Yes- Talk
Album: Talk
Artist: Yes
1994 Victory
CD: 383-480-033-2
CD Japan: VICP-5355

Band members:
Jon Anderson: vocals
Tony Kaye: Hammond organ
Trevor Rabin: guitar, keyboards, vocals
Chris Squire: bass, vocals
Alan White: drums, percussion

with Billy Sherwood: bass, drums

Produced by Trevor Rabin

1. The Calling [Rabin/Anderson/Squire] (6:52)
2. I am Waiting [Rabin/Anderson] (7:22)
3. Real Love [Rabin/Squire/Anderson] (8:42)
4. State of Play [Rabin/Anderson] (4:58)
5. Walls [Rabin/Hodgson/Anderson] (4:52)
6. Where Will You Be [Rabin/Anderson] (6:03)
7. Endless Dream [Rabin/Anderson] (15:41)
    a. Silent Spring
    b. Talk
    c. Endless Dream
8. The Calling (special version) (8:02) only available on initial Japanese CD and 2003(?) Spitfire CD re-release

Notes: The last album by what is known as the 'YesWest' line-up, yet an album apart from 90125 and Big Generator. Talk has many of its own fans and a fair few detractors too. There are similarities to previous Yes, some as you would expect, some maybe more surprising, but Talk is its own album.

Yes's previous album had seen all eight members of YesWest and ABWH brought together, but Union had been an exercise in papering over the cracks. Although a successful eight-man tour followed, the possibility of an eight-man band recording never existed with Bill Bruford the first to leave. Howe reportedly proposed plans for how a septet could work, but his ideas went nowhere. The details of the machinations in this period are unclear, but at some point Victory stepped in with a record contract, but a record contract based on the YesWest line-up.

Howe was soon gone and Victory's promotional material spoke of having a sextet: Anderson, Squire, White, Rabin, Kaye and Wakeman. Wakeman remained in contact with the band and record label through the making of Talk, but contractual and other issues were never resolved and he had no role in the album. Instead, Talk was a return to the line-up of 90125 and Big Generator. However, that is perhaps only a superficial similarity.

While previous YesWest albums had been led by the partnership of Squire and Rabin, with Anderson somewhat marginalised from the composing process, the bulk of Talk was written by Rabin and Anderson, with White and Kaye wholly absent from the writing credits. (This despite a contemporary report in which White talked of writing for the album.) Rabin had been uncertain about doing another Yes album. If he was to do another album, it was to be on his terms. Victory acceded and Talk is Rabin's album. Unlike previous YesWest albums, Rabin produced Talk alone. Production on Talk pioneered digital recording technology with the whole album recorded to hard disk—something routine a few years later. Rabin was very much in control of the whole recording process, as well as singing, playing guitar, most of the keyboards and possibly recording some bass parts himself. Using the new technology, Rabin was able to edit tracks at a very fine level. The other band members showed little outward sign of being unhappy with this level of control, although Squire grumbled about some of his bass parts being re-recorded in one subsequent interview.

If within the band, Talk was dominated by Rabin, there were pressures from outside the band. Phil Carson, head of Victory, asked Rabin for an epic piece in the style of Yes of old. Rabin appears to have been less than happy about writing an epic to order, but he did and was very happy with the result. "Endless Dream" is the longest YesWest piece released. Victory also demanded the inclusion of "Walls", a song leftover from an earlier Rabin/Hodgson collaboration that failed to yield any releases. Rabin was uncertain about including the song and later regretted the decision to do so.

Squire's marginalisation in the album's writing may have been a symptom of larger issues. The band considered dropping him from the tour. According to a later interview with Squire's manager at the time, Billy Sherwood was hired for the tour as a back-up given concerns over Squire's health: he had a heart attack around this time. Other "health issues" have been intimated by others. Sherwood has hinted at further discord within the band: in 2008, he described how he was approached to replace Squire during tour planning (an irony given Squire had previously sought to have Sherwood replace Anderson). Sherwood says he counselled the band against dropping Squire, but he accepted the job and learnt all the parts. Relations were then mended and Squire joined rehearsals, with Rabin suggesting Sherwood stay on as an extra pair of hands, which he did. Live, Sherwood was on stage with the other five, playing additional guitar, keys and bass.

It was long suspected that Squire was not only absent from the writing credits, but absent from some of the playing too. And indeed, just as with Union before, large portions of the album were not performed by the band members you would expect. Sherwood had been brought in, in secret, and plays perhaps three quarters of the bass on the album and approaching half the drums too, thus explaining his choice for the live band.

The album sold better than any subsequent Yes studio release to date, but as it sold less than the preceding releases, it was seen as a commercial disappointment. Victory subsequently went bankrupt. (HP, 3 May 04)

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