Featured Album – Time and a Word – Yes

Apologies for overdosing you on posts but I’ve got a lot of great stuff to get to this month. Some new tunes (promise) in a couple of days. But I love this album so much I can’t hold back on it any more …

Prog-rock is one of those genres that I was quite a bit into once upon a time. I still listen it occasionally and I’d say my three favorites of that genre are Pink Floyd, Emerson Lake and Palmer. And Yes.

I think the first album I heard by these guys was The Yes Album. Great as that album was, one day I heard a song from Time and a Word on the radio and said, Damn that’s good.

Released in 1970, Time and a Word was a product of the usual sturm und drang that seems to surround this band. Singer Jon Anderson wanted to go more orchestral; guitarist Peter Banks fought him (and the band) every step of the way.

I’m glad Anderson and company won out. I love the orchestral stuff on this album. Sure, some people thought it was pompous, overblown and all that. But you know what? It can’t all be Chuck Berry. I think that this album is actually kinda funky in its own way.

The song “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed,” kicks things off with a visceral bang. That orchestral score you hear is lifted straight from the soundtrack of the epic western movie, Big Country.

The song itself, believe it or not, is by folk singer Richie Havens, he of Woodstock fame. How the hell they got to this version I’ll never know. If Chris Squire’s bass on this isn’t the best thing you’ve heard this week, clue me in to what you’ve been listening to:

Spotify link

In case you know what the late Peter Banks looked like and are wondering where he is on the album cover, wonder no more. The band fired him and replaced him with the incredibly awesome Steve Howe who played not one note on the album but is on the cover. Banks started a prog-rock band called Flash, and played with a lot of different people – most notably Blodwyn Pig –  but never quite reached the heights.

Next up, the song “Everydays.” Another cover, this is actually a Stephen Stills tune from Buffalo Springfield Again, that band’s second album from 1967. I love Bill Bruford’s cymbal work on this –  so cool. He again proves on this one that he’s the man. And for the record, even though Banks feared he’d be lost under tons of strings, he’s out here loud and clear and I like his work.

Spotify link

Lest ye think the band incapable of writing their own songs, along comes Jon Anderson’s “Astral Traveller.” I have never actually had an out-of-body experience unless you count my first Springsteen concert or that time with Mary Sue in the back seat at the drive-in. If you’re playing along at home, I believe those opening chords are Gmin7-Gmin6:

Spotify link

Reviews were mixed for this album (although New Musical Express loved it). Critical curmudgeon Robert Christgau didn’t like it but then again, didn’t much like anything by Yes. Tough toenails oh, self-appointed “Dean of All Rock Critics.”

I leave you with the title song. Another Anderson tune, “Time and a Word” always leaves me feeling uplifted. It’s anthemic, somewhat hippie-ish and positive. There’s a time – now – and there’s a word – love. Well, why the hell not.

Spotify link

I’ll have more to say about Yes in the future. The band was eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in, I think, 1994. They got inducted this year, some twenty-three years later. You explain it, I can’t. I’ve already expressed my displeasure with this so I’ll leave it there. Guess I’ll just be glad they got in at all.

Time and a Word full album (YouTube)

Spotify link full album

  • Jon Anderson – lead vocals, percussion
  • Peter Banks – electric and acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Chris Squire – bass, backing vocals
  • Tony Kaye – Hammond organ, piano
  • Bill Bruford – drums, percussion

16 thoughts on “Featured Album – Time and a Word – Yes

  1. I really like this record. I came to it after I had been listening to a couple of their later albums. Sometimes going back to earlier stuff can be disappointing. Not with ‘Time and a Word’ Squire and Bruford always did it for me. I like this line up. Banks does some good work on the record (I followed him over to Flash and a solo album). You have educated CB again on a band he is pretty familiar with. Good work. I’ll put my buddy Doc up against any of those “self proclaimed Dean’s..”. I have a different cover on my copy. And they show Banks on the back.

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      1. You’re right, that does “kick ass”. Reminds me of how much I like this band. So much I could comment on in that clip. Just the energy coming out of it. Again Bruford is amazing (heard but not seen) The whole band was cooking. Thanks for that. Anytime something like this comes to you pass it on. I’m chuckling to myself thinking about that hall of fame thing.

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        1. I didn’t want to get you all riled up. I don’t know if I can read that stuff. I have no idea who “Jann” is. The whole awards thing to CB is bogus. When I hear an artist I like tip his hat to someone else or someone like “The Doc” does the same, I pay attention. My tastes don’t lean to that other stuff in the slightest. Like I said, watching the clip of Yes just blew me away. (Pat doing ‘Tutti Frutti’ is a classic. Watch it and you will be in a good mood, instantly).

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        2. Ha! I don’t get half as riled up about the Hall as some folks. Although that said, I do have a piece in mind to write about it. Jann Wenner is the founder of Rolling Stone magazine. He is also one of the co-founders of the Hall. Overall, I’m happy that he is involved in it as he knows his shit. But I think he is personally anti-prog as is whatever committee they have. As to Pat, where would rock and roll be without him? 😀

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  2. Not surprised that CB is into this. I tell you it’s an album I loved when I first heard it and still loved it when I picked it up again the other day. I think I’ve listened to it maybe three times already recently. It really just cooks all the way through. Sometimes, later on, Yes could fall into their own butts, being a little too artsy. But not here. I hope some others who haven’t heard it give it a spin. The first number alone knocks me out.

    Christgau has been on my shit list ever since he said it took Duane Allman and Dickey Betts to equal Jerry Garcia. Jerry’s great, don’t get me wrong. But very much disagree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are on the same page with this album.

      I’ve heard of the guy you’re talking about but if I let people like that make up my mind or steer me I probably would have missed most the music I like. Nothing better than a piece of music catching your ear and saying “Man does that sound good!”. Kinda how you heard this album. Obviously CB takes recommendations but some stuff just doesn’t move me no matter how much someone else likes it. (CB is a Duane and Dickey guy. Staying on subject, Steve Howe isn’t to shabby)

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    1. Yeah! It’s a good album. I like ‘Time and a Word’ better. Now I haven’t listened to the first album in quite a while. But in my head I can hear their cover of the Beatles’ “Every Little Thing,” and the Byrds’ “I See You.”

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        1. One other thing – that part that Kaye is playing is straight out of the soundtrack of the movie “Big Country.” That’s what the strings play in the recorded version.

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