Sporting greatly improved sound and a wonderful booklet, Fragile, one of Yes' definitive statements, is given new life thanks to the folks at Rhino. If you are a collector like myself, one look at the great packaging that this CD comes incased in is reason enough to shell out the bucks to purchase this classic yet one more time. However, pop the CD into your player and throw on a pair of headphones, and let the fun begin!
I'm not usually a fan of digi-pack cases, but in this instance I didn't mind it too much. Opening up the booklet, you get a great Roger Dean painting on the cover, and in the inside are a plethora of rare photographs of the band in the studio, live onstage, and in intimate personal settings. The essay by Bill Martin explains lots of background information on the making of the album, including Rick Wakeman's joining the band, and the emergence of the whole group as "virtuosos" of the progressive rock movement.
The music has never sounded better quite frankly. Chris Squire especially has benefited from the remaster treatment, as his bass lines take on richer and warmer tone. Listen to his complex jaunts supporting Wakeman's Hammond organ on the hit "Roundabout", or do battle with Steve Howe's powerful guitar breaks on "Heart of the Sunrise", both proof positive of Squire's legendary status among rock bass players. Of course, how can we forget his solo spot "The Fish" which follows the symphonic "Long Distance Runaround"? Simply amazing. Perhaps one of the best songs here, that often gets overlooked except among die-hard Yes circles is the aggressive "South Side of the Sky", featuring snarling guitar tones from Howe and Bill Bruford's nimble drum work. Complete lyrics are included in the booklet, so you can sing along with Jon Anderson while you enjoy the enhanced sound.
Bonus material on this release includes "America" and an early rough mix of "Roundabout"-nothing spectacular, but certainly nice to have. So, what are you waiting for? Get on down to your local CD retailer and gorge yourself on more classic Yes!
2) Cans and Brahms
3) We Have Heaven
4) South Side of the Sky
5) Five Per Cent for Nothing
6) Long Distance Runaround
7) The Fish (Schindleria Praematuras)
8) Mood for a Day
9) Heart of the Sunrise
11) Roundabout-early rough mix