Squire, Chris - Fish Out Of Water

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Atlantic / WEA International
Catalog Number: 81500
Format: CD
Total Time: 42:30:00

There may be some contentious arguments as to which of the many solo projects by the members of Yes is the best. Anderson's Olias Of Sunhillow? Wakeman's Six Wives Of Henry The VIII, or his magnificent Journey To The Centre Of The Earth, perhaps? Steve Howe has produced many fine solo works, more than I've heard, I shamefully admit. And one must not forget Patrick Moraz's very entertaining work, The Story Of I. There is plenty to argue about, to be sure. I will say that for me, the choice is obvious. Chris Squire's Fish Out Of Water (1975, Atlantic (18159)) surpasses all of the others, in its songwriting, vocals, the choice of sidemen, and its kinship with the sound and more importantly, the soul of Yes.

After the tour in support of Relayer the members of Yes did what a number of top acts did in the 1970s. They took a lengthy sabbatical from the road and each member produced a solo album. These efforts were, of course, all over the board, and some of the works fare better than others. Chris took the path that I find most to my liking, and released what I believe is the best of the bunch, though I will admit to a love of Wakeman's and Moraz's first solo recordings as well.

Fish Out Of Water is a pleasure to listen to now, nearly thirty years after its release, and even more importantally, I believe, it continues to reveal new details every time I listen to it. That, I think, is one of the highest praises that I can bestow upon any recording. There are only a few recordings I can recall right now that have that quality, that endearing aspect.

Fish Out Of Water is also the most Yes-like of any of the solo works of the members, I am sure of that. The presence of Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz assure that, but it goes deeper than that. I seem to recall Chris saying something about he and he alone owning the rights to the name Yes, feeling I suppose, that he, and whoever he chose to play with were Yes. I refer to the time of Yes L.A. and their legal battles with Anderson, Bruford, Wakeman and Howe. Indeed, nasty things are said whenever lawyers come around. But the point is, Squire was probably right. I didn't really understand, before hearing this work for the first time, how much of what we think of as the Yes "sound" is the result of Chris, his bass, his writing, his voice. This release could, with little change, stand alongside Yes's best and most popular albums.

All the material on this CD is very, very good, but I think that Chris wrote two absolute masterpieces of the genre here, those being the CD's opening track, "Hold Out Your Hand," and the third cut, "Silently Falling."

"Hold Out Your Hand" begins in a quite Yes-like manner, with a flourish of keyboards and a brilliant bass line, one of those lines that comes at you, and by the time you figure out where it is going, and how its going to be resolved, it turns a corner and doubles back on you. This album is a textbook of the Squire bass style, and that is reason enough to pick this up. The opening cut features some impressive and very satisfying keyboard work, and any time spent listening to Bruford's drumming is time well spent as well. This piece, as well as the rest of this release, boasts some lovely work by an ensemble of musicians on strings, flute, woodwinds and horns. Chris's vocals will leave no doubt as to who is really responsible for that classic Yes harmony we all love. Chris is not only a quite accomplished lead vocalist, but is usually the arranger of Yes's vocals. I will not bog all of us down in an endless dissection of the music on this album, but lets just say that "Hold Out Your Hand" will stand on its own when compared against the best material of Yes.

"Silently Falling" now sends shivers down my spine every time! At over eleven minutes, this is THE highlight of this release, and my personal favorite. It begins with woodwinds and some of the finest flute work I have ever heard, played by Jimmy Hastings, just one of the many outstanding players appearing on this CD. Hastings is one of the most storied flutists in England, and has worked with Caravan, National Health and Soft Machine as well. As I said, one of the great strengths of Squire's work is the great care he took in his choice of sidemen. One fascinating tidbit about this release is the appearance of Dr. Barry Rose, Chris's choir master from Guildford Cathedral. The good Reverend contributes his enormous talents on pipe organ, as well as other keyboards. Speaking of keyboards, and "Silently Falling" as well, this number features Moraz on a blistering organ/synthesizer solo, one of the best I have heard from him. This song also shows one of Chris's and by extension, Yes's, greatest strengths and most noticeable tendencies. Everything always begins or ends one beat before or after you think it will. This song displays Bruford's very tasteful style and his beautiful cymbal work. Chris misses no opportunities on this one either, and his bass line is powerful and could likely carry the song by itself.

All in all, this is a brilliant CD, and one that will show some of England's finest musicians in addition to Squire. He shows us all just what a masterful musician, composer and yes, what a great lead vocalist he really is.

Hold Out Your Hand (4:13) / You By My Side (5:00) / Silently Falling (11:27) / Lucky Seven (6:54) / Safe (Canon Song) (14:56)

Chris Squire ? bass, guitar, vocals
Bill Bruford ? drums, percussion
Patrick Moraz ? organ, synthesizers, keyboards
Adrian Brett ? woodwinds
Jim Buck ? horns
Mel Collins ? saxophone
Julian Gaillard ? strings
Jimmy Hastings ? flute
Barry Rose ? prgan, pipe organ
Andrew Jackman ? piano, electric piano, keyboards
David Snell ? harp
John Wilbraham ? horns

Fish Out Of Water (1975/1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 28th 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website: www.chrissquire.com
Hits: 997
Language: english


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