Saturday, December 17, 2011


(From the Too-Sick-To-Blog files …)

Man, Steve Howe is on my short-list top-five guitarists who ever lived. There was a sporadic phase, from about 1989 to 1996 or so, where I’d listen to nothing but Yes. Primarily The Yes Album but also Close to the Edge. The song below – “And You and I” – and a few others such as “Starship Trooper” and “Perpetual Change” enticed me – perhaps sadistically so – to become a better guitarist. I never reached such heights back then. Even now I can only play bits and pieces of random Yes songs.

Bands don’t wear capes on stage anyone. That’s probably a good thing. But if any band deserved to wear capes, and wear them with pride, it was Yes. No one can touch ’em when it comes to early 70s fashion. That’s because the music stares you the f down. So, capes, platform shoes, bell-bottom jeans, skin tight sparkly shirts – you can’t mess with that, or Steve will get all sustained 11th chords and unconventional time signatures all over your 4/4 a$$.

And how awesome is that pedal steel guitar Howe plays, and that double-neck Gibson SG he’s slinging. When we’re financially independent, that’s my birthday present, wife! For years I never knew how he got those sounds he did on that track, so finally seeing how it was done is tres neat. (Though I acknowledge that what they did in the studio in 1971 might be different than how they performed the song two years later.)

For anyone who can stick with it to the very end (a respectable nine-and-a-half minutes) email me and I’ll send you a cassette of me playing the acoustic part of the song on a Washburn 12-string! That and $5’ll get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks!

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