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Discussion in 'Music to Your Ears' started by studio, Jul 10, 2017.
* tremendous prog rock guitarist - jazzy and rocky as the music needs him to be, fast without losing a sense of melody, great tone from his old Gibson jazz-box or his Telecasters
* listen to him play the rockier stuff like Release Release or All Good People
* great on acoustic guitar - listen to his ragtime fingerpicking on things like Clap or Meadow Rag, his flamenco-influenced Mood For A Day and his 'straighter' classical pieces like Surface Tension or the acoustic interludes on The Ancient
* a great slide player - lots of little touches, but listen to Going For The One -- a song which is driven along by a great bass line from Chris Squire and a slide part by Steve which runs all the way through the song
* and he can sing harmonies at the same time. (However, better not dwell on his lead vocals on the solo albums!)
All in all, a stunningly gifted all-rounder on the guitar. Has been one of my favourites for an age.
This is hilarious!
For me, Steve Howe is a mixed bag:
GOOD: In the early days, he had a fantastic sense of arrangement that really served each individual song—the direct result of a mutual excitement/respect the band enjoyed throughout the '70s (before, as he once put it himself, they all got "too big for their boots"). The Steve Wilson remixes of CTTE, Tales, and Relayer wring out details and tone buried in the original mixes of those classic albums. He's not just "playing guitar": he's using it to create textures and phrasing that is totally of his own making. And on the rare occasions he is perhaps 'derivative', he puts an authentic twist on it. He's pretty peerless in this regard. His sound palette on Tales is mind-blowing. His tone was thick, yet biting, and he made so many of those notes count. On fire all the time. If you like that kind of thing, it doesn't get better. I hear a lot of that Tales creativity and phrasing in Tormato, actually, which is why I am no less a fan of that oft-derided album than some of the other earlier releases.
BAD: He's lost a lot of his fire, and his contributions on recent albums pale in comparison. Stylistically, he's a shadow of his former self, IMO. He adopted a cleaner tone back in the '90s which he's never quite recovered from, I think. People applaud his acoustic chops, but he's been stuck in a ragtime rut for ever, a poor man's Chet Atkins. Even recent efforts such as his arrangement of To Be Over sound stiff, peppered with fluff, and not fully realized.
Still, it's great that he's still around, and carrying the Yes flag. He's a living legend, without doubt.
There used to be a series of videos on YouTube of the sessions for the album, Going for the One, that were hilarious and enlightening. I had read stories of YES' practice in the studio of throwing things against the wall and seeing which bits stuck and which bits slid down, crazy stuff like turning off the headphones mid-song and playing out of sync, but this literally showed art happening The album is wonderful. The videos showed how much dreck had to bounce off the walls and end up on the cutting room floor before the good stuff stuck. And it showed a very bored Rick trying his best to keep his energy and enthusiasm up.
Having met and worked with Rick, I get it. He is hilarious.
I saw Yes in concert a couple times. The last time I sat about 10 feet from Steve Howe. He is an amazing musician as are all the members of Yes. I am surprised Mr. Howe only won the best guitarist 5 years in a row. I don't believe I have ever seen a musician that had a sense of the melody and the incredible technique of Steve Howe.
The reason is the GP capped the number of times you could win it at five, specifically because Steve won it so many times in a row, and appointed him to the new position of Hall of Fame. GP just wanted to give some other players a chance.
Even though he's known for rocking a ES-175, wasn't Fragile done with a ES-5, the Hillbilly Cadillac?
Evidently, yes! (Oh, you best believe that pun was intended! )
I think Steve Howe was my first guitar hero; before Jimmy Page, Hendrix, Beck, Clapton or Keith Richard / Mick Taylor. I was a little devastated that my classical music loving father didn’t share my enthusiasm for Steve Howe’s formidable talents.
I’ve now got an earworm of “Seen all Good People/Starship Trooper” running through my head.
the first time I saw Yes in vancouver they opened for jethro Tull, unfricken believable concert some of the most consumate playing in one show ever , and to this day is the best concert ever that I hadf the pleasure to witness
Steve Howe has always been one of the the most understated guitarists of or time , his classical training and buroque styles shine plus he can hold his own on leads.
that les paul video was fun thanks for posting it.
a gift for you all
I'm currently binge-listening to Yes in order of release. So much great stuff from Steve. He really hit the ground running with "The Yes Album". I've reached about mid-point in their catalog, with "Tormato", which is better than i remembered from the initial hearing in the 70s. "Release Release" is fantastic:
I've seen Yes several times since the early mid-70s and, for me, Steve Howe has been the most consistent of its members. He just never seems to miss a beat and his phrasing / timing is immaculate.
I've also seen Yes with Trevor Rabin who is a remarkable guitarist in his own right but, for me, not as versatile as Steve Howe.
It's just a pity that Chris Squire has gone, Alan White is poorly and the various remaining members seem to have formed their own versions of "Yes" as 50 years from its origin, it'd be great for the "classic" line up (and maybe a few guests) to have a proper golden jubilee celebration tour.
I'll always be listening to Steve Howe, though...
I’ve seen YES three times, starting in 1984 with the 9021Live concert. I wanted to see them earlier in the 70’s but was too young to go to concerts and just missed the one before the Drama tour, which didn’t come to vancouver and then they disbanded for a couple of years; Steve Howe, Geoff Downes formed Asia and Jon Anderson was doing his thing with Vangellis.
Trevor Rabin was in the lineup when I first saw YES. I have to give him credit for his skills and contributions on 90215. Great songwriting, singing and a great guitarist. I wore the grooves off that record and the concert was spot-on.
Then I saw the massive Union tour in 1991. That was quite a sight to see. Huge production and so much talent in one spot. I finally got to see YES with Steve Howe.
I saw them again in the current lineup just after Chris Squire passed. It was a much smaller production and Jon Anderson isn’t in the band. The fellow who stepped in on Bass guitar was outstanding, considering Chris Squire had passed away probably 6 weeks before. The new singer has great vocals but seemed a little out of his element. Steve Howe was magnificent, playing those extended jazzy runs on their older material. That show was great because it was such a small venue, almost an intimate night with the band.
Old thread, but I've seen Yes maybe 35 times, and ABWH, and ARW as well. Steve is kind of a shadow of his former self, but still a legend. I brought binoculars and a notebook to quite a few Yes shows at Madison Square Garden back in the day.
I'ma a fan!
I saw them (YES) a couple of years ago on the last tour with Chris Squire. Unfortunately he passed on just before they came to town. Steve Howe was great but I see your point. I love the flowing cascade of notes he incorporates in his solo's. So smooth.
I've been a Yes fan since I was a teenager. I didn't get to see them live until 1997, but then I saw them at least once on each American tour up to 2008. Then I lost my job, and couldn't see the next few times they toured here, and the last couple times...I dunno, I just wasn't as interested.
But Howe really is an amazing guitarist. I was actually first introduced to him via Asia, of all things. You have to remember I was born in 1973, so at the time, all those bands the guys in Asia had been in during the 70's were "before my time". I only got to know ELP, King Crimson, and Yes after first hearing Heat Of The Moment, Only Time Will Tell, etc.
My introduction to Yes, really, was during the 90125 era, with the singles from that album, and the 9012Live concert video (which MTV aired a couple times, and I recorded on Betamax!). But I was intrigued by the talk I heard of them having previously done "LP side length songs". So the first Yes album I ended up buying, just because it was the one that was the cheapest at Wax Stax that day, was an ancient cassette copy of Relayer. And I fell in love with it immediately. To Be Over remains my favorite Yes piece to this day.
And over time, I bought all their records, up through Magnification, and most of them at least have a few things that I love. There's even a couple good songs on Tormato.
Talking about Howe's guitars, though he's mostly associated with that ES-175, he's used a lot of guitars over the years:
ES-5 Switchmaster (most of Fragile)
Telecaster (most of Relayer, the "masters of time" section of Awaken, Only Time Will Tell, etc)
Stratocaster (Parallels, Tempus Fugit, etc)
Rickenbacker 12 string (on the "Awaken gentle mass touch" section of Awaken)
Danelectro 12 string (on side two of Tales From Topographic Oceans, also on Sketches In The Sun, the solo piece he did on the GTR album)
ES Artist (special guitar Gibson made in the early 80's, built in compression and EQ, no f-holes...Howe had four of them that he used on tour during the Asia era, because John Wetton and Greg Lake couldn't sing everything in the original keys onstage)
He's had at least a few different Les Pauls (including a Les Paul Recording, which he used on a couple tracks on The Steve Howe Album, before selling the guitar, because "It didn't feel quite right"), numerous acoustic guitars (notably various Martins, Guilds and at least a couple guitars built by a Dutch luthier named Theo Sharpach), mandolins, a laud (Steve calls it his "Portugese guitar", but others tell me it's correctly referred to as a laud, that's what he's playing on the first part of Seen All Good People and Wondrous Stories), a couple Roland guitar synths (notably on the GTR album, where both he and Steve Hackett bathed the entire album in multi-tracked and MIDI'd guitar synth work), and who knows what else.
I Have his guitar collection book that came out in the early 90's, that's why I know all this stuff (along with a couple articles he did in Guitar Player during the 80's, where he talked about what he used on the first Asia album and the GTR record). I've been lucky enough to see do a coupel solo shows, and like I said, I've seen Yes numerous times (I think something like 9 or 10 last time I counted).