Side 2 of Yes’ self-titled 1969 debut begins with “Harold Land,” a promising-but-still-transitional composition from Jon Anderson, Bill Bruford and Chris Squire.
The song’s introduction provides a hint of the progressive future of the band, but the lyrics — which are about the impact of war on the named character — show that Anderson has a little way to go before becoming the wordsmith he would demonstrate starting with The Yes Album. Also, the lyrics have nothing to do with the late jazz saxophonist of the same name.
“Harold Land” has many elements for a modern-day Yes fan to like, however. The Maestro gets thinks kicked off on bass, working expertly with Bill Bruford’s shuffle. Tony Kaye gives Yes fans plenty to smile about. His Hammond B-3 organ pumps and surges along, heightening the complex interplay between Chris Squire and Bill Bruford. In short order, the late Peter Banks joins in with an angular guitar lead, which almost approaches Tony Kaye’s organ intro in intensity.
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