The winds raises the dandelion seeds, a perfect marriage of force and natural aerodynamics. And brings you a yard full of weeds. The rain brings you mud and deepening soil and you check the radio which brings you the weather. And you bring your boots out today.
And cool older cousins bring you YesSongs and let your adolescent self play among the covers, the Roger Dean Universe, let you wonder at the 8 foot by 6 foot poster that could only fit on the ceiling of a suburban cool cousin bedroom. They let you borrow this record while they go about with their cool friends, tasting all the fruit the decade of the 70’s had to offer. Things I came to recognize as that decade was reconstituted and re-imagnined into ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘That 70’s Show’. And Stoner Rock.
Cool Cousins who took the time to treat you nicely, like family, and share with you. Whose natural excitement and nature would have them talk to you like an adult though you were far from one? And you appreciated it.
Cool cousins who drop the needle on side one and introduce you to your first real taste of classical music ‘Firebird Suite’ as it evolves / dissolves into ‘Siberian Khatru,’ a multilayered bit of beauty that leads into what first really nailed me about Yes. It wasn’t the musicians expertise and resume. It wasn’t the lyrics which (and I know every one) but are at best vague.
It was…and is…that incredible ability to create melodies via counter point vocals. The harmonies, the arrangements, still confound me. And thrill me, drive me.And make me try harder.
Even Siberia goes through the motions
Hold out and hold up
Hold down the window
Hold out the mornin’ that comes into view
(Blue tail, tail fly)
River runnin’ right on over my head
Vocals completely counter to each other start a conversation, a word art piece. Though the words themselves becomes sounds, notes. Playing between counter points and true strong harmony, sometimes within a single line. As I have grown old, I recognize others used these games methods, first that comes to mind is Simon and Garfunkel. I don’t believe anyone arranged their vocal harmonies as carefully as Yes did, and it’s something that I think went over looked in the list of reasons why Yes was genuinely an important band.
And this style, these vocals ….. This whole Universe…… started with Chris. Find some old bit of YesStory or YesShows on YouTube and watch that motherfucker work.
And the carefree friends of Cool Cousins come to bad ends. And Cool Cousins did too.
And Yes takes on a greater personal significance. It’s no longer a band on a label, during a time you were barely alive for. It becomes the stuff of personal folklore. There’s lessons within each side, memories trapped within each song,
So I mourn this day. I don’t mourn Chris Squire, though he was a true hero of mine.
I mourn my cool cousin David Santone. RIP.