Sunday, September 16, 2012

Favorite Albums: Chris Squire's Fish Out of Water

The Favorite album I want to recognize in this post is Fish Out Of Water, a solo  Album by Yes bassist Chris Squire, released in 1975. I probably bought my copy a few years later, perhaps 1979. I had gotten into Yes later on, after they were well established. One of the first concerts I ever went to was a Yes Concert, I believe in 1979. It was the first concert in the then brand new Cedar Rapids Civic Center. The gimmick Yes had for that tour was a revolving stage. I had just purchased a fender jazz bass, and I got to see my bass hero Chris Squire perform live in the arena.

As a young bassist, one of my favorite bass players was, and still is, Chris Squire of Yes. His classical sounding melodic bass lines are unmistakable and have influenced a couple of generations of bassists, including Rush's Geddy Lee. Squire is especially associate with the Rickenbacker Bass.

He is one of the founding members of Yes, one of the progressive rock bands of the late sixties and early seventies. Squire will always be associated with such Yes songs as Round About and Owner of a Lonely Hearts, and the Fish.

Squire's nickname is the Fish, which comes from a incident where he flooded a hotel room by accident while he was in a shower. He was also known for spending a lot of time in the bathroom when he lived with fellow Yes band mate Bill Buford.

Fish out of Water has only five tracks but they are sublime. This is a case of a very creative and interesting album, which while, not a great commercial success (#25 in UK, #69 in US), has had some longevity. The structure of the music blends rock, jazz, and classical in one cohesive sound. The album features a full orchestra as well as rock instrumentation.

The bass is made to be prominent in the mix of the album, and rightfully so. It is melodic but holds down the bottom. Squire puts on a clinic for bass work.

Squire's vocal work does not sound much different from Yes band mate Jon Anderson, singing in the higher register with a lot of power and discipline.

The first track, Hold Out Your Hand, is a opens the album with the organ from the London Cathedral, and then a stunning stereo bass riff by Squire.

The song flows into the next track, You by My Side.

Side one concludes with Silently Falling, an 11 minute track with full orchestration.

Side 2 opens with the track, Lucky Seven, so named for its 7/8 time signature. It has a jazz feel to it with minor keys and saxophone.

The album closes with Safe, a fifteen minute track that reprises a theme from Yes's song, Close to the Edge.

Fortunately, Fish out of Water is still available for down load, a little more difficult to obtain on CD, although an enhanced import is available but is pricey.

Fish Out of Water is a personal favorite of mine, by one of my greatest bass influences.

Track Listing 
All songs written by Chris Squire.

Side One
"Hold Out Your Hand" – 4:13
"You By My Side" – 5:00
"Silently Falling" – 11:27

Side Two
"Lucky Seven" – 6:54
"Safe (Canon Song)" – 14:56

Purchase Fish Out Of Water:
MP3 Download

Chris Squire Web Sites

Chris Squire 
Chris Squire My Space
Chris Squire Facebook

Video for Hold Out Your Hand and You by My Side:

Chris Squire – basses, lead and backing vocals, additional drum fills on "You By My Side", 12-string electric guitar on "Silently Falling" and "Safe"
Andrew Jackman – acoustic and electric pianos, conductor, orchestration
Bill Bruford – drums, percussion
Patrick Moraz – bass synthesizer and organ on "Silently Falling"
Jimmy Hastings – flute
Mel Collins – alto saxophone on "Lucky Seven", tenor saxophone on "Silently Falling"
Barry Rose – pipe organ on "Hold Out Your Hand"
Adrian Bett – woodwinds leader
Jim Buck – horns leader
Julian Gaillard – strings leader
John Wilbraham – brass leader
Nikki Squire – backing vocals on "Hold Out Your Hand"

Chris Squire: Producer
Greg Jackman: Engineer
Nigel Luby: Assistant Engineer
Phil Carson: Overdubs, Mastering
Trevor Spencer: Mastering
Graham Preskett: Mastering


  1. One of my favorite too. I found a vinyl long time ago still listen to it regularly.

  2. YES is the best. They changed my life with their beautiful music. Their complex interludes and counterpuntal melodies make most other music sound flat and boring. YES sound is so dynamic and larger than life. They wrote several tunes in D and E, but used chromatic scales in their early work, "Yours is no Disgrace," "Heart of the Sunrise" and the like. Kinda modern baroque/classical. Love the mediaeval influence in Howe's riffs and Wakeman's synthesizers. I like YES. Squire's playing was ahead of his time when the group formed in the '60s. I hear a lot of YES in Yngwie Malmsteen and other metal bands. YES music is not easy to play. The only bassline I can nail is "Bumpy Ride." "Roundabout" will need a lot of practice on my part. Thank You, God, for YES.