Steve Howe
The Steve Howe Album


4.0
excellent

Review

by e210013 USER (126 Reviews)
September 24th, 2018 | 22 replies


Release Date: 1979 | Tracklist

Review Summary: His second solo effort is much better than his solo debut. This is a very well balanced and solid album with many genres of music.)

“The Steve Howe Album” is the second solo studio album of Steve Howe, and was released in 1979. The line up on the album is Steve Howe, Claire Hamill, Patrick Moraz, Ronnie Leahy, Graham Preskett, Alan White, Clive Bunker and Bill Bruford.


As happened with “Beginnings”, Howe invited Yes’ members Alan White and Patrick Moraz and the ex-Yes’ member Bill Bruford to participate on the album. Beyond them, he also invited Jethro Tull’s drummer Clive Bunker, the female singer Claire Hamill, the keyboardist Ronnie Leahy, the violinist Graham Preskett, an orchestra and a string ensemble.

“The Steve Howe Album” has ten tracks and all songs were written by Steve Howe except “The Continental” written by Conrad and Magidson and “Concerto In D (Second Movement)” written by the classical composer Antonio Vivaldi.

Comparing “The Steve Howe Album” with “Beginnings”, we can say Howe didn’t need to do anything else than keep his mouth shut to make his second solo album much better than “Beginnings”. With few exceptions like the last minute of “All’s A Chord” and “Look Over Your Shoulder”, sung by Claire Hamill, the album is an instrumental work. This means that luckily you can enjoy Howe’s unique and distinctive guitar playing without getting annoyed by his weak vocals.

It’s commonly accepted by fans and critics that Steve Howe’s second solo effort is his most essential recording. “The Steve Howe Album” contains many of Howe’s strongest and most original compositions. Musically, many of the tracks on the album have a rural and cheerful feel to them. Howe places himself in a country/bluegrass setting on most of the compositions. In short, we can say that “The Steve Howe Album” is a culmination of everything Howe represents, every genre of music he loves so dearly, exquisitely played and arranged in a very pleasant, beautiful and balanced way.

Steve Howe’s second solo album was recorded around the time that Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman left Yes. This Steve Howe’s solo album will be of great interest to fans of Yes’ 70’s work since it reveals how much a part of their musical fabric Howe’s distinctive guitar work really was. The album has warmth that sits well even though these are shorter songs. Some are instrumentals and a few continue the country flat picking adventures started on “Clap” and which Howe has continued to explore ever since. Howe worked on assembling songs for this album, mostly with a prog rock leaning and each featuring a full band line up with himself on a myriad of guitars including electric and acoustic.

About the tracks, “Cactus Boogie”, “Diary of A Man Who Vanished” and “The Continental” are three songs with a rural and cheerful feel. These are three songs in a country style. Still, “The Continental”, which is a version of an original song dated from 1934 that appeared in the movie “The Gay Divorcee”, is a version more in the jazz style. These are the weakest tracks on the album. The same goes for the opening track “Pennants” but with an electric and much more rocking sound. Still, this is a very good and much better track than the other three tracks. “Meadow Rag” and “Surface Tension” are two quiet, short and moody pieces performed on acoustic guitar only. These are two excellent classical guitar pieces of music played in the unmistakable Howe’s style. These are two pieces in the same vein of “Clap” of “The Yes Album”, “Mood For A Day” of “Fragile” or “Ram” of “Beginnings”. Both represent some of the best moments on the album. “All’s A Chord” combines the style of those two tracks with more up tempo and powerful prog rock parts. It’s an emotional track with a beautiful guitar work. It’s the only song sung by Howe and surprisingly his voice isn’t unpleasant and is even emotional. “Look Over Your Shoulder” is a great and beautiful song composed in a classical style and with a great orchestration job. It’s the first great moment on the album. But the highlights are the two last tracks. First we have Howe’s own “Double Rondo” where his very emotional playing is backed up by a whole orchestra. This is an incredible great piece that takes the concept of symphonic rock to the extreme. Finally, we have a version of Vivaldi’s “Concerto in D, 2nd Movement”, beautiful and atmospheric stuff. It’s the great musical moment on the album.


Conclusion: “The Steve Howe Album” is considered, by many, the best Howe’s solo studio album. Sincerely, I don’t know if that it’s true because I only know “Beginnings”, “The Steve Howe Album” and “Natural Timbre”. The only thing I can say is that “The Steve Howe Album” is much better than his debut “Beginnings”. One of the most curious things about this album is its balance. This album is quite varied, and Howe shows himself as comfortable in many genres. It’s also notable that over half the album is instrumental, and thankfully, Howe almost doesn’t sings. It’s also true that some of the songs sound a bit dated today and especially I dislike the songs with a country style. However, the album has some great musical moments too. With this album, Howe proved that he was able to make great music outside of Yes.


Music was my first love.
John Miles (Rebel)



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user ratings (14)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
e210013
September 24th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the second album of Howe. After I've written on my review about the first one that despite his debut be a good album but that it should be a better album and that I was a bit disappointed with it, with his second, I say, that finally we a have a great album, the album that finally did justice to an artist like Howe.

I hope you can enjoy it as I.

Saros
September 24th 2018


328 Comments


If this is really better than the other one you reviewed I may have to try this one. Good review as always.

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e210013
September 24th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Saros.

Divaman
September 24th 2018


4495 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. I like this album too.

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e210013
September 24th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks, Diva.

Jethro42
September 24th 2018


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Cool e21, bro, will read your review later.



I need to listen to it couple more times before giving it a verdict. I think I like Beginnings and Steve Howe Album equally. I think on this one, he goes more often soloing than in Beginnings, in which it's more of a group effort's songs, but nothing here is in the quality of ''Mood For a Day'', ''The Clap'' or ''Turn Of The Century''. I particularly love ''Double Rondo'' and ''All's A Chord''.

I was to complain about ''Concerto In D'' because it was very similar to a Peter Sinfield's song called ''Song Of The Seagoat'' (1973), but according to your review, it's a Vivaldi piece (read my Edit below).

Here is the link;



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6M4IIMANko



Edit; In ''Song Of The Seagoat, Peter's vocals are almost the same of what Howe's guitar does in ''Concerto In D''. Wait; I own Peter Sinfield's album and he gives credit to Vivaldi for his album as well ;) It's a fantastic track actually. Vive Vivaldi!!!

sonictheplumber
September 24th 2018


10631 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

never crazy about this one

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Jethro42
September 24th 2018


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not a fan of the first two tracks, so for my next listen, I'll skip both.

e210013
September 24th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks for the info Jethro and for the link too. I didn't knew that. I'll check it tomorrow. And yes, Viva Vivaldi. Definitely he is one of my favourite classical composers of the Baroque era.

e210013
September 24th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ sonic

It's true it isn't a masterpiece, but it's better than his debut and is an album with some very good moments.

Jethro42
September 25th 2018


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i really don't know what album i prefer between Beginnings and this one. Beginnings has 'Australia', 'The Nature of the Sea', 'Lost Symphony', 'Will o' the Wisp' and 'Ram', these are all tracks I love very much despite the rather weak vocals. Songs are rocking and prog rocking. On the other hand, The Steve Howe Album is more a demonstration of his capacities than actual songs. I like some tracks and sections here and there, don't get me wrong, but I'd prefer if he developed more his performances into real songs instead of almost jamming all the time. We all know already that he excells in country, in folk, in jazz, in honky tonk and in classical, and that's why he's so skillful and attractive. But album desperately needs more prog, and more electric guitar.



'All's A Chord', 'Look Over Your Shoulders', 'Surface Tension', 'Double Rondo' and 'Concerto in D' (i already know that one like I told you, and it's fantastic) are the ones that are moving me the most, but they are not all perfect. I will listen to it couple more times before giving a rating.



Good job on the review, mate, and thanks for showing us that album. Howe is an important guitarist in Progland, but also worldwide.

TwigTW
September 25th 2018


3825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Comparing “The Steve Howe Album” with “Beginnings”, we can say Howe didn’t need to do anything else than keep his mouth shut to make his second solo album much better than “Beginnings”."



Lol, that is hilarious--and 100% true!

e210013
September 25th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Jethro

I can accept that both albums have some very good moments. But, I still continue thinking that the second is better than the first one, and not only due to the vocals.

By the way, maybe you are interested on one of the albums recommended by me, "Natural Timbre" of Howe. As its name indicates is an acoustic album almost all performed by Howe. If you like acoustic guitar albumsl, maybe you can be interested on it.

e210013
September 25th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, Twig. Fortunately, Howe saw the problem just in time.

Thanks, my friend.

TwigTW
September 25th 2018


3825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

My only complaint about this album--if you can even call it a complaint--is when I'm listening I hear the foundation for a great Yes album. I imagine something like Going For The One. I wish he made that instead--oh well.

Jethro42
September 25th 2018


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You wish Steve sounded more like he did for Yes, Twig? That's my case. ''All's A Chord'' is one of the greatest and it sounds a bit like a Yes demo. For me a big amount of the album sounds like - quality - improvisations for a large extent. No Yes leftovers to be found imo, compared to Beginnings where I think there are some; Beginnings sounds more like Yes, that's why I think so. Both albums are really different in their approach, and I like both equally for different reasons. if I'd give a 4, I'd have to upgrade Beginnings at a 4 as well. I dunno if i can.

Will check Natural Timbre, thanks e21, dude.

Jethro42
September 25th 2018


15969 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like how Steve flirts with classical for the last 3 tracks. Would be pleasant if we had still more of these.

e210013
September 26th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I can see what you both are saying. And maybe I can agree with you. But we must accept that Howe isn't Yes. Actually, no one is Yes. I think we can find may traces of Yes on all Yes' members but none of them, as a solo, sound like Yes, which isn't a bad thing, really. What I want to mean is that all those great artists have their one ideas and influences and Yes is the final product of all. This is the main reason why I'm doing this so extensive path around Yes. My intention is to show that all their members, those of the past and those of today, were all great artists on their own way and were abble to colaborate in so many projects with other great artists and had also an interesting solo career, different from Yes. I even dare to say that Yes is a unique band. It's one of the bands with most line up changes and where all their members were great musicians as a composers and performers, in studio and live. And one more thing. How many bands had during all its life musicians with the quality of a Anderson, Howe, Wakeman, Squire and Bruford, during its life and even at the same time. These guys are simply some of the best and most creative musicians on their respective areas. This is really an amazing thing, and I think a unique thing. No other band can claim that status.

"Natural Timbre" is an excellent album, many consider it the best Howe's solo album. However, it's an acoustic album, we can't find on it electric guitars, and is even more distant from the usual music of Yes or Asia. This is Howe even in a more different facet, moving by many different genres. Anyway, I think it's an excellent album if you like acoustic guitar works and of music performed in an emotional and relaxed way.

TwigTW
September 26th 2018


3825 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I think because I'm listening now (when I know there will never be another 5 star Yes album) I hear a missed opportunity for another classic. If I listened to The Steve Howe Album when it was released I wouldn't feel this way. That's not the album's problem; it's mine. I know that if Yes and its members didn't experiment and try different things we wouldn't have all their classic albums--but I can't stop from wishing for one more!



@Jethro: I know I whined about Howe's vocals, but I do like his first solo album. It's charming in spite of its flaws. I too might rate it the same as this one. I'll give them both a few more spins before deciding.

e210013
September 26th 2018


2612 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I see your point. I also miss of more masterpieces of Yes. But, the things are what they are. We always will love them for the great things they did in the past, and they did really some amazing things.



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