I could make this review simple: Jon Anderson‘s second solo album, 1980’s Song of Seven – the first album released after his first formal split with Yes – has been remastered and re-released, “expanded” with additional songs.
We all know about Jon’s amazing vocals, and whether or not you’re familiar with this disc already, you already know what the songs sound like. I will, though list my favorites: Catchy disc-opener “For You, For Me,” which is the sort of progressive rocker that was typical of prog’s crossover hits of the ’70s and ’80s; the energetic “Some Are Born,” with its sunny disposition and cool horn parts; “Don’t Forget (Nostalgia)” and “Heart of the Matter,” which have a very ’50s sock-hop influenced style and stands out as unique on this record; and “Take Your Time,” a sweetly swaying slow song that has a twangy-Americana-meets-the-carnival musical undercurrent.
One thing I might add, as well, is that if it’s been a long times since you last played some of these old progressive rock albums from the late ’70s and early ’80s – if, for example, like me, you’re a lifelong rocker but not a progressive rock superfan/historian – you may have forgotten just how varied the influences can be from song to song. Though I knew to expect greatness from Jon Anderson, Song of Seven was a much more diverse, interesting listen, beginning to end, than I had remembered or expected. Indeed, I listed my favorite individual songs above, but the entire disc was a great, nostalgic listening experience.
By the way, the “expanded” part of this addition is the inclusion of additional, “U.S. promotional” versions of “Some Are Born” and “Heart of the Matter,” expanding the album’s song count from its original nine to eleven.
Hardcore Jon Anderson fans might also enjoy this 13-minute YouTube video in which Esoteric Recordings’ Mark Powell interviews Jon Anderson about Song of Seven, coinciding with the timing of the album’s re-release. (Actually, even if you’re just a rock ‘n roll fan in general, it’s a pretty good interview you may enjoy.)
The remastered edition of Song of Seven was released on November 27, 2020. Next, on March 26, 2021, Esoteric Recordings will release a remastered and expanded edition of Jon’s very first solo album, Olias of Sunhillow. The remastered Olias of Sunhillow is already available for pre-order.