About the Album:
In 1983, Yes enjoyed a career revitalization with 90125, an album featuring Trevor Rabin along with Yes alums Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Alan White, and Tony Kaye. By decade’s end, Anderson tired of the more commercial fare and reunited with Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, and Bill Bruford – the lineup from Yes’ classic early ‘70s years. Without rights to the Yes name, the foursome released a self-titled album under the name Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.
The quartet launched work on a second album in 1990. At the same time, the Rabin-led version of Yes was heading back to the studio as well. “Bowing to record company pressure…Squire and Anderson came up with the idea of merging both projects, which resulted in the 1991 album Union.” WK “This was an album that couldn’t possibly have met the expectations inherent in the array of talent involved. The material is reasonably solid, and under ordinary circumstances this album would have been considered just fine, if not exceptional.” BE
It wasn’t really a collaborative effort, but a merger of the two separate projects. It is largely a second ABWH album with four cuts from the Rabin lineup mixed in. As for those four cuts, “The More We Live was the product of a new writing partnership between Chris Squire and Billy Sherwood, who had briefly been considered as replacement for Jon Anderson in the Rabin-led version of Yes. The song featured extensive (but uncredited) vocal and instrumental contributions from Sherwood.” WK
Two other Squire/Sherwood pieces, “Say Goodbye” and “Love Conquers All,” were demoed for the album but were not used. “The former appeared in a re-recorded version on the second World Trade album, and the latter was on Yesyears. Both original demos are on the first Conspiracy album by Squire/Sherwood.” WK
The most prominent song from this lineup was the “Trevor Rabin/Chris Squire-composed Lift Me Up [which] seems a forced exercise in heaviness.” BE It did, however, give the album its most successful song, landing on top of the album rock chart.
That song, “Saving My Heart and Miracle of Life were largely demos: Rabin had been planning to record them properly and was taken by surprise that they were used as they were (with vocals from Anderson added).” WK
Meanwhile, ABWH had collected demos for an album that was to be called Dialogue. “The only surviving piece to make it onto Union was Take the Water to the Mountain. Both the main riff of I Would Have Waited Forever and the 9/4 riff in Silent Talking can be heard on Steve Howe’s solo album Turbulence, released about the same time.” WK
“Masquerade was a solo piece Howe had recorded some time before, included at the last minute when the record company requested a solo guitar piece from him.” WK It is “one of the most beautiful classical guitar showcases of his Yes career” BE and “earned the album a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.” WK
Among the ABWH material, “I Would Have Waited Forever shows off the group’s vocalizing (by Chris Squire and Jon Anderson) at its most melodic.” BE while Without Hope You Cannot Start the Day “seems more like a composed-by-numbers piece than a truly inspired song.” BE “Evensong was a version of Bruford and session bassist Tony Levin’s duet from the ABWH tour.” WK
None of the material here would rate alongside the better (forget the best) tracks from any of the group's 1971-1974 albums. Perhaps the defects revealed the real purpose of this album, which wasn’t so much to make a definitive statement by any of the participants, but rather to show the flag of the reunited band, which it did.” BE
The album “was supported by a massive tour that filled arenas with at least two generations of fans.” BE Both the fans and the band praised it as one of Yes’ best tours. WK The album was the last studio effort by Yes to go gold, but was “not as well-received” WK as previous albums from the band. Union marked the final Yes album to feature Bill Bruford as the group returned to the Rabin-led lineup. However, Howe and Wakeman would return to the fold in 1996.
Notes: The European edition of the album also included “Give & Take,” which was the B-side of “Lift Me Up.”