"The best thing about the first batch of Yes "Solo Albums" was that they allowed the fans to finally see into the Yes compositional process. We could glimpse each of Yes' primary composers all by themselves - almost like a prism separates light into colors, the solo albums gave us insight into the elements each Yes-man brought to the band.[These albums are BEGINNINGS, by Steve Howe, FISH OUT OF WATER, by Chris Squire, i, by Patrick Moraz, RAMSHACKLED, by Alan White, and OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW, by Jon Anderson. (In all fairness, Moraz's i was not his first solo effort.)]Steve's first album is really quite good, and it does hold up over time. There is an energy and brashness here that is rather stunning. One would have thought that Mr. Howe was the iconoclastic confounder of the Yes Stable. But he shows us here that he is a traditional songsmith.However, his voice is appallingly bad, and his decision to sing is really a bad move (he was to repeat that move time and time again, never learning from his initial mistake). I had to give this excellent album 4 stars solely because it is marred by Steve's Larynx.One could only imagine how perfect this album would have been had Jon sung on it - it would have almost become "The Lost Yes Album"."
I Challenge Yes To Put Out A New Album As Great As This
Jeffrey W. Richman | Boynton Beach, Florida United States | 10/06/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so sick and tired of people criticizing Steve Howe's vocals! Sure, when this album first came out in 1975, it took me a little while to get used to the vocals. Steve Howe does have an unusual voice. And I was only sixteen at the time.
But I have long since come to appreciate this album and Steve Howe's vocals on it. In fact, I think his voice is haunting. And the song writing on this album is brilliant.
I would much rather hear Steve Howe sing the sophisticated music that appears on this album than hear Jon Anderson sing the primitive music that appears on recent Yes albums such as "Magnification".
Mark Champion | San Antonio, TX United States | 06/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An odd little solo debut for Mr. Howe. I love it, but probably for the wrong reasons. There isn't much that sounds much like Yes, which is okay by me- -not because I don't like Yes but because it demonstrates Howe's desire to do something different from his contributions to the band unlike, say, Chris Squire. It also, a little surprisingly, is not really a 'guitar' album. Of course Howe plays guitar, but clearly his intention is not to demonstrate what a hot shot he is on his instrument unlike, say, Peter Banks. By the time this was released in 1975, Howe had already done all that, seemingly without effort. So why does the album fail so gloriously? To put it simply, it's the material. You know, the songs. They're mostly pretty boring and aren't much helped by windy arrangements (with the exception of 'Pleasure Stole The Night', which is more breezy than windy). It isn't even Howe's clunky singing, which a lot of people complain about and which is passable at best- -it recalls that of the Floyd's Richard Wright with a cold, and Wright's no great singer himself. But it really wouldn't matter who sang (unless it was the guy from Flash, but more on him later and elsewhere). The longer instrumentals, 'Nature Of The Sea' and especially the title track, aren't really helped by the lack of Howe's singing. 'Nature Of The Sea' gets the edge, though, because the orchestral 'Beginnings' just sort of noodles along going nowhere for seven-plus minutes. It's quasi-ambitious; it's pretty; it's light; and it is very, very fluffy. The brief 'Ram' sounds like a rehearsal for 'The Clap', four years after the fact. No matter where you go in the album, it's like that. Okay. Now, having said all that, I find it pretty cool that the album has held up in its own way very well over the many years since its release. The artless singing and windy arrangements have become its strong points after all this time, saving what was in 1975 a mediocre effort and preserving it as a quirky pleasure. Heck, there are bands who shall remain for the moment nameless running around these days wearing pseudo-artlessness as a badge. And look how hard they have to try. Let's make the argument that Howe is their major influence and maybe they'll shut up and go away. I'm not gonna complain about Howe too loudly. Still, the songs. . ."
Could be better
BENJAMIN MILER | Veneta, Oregon | 02/16/2002
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After Relayer was released, all the Yes members decided to release solo albums. Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water and Steve Howe's Beginnings were the first to come out. The Chris Squire album is said to be the best solo album from a Yes member (I hadn't heard that one). Then Jon Anderson released Olias of Sunhillow, Alan White released Ramshackled, and Patrick Moraz released "i" (aka "The Story of i"). That's the big reason why Yes released no albums between Relayer and Going For the One (except for the Yesterdays compilation). Steve Howe's Beginnings could've been a great album. He's credited to playing all different guitars, acoustic and electric. He has various Yes members helping, Patrick Moraz, Alan White, Bill Bruford, as well as members of the Raindance-era Gryphon (Gryphon did tour with Yes around the time Red Queen to Gryphon Three and Raindance were released). Plus the album features some truly great Roger Dean cover artwork. But I'm afraid to say what really ruins Beginnings is Steve Howe decided he should sing. I can only think of the likes of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy's attempt to "sing" more embarassing than what Steve Howe was trying to do. His singing really sticks out like a sore thumb. It's weak, it's nasal, he often had to use reverb to make up for his lack of vocal abilities. He should've found someone who could actually sing to handle the vocals, or actually make the album all instrumental (Rick Wakeman had the sense to hire actual vocalists on his solo efforts, like Ashley Holt and ex-Wild Turkey member Garry Pickford-Hopkins, even if they weren't the most appealing vocalists, at least they could sing). Beginnings shows that Steve Howe is quite a talented guitarist, but in the end, it's really painful to have to hear him sing."
This still remains my favorite Steve Howe solo album
J. McQuinn | Dayton, OH USA | 08/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know, I must be a freak, but I have grown to love Steve's off key warbling. I love to sing along in the car (but get in big trouble if someone is in the car with me...) These are all well crafted songs, not just showing off his guitar talents."