We’ve reached the end of 2015. It hasn’t been as thrilling a year for new music as 2014 had been, but there has been plenty to entertain. We’re still waiting on the proposed deluxe edition of Prince & The Revolution’s classic ‘Purple Rain’ (we could be waiting a long time) and those promised UB40 deluxe editions. Another year has passed without the arrival of Real Gone favourite Mick Terry’s second album. Lots of people in the UK have been (over)-excited by Steven Wilson’s ‘Hand.Cannot.Erase.’, but most of what’s impressed us the most at Real Gone – as is so often the case – is often just a little more underground.
In 2015, multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood found himself ahead of a rather daunting task. He was hand picked by his close friend, Mr. Chris Squire, to be the bass man for progressive rock legends Yes, after Squire – founder member and only constant – discovered his ongoing fight against leukemia would soon be lost. It was obviously a job he’d would rather not have, but given the circumstances, he was the most obvious and sympathetic choice. In many ways, the only choice. Sherwood’s links with Yes go back a long way, of course: he’d previously been involved with the band in an on/off role since the turn of the 90s, if anyone could fill the void and at least have half a chance of fan acceptance, it would be Billy Sherwood. Looking back even farther, Sherwood’s own music with Lodgic and World Trade had showed parallels with the more commercial sounds of Yes. The 1989 World Trade debut, especially, often sounded like the album Yes might have unleashed after ‘Big Generator’ had they continued along the shiny, techy, AOR-prog path.
In June 2015 the world lost one of its finest musicians. Mr. Chris Squire, founder and only constant member of Yes was not only one of the best bass players in progressive and classic rock circles, but one of the finest bassists, period. Perhaps only second to Jack Bruce in terms of huge influence, Squire’s playing was always near the pinnacle of brilliance.
He could be simple, complex, lyrical…and sometimes all within the confines of the same passage of music. It may sound cliched, but Squire was a man who knew how it felt to be one with his instrument of choice, someone able to really make their bass speak.
At Real Gone, we’ve always been huge fans of Yes – in most, if not all incarnations – and it’s unlikely a week passes without at least one Yes album being spun.
On June 27th 2015, legendary bassist Chris Squire lost his battle with leukaemia. He was known to millions as the founding – and only constant – member of progressive rock titans Yes. His trademark sound provided the heard of the band’s ever evolving sound for twenty one studio albums and several live releases over a period of five decades.
Whether delivering a psychedelic sound, as per the first two Yes releases – an extension of musical themes practiced in Squire’s earlier band The Syn – or shaping the progressive rock of the seventies, or even the pop/rock band Yes eventually became in the 1980s, Squire could often be relied upon to steer his musical vision with some absolutely stellar performances.
Given the position Real Gone finds itself in at the end of our fifth year online, it might seemed clichéd to say it, but ever year seems to get better and better. It’s been another brilliant year for discovering new music – particularly releases from underground and DIY bands, but also for discs from a couple of old favourites. Culled from hundreds of albums to grace our stereo this year, presented below is a quick look at ten of our favourite releases, as well as a round-up of the more notable of the rest.