My Favorite Albums – Relayer – Yes

Soon, oh soon the light,
Pass within and soothe this endless night
And wait here for you, Our reason to be here.

Relayer was the first Yes album I owned. I took it to high school and we enjoyed it there in Mr. Thomas’ Social Studies office where I was an aide. I’m not 100% sure but I believe the album art attracted me to the purchase. It is artwork by Roger Dean who drew many Yes covers and the “Yes” logo itself. I have inducted Yes into my Music Hall of Fame.

Relayer is their seventh studio album released November 28, 1974, by Atlantic Records. Rick Wakeman had left and they were auditioning for keyboardists including Greek keyboardist and composer Vangelis before deciding on Swiss musician Patrick Moraz of Refugee[1] who incorporated elements of funk and jazz fusion to the album.

Coming from Refugee, where we had been walking three miles to and from our rehearsal place … it was quite a contrast!

Patrick Moraz

The album was only three songs and reached No. 4 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 5 on the US Billboard 200. After the “Tales from Topographic Oceans (1973)” tour the four remaining Yes members singer Jon Anderson, bassist Chris Squire, guitarist Steve Howe, and drummer Alan White went to FarmYard Studios, owned by drummer Trevor Morais[2], in Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, to work on new songs. Melody Maker reporter and band biographer Chris Welch had suggested Moraz and that worked out.

Relayer was recorded at Squire’s home named New Pipers in Virginia Water, Surrey, which he had purchased in Christmas 1972, and converted his garage into a recording studio. This would also be Eddie Offord’s last co-production with the band. After the album was recorded, it was mixed at Advision Studios in London.

It was one of the first records I ever made that felt like a location record, because all of the others were made in London. I was looking out the window thinking this is a different way of recording. There’s nobody telling us the studio is about to close and it didn’t cost anything, we could take our time and get things done.

Steve Howe

“The Gates of Delirium” is a 22-minute track that Anderson described as “a war song, a battle scene, but it’s not to explain war or denounce it … There’s a prelude, a charge, a victory tune, and peace at the end, with hope for the future.” “Sound Chaser” displays Yes’ experiment with jazz fusion and funk influences. “To Be Over” came from a piece that Howe had written and played for Anderson. Jon and Steve further developed the song.

Strong in content, but mellow in overall attitude … It’s about how you should look after yourself when things go wrong.

Jon Anderson describing “To Be Over”

Alan White says: “People always ask me what my favorite Yes album is. From the perspective of where the rhythm section is coming from, I always single out the Relayer album.” Yes supported Relayer with their 1974-1975 Tour of North America and the UK that lasted from November 8, 1974, to August 23, 1975, with the album played in its entirety. I remember seeing this tour when it came to the Omni in Atlanta.

  1. Refugee were a progressive rock band formed in 1973 that consisted of vocalist and bassist Lee Jackson, drummer Brian Davison and keyboardist Patrick Moraz. They released one album, Refugee (1974), and went on several tours. Refugee were preparing material for a second album when Moraz left the group in August 1974 to join Yes. The group subsequently dissolved.
  2. Trevor Morais is an English drummer who has been a member of several notable groups such as Faron’s Flamingos, Rory Storm and The Hurricanes, The Peddlers, Quantum Jump and the Elkie Brooks backing band. He is also a session musician who has played on recordings by Tina Turner, David Essex, Howard Jones and Björk.


The Music Aficionado

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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