Friends & Relatives

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A good idea half-heartedly executed, this double-CD picks up roughly where The Family Album compilation leaves off. The emphasis here is on solo releases by bandmembers from the mid-'80s onwards. Aside from his fashion-show remix of "Owner of a Lonely Heart," and Anderson's contributions from his recent The More You Know album are quite good; "Say" and "The More You Know," in particular, show the influence of then-current R&B in his sound. Given Wakeman's prolific (if uneven) output, it's not surprising that he's heavily represented: in addition to worthy selections from Live at Hammersmith and No Expense Spared, there's the awful "Ice" from his Time Machine album. Bruford is slighted with a single Earthworks tune, electronic jazz pablum that is notably lacking in percussive showmanship. Howe fares better with his flamenco-based instrumental "Walk Don't Run," and fine Yes renditions from Not Necessarily Acoustic. Squire is M.I.A., though ex-wife Nikki Squire's band, Esquire, gets the tap twice; as she performed backing vocals on "Hold Out Your Hand," and was assisted by Trevor Horn and Alan White, there's some completist value to including her. Perhaps it came down to securing permissions, but questions dog this compilation: why no Moraz and Bruford? Why no Jon & Vangelis? Why no Trevor Rabin? Why none of Wakeman's "Airs" trilogy? Why none of Peter Banks' releases? The selections are poorly chosen, and given that Yes' later years have not always been fruitful, it seems cruel to pass over their genuine moments of glory.

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