Released 1999. Blueprint BP301CD [UK]
Reissued on June 12, 2012 by Purple Pyramid Records as The Roots Of Yes 1964-68 [USA]
1. Can I Play You Something?
2. Bang/Crash Peter Gunn (recorded live in Los Angeles, 1980)
3. Hippie Loop
4. 14 Hour Technicolour Dream (The Syn, 1967)
5. You Better Move On (The Devil’s Disciples, 1965)
6. Beyond And Before (Demo – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, 1968)
7. Beyond And Before (What Bass? Mix – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, 1968)
8. Lima Loop
9. Grounded (The Syn, 1967)
10. For Your Love (The Devil’s Disciples, 1965)
11. Flowerman (Demo – The Syn, 1967)
12. Flowerman (The Syn, 1967)
14. Electric Funeral (Demo – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, 1968)
15. Electric Funeral (Radio Fun Mix – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, 1968)
16. Cinnamon Touch
17. Get Yourself Together (Demo – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, 1968)
18. Created By Clive (The Syn, 1967)
19. Images Of You And Me (Radio Fun Mix – Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, 1968)
20. I Saw You! (Bang/Crash – Yes, 1969?/70? “Affirmative Duo”) (Banks/Bruford)
21. No Time
by All Music, Richie Unterberger
While he is most known as the first guitarist for Yes, Peter Banks passed through four other groups in the four years before he joined the band in August 1968. Much of this CD is devoted to odds and ends from those projects, yet the subtitle “The Pre-Yes Recordings from 1964-1968″ is a little deceptive. In fact, only a little more than half of the 22 tracks are from that era. The others are mysterious undated bits and pieces, most functioning as unnecessary arty “link” tracks and sounding as if they were recorded several decades later than the 1960s, although “Peter Gunn” is a live 1980 performance by the Peter Banks Band. What this manages to do is annoyingly impede the flow of rarities, which would indeed have sounded much more organic if Banks (who assembled the disc himself) had just slapped everything on in chronological order. Getting past the structural flaws to the bulk of the CD itself, it bundles a couple of songs (probably unreleased, although it’s not totally clear from the annotation) by his mid-’60s group the Devil’s Disciples; some but not all of the cuts from the 1967 singles by his fine, obscure psychedelic band Syn (which also included future Yes-man Chris Squire on bass), as well as a demo of one of those singles, “Flowerman”; and a few numbers by his subsequent, even more obscure psychedelic group, Mabel Greer’s Toyshop. Syn’s “14 Hour Technicolour Dream” is one of the greatest British psychedelic flower-power singles, and their “Grounded” is an excellent straight mod rock number; the Mabel Greer’s Toyshop cuts are okay but rather par-for-the-course British psychedelia, replete with the usual harmonies and slightly distorted guitar leads. The Devil’s Disciples tunes are nothing more than ordinary covers of Arthur Alexander’s “You Better Move On” and the Yardbirds’ “For Your Love.” Some of the Mabel Greer’s Toyshop songs are labeled as “radio fun” or “what bass?” mixes, yet the liner notes do not go into meaningful detail as to whether these are different mixes done in the 1960s, different mixes done recently, or how they are different in a way that should make listeners care. Banks has provided detailed and entertaining liner notes about many of the tracks, and a family tree of his progress through various groups up to Yes, yet manages not to make it entirely clear what the sources for all the vintage cuts were. There’s some good music here, but the unnecessarily obtuse packaging makes it hard to fully appreciate; in addition, the best cuts (by Syn) have long circulated on numerous collector-oriented British psychedelic rarity compilations.
Source: http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kiftxqr0ldke bb
by The Music Index
For many Peter Banks is the forgotten man of Yes which is a shame as Peter was a founder member of that band and as such an important part of the jigsaw. Although Peter likes to look forward and has released a number of fine solo albums I get the impression he is quite proud of his time in Yes and his pre-Yes incarnation. His previous project was Something’s Coming, a double CD containing radio and TV performances of Yes prior to his departure in 1970.
For this release Peter goes back to recordings made between 1964 and 1968 including his appearances in The Syn and Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, two names familiar to Yes fans as they precluded the creation of that band. As a document of what went before Yes, this is a fascinating dig into the past and includes material that would eventually appear on the first Yes album.
It is unlikely that this album will appeal to people other than those in the Yes circle, or those interested in British psychedelia. However there is a growing audience for archive material like this and all credit to Peter Banks for putting it all together. The sleeve is suitably reflective of the music contained inside and the copious sleeve notes are informative and entertaining. I look forward now to some reissued Flash material, or better still, some new stuff.
When it comes to English progressive rock music, the U.K.-based Voiceprint Records and their auxiliary label Blueprint have got it down to a science. Fans of English rock icons such as Robert Wyatt, Soft Machine, Roy Harper, Asia and Gong are among the many illustrious artists featured in the Voiceprint catalog. The Blueprint division has been quite active of late and among the label’s more intriguing offerings is a comprehensive compilation of early recordings retracing the career of U.K. guitar hero Peter Banks. Subtitled The Pre-Yes Years – Recordings From 1964-1968, the recently released Can I Play You Something? answers a number of questions regarding the groups Banks recorded with prior to joining Yes in 1968. While progressive rock fans are quite well aware of Banks’ early work with Yes and his following group Flash, Banks’ early career was something of an enigma – until now. Can I Play You Something? revives 21 sundry tracks including some fabulous sounding songs by the pre-Yes bands Syn and Mabel Greer’s Toyshop, both of which featured a young Pete Banks performing alongside Yes founder Chris Squire and Squire’s early songwriting ally Clive Bailey. Rough sounding demos and various mixes blend nicely with a number of rarely heard pop curios with the CD taking on the aura of a well documented bootleg. Anyone interested in the heady psychedelic pop scene of swinging London in the late ‘60s, and specifically about the evolution of Yes, is recommended to check out the well documented Can I Play You Something? www.voiceprint.co.uk