe for Rabin, but they still have more of Yes than Yes does. (And, as much as I hate to say it, they sound better than Yes at this point too.) I wonder who owns the Yes name now that Chris Squire has passed . . . I didn't think much about this album when it was released, but I'm listening to it now and it sounds good. Like you said in the review, it is nice to hear Bruford and Wakeman dominating a Yes album. '



2nd well articulated comment in as many minutes.....rock on twig

Titan
October 26th 2016


20017 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

enjoy a pos divaman

Divaman
October 26th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Titan.

Jethro42
October 26th 2016


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with e21 about the highlights of the album. Both ''Themes'' and ''Brother of Mine'' are my favorites, really. ''Order of the Universe'' has its moments as well. The feeling of the album is uplifting and happy. What's wrong with it would be the sometimes dated sound, especially for the keyboards. I don't enjoy much the electronic drum sounding...like if Bruford had programmed a beat machine. Also, the bass is too often barely audible. Despite it, there are enough interesting material to be at least a ''good'' album. I'm currently hesitating between a 3 or a 3.5...

Great review, Divaman.



Divaman
October 26th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Jethro. Btw, Tull is another of my all-time favorite bands.

Jethro42
October 26th 2016


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

That's cool dude. The band pursued an amazing career, They went through a dark period in the 80's (Under Wraps and Rock Island are particularly disposable), but they released their amazing and underrated (in sputnik) album called Roots to Branches (1995), which is in the vein of their classic stuff.

I just visited your favourite bands, and I see you have good taste in music. I could see you digging Mostly Autumn as well. If you haven't checked them yet, go chronogically.

Your list contains bands I don't really know. I'll have an eye on them. Cheers!

Divaman
October 26th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Jethro, I'll have to check Mostly Autumn out. I'll be posting a Jethro Tull list later tonight.

e210013
October 27th 2016


2616 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"What's wrong with it would be the sometimes dated sound, especially for the keyboards. I don't enjoy much the electronic drum sounding...like if Bruford had programmed a beat machine. Also, the bass is too often barely audible."

I completely agree with Jethro. This are other things that bother me on the album. It looks more like an album of Anderson & Friends than an album of Yes. It sounds more like a solo Anderson's album with a touch of Bruford and when Wakeman’s keyboards sound different, Howe’s presence is little noticed and despite the quality of Tony Levin, the absence of Chris Squire is very noticeable.



@Divaman

About Mostly Autumn, check their three debut albums first. They're all great, despite the high quality of many other things by them. You can see my ratings about their albums if you're interested. Cheers.

Divaman
October 27th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks e. Mostly Autumn looks like they're right up my alley.

Jethro42
October 27th 2016


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^Nice! I guessed so when I saw Pink Floyd, Blackmore Nights and Jethro Tull and stuff into your favorite bands (even if Mostly Autumn have their own sound when compared).

TheIntruder
October 27th 2016


437 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review man. I understand the concerns of e 21 but I really like the album. In a way this is a forgotten Yes album. Have a pos.





Divaman
October 28th 2016


4497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks much Intruder. I appreciate it.

tcat84
November 12th 2016


1279 Comments


Listened to this again and I found myself waiting for it to be over. While it's not a bad album, I wouldn't call it a lost yes golden era album. I'd say this doesn't touch anything from ST to Drama, but comes close to Tormato and TFTO for me.

Titan
April 12th 2017


20017 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'm definitely not loving this.....the Keystudio recordings destroy this in every way in my opinion.....my 3 is generous



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