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Union (1991)

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  Summary  

Union is the thirteenth studio album by British progressive rock band Yes, released in 1991. It was so called because it brought together the previous Yes album's lineup and the then ex-Yes members group Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe .

  Presentation  

After Big Generator in 1987, Jon Anderson teamed up with ex-Yes men Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman and Bill Bruford. The result was Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe, released in 1989 and supported by a successful tour. Because of the separate existence of Yes (part of the band's name still being owned by Chris Squire), this alternate incarnation were forced to use their surnames as the band's name after Squire threatened legal action. Meanwhile, Yes began composing and recording material for their follow-up, while Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe did the same, beginning production at Miraval Studios in the South of France in April 1990.

Bowing to record company pressure to resurrect the Yes banner, Squire and Anderson came up with the idea of merging both projects, which resulted in the 1991 album Union. In the meantime the ABWH material had been extensively reworked under the supervision of producer Jonathan Elias, which involved replacing many of Howe's guitar parts with new ones played by sessioner Jimmy Haun. Similarly, with Wakeman unavailable because of his heavy touring schedule as a solo artist, many of the keyboard parts were redone by a variety of players in a variety of studios in Los Angeles and New York. Post-production also involved Chris Squire adding backing vocals to a couple of ABWH tracks, but this would remain the extent of the "reunion" of the 1971–72 line-up as bass parts on the tracks were performed by Tony Levin.

"Masquerade" was a solo piece Howe had recorded some time before, included at the last minute when the record company requested a solo guitar piece from him. "Masquerade" earned the album a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. "The More We Live" was the product of a new writing partnership between Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood, who had briefly been considered as replacement for Jon Anderson in the Rabin-led version of Yes. The song featured extensive vocal and instrumental contributions from Sherwood. "Lift Me Up", "Saving My Heart" and "Miracle of Life" were largely demos : Rabin had been planning to record them properly and was taken by surprise that they were used as they were . "Evensong" was a version of Bruford and session bassist Tony Levin's duet from the ABWH tour. The ABWH project attempted a second, followup album that never materialized, and, from the long set of demos called Dialogue, the only surviving piece to make it onto Union was "Take the Water to the Mountain". Both the main riff of "I Would Have Waited Forever" and the 9/4 riff in "Silent Talking" can be heard on Steve Howe's solo album Turbulence, released about the same time.

Although the supporting world tour was a commercial and critical success, praised by fans and band as one of Yes' best, the album was not as well-received, resulting in sales figures equivalent to those of the ABWH album . Union would turn out to be Yes' last studio album to have significant sales, though it didn't match the popularity of 1987's Big Generator. One of Unions singles, "Lift Me Up", became Yes' biggest hit on Billboard's Album Rock Tracks chart, reaching the top spot and remaining there for six weeks in early 1991.

Before Union was released, a preview of a sort was released by the record company to generate interest. It contained significantly different mixes of most of the ABWH group's material, from before the extensive session work present on the album. Besides "The More We Live", two other pieces by Squire/Sherwood ("Say Goodbye" and "Love Conquers All") were demos presented for this album but not used. The former appeared in a re-recorded version on the second World Trade album, and the latter was on Yesyears. Both original demos are on the first Conspiracy album by Squire/Sherwood.

Wakeman, Bruford and Howe would depart the sprawling line-up in 1992, returning Yes to its 1983-1988 line-up. Union would be the final Yes album with Bill Bruford, and would be the last album with Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman until their return in 1996.

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  Tracklist   

Standard edition
# Name Artist Live Acoustic Hidden Duration
1-1 I Would Have Waited Forever Yes       06:32
1-2 Shock to the System Yes       05:09
1-3 Masquerade Yes       02:17
1-4 Lift Me Up Yes       06:30
1-5 Without Hope You Cannot Start the Day Yes       05:18
1-6 Saving My Heart Yes       04:41
1-7 Miracle of Life Yes       07:30
1-8 Silent Talking Yes       04:00
1-9 The More We Live—Let Go Yes       04:51
1-10 Angkor Wat Yes       05:23
1-11 Dangerous (Look in the Light of What You're Searching For) Yes       03:36
1-12 Holding On Yes       05:24
1-13 Evensong Yes       00:52
1-14 Take the Water to the Mountain Yes       03:10

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  Sources

Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Union (Album)", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.