Steve Howe - Beginnings (Atlantic) 1976
1. "Doors of Sleep"
Steve Howe's first solo effort features Steve doing his own vocals. Unfortunately this drags down an otherwise stellar Yes-like album. Having said that, my favorite tracks on this disc are the instrumentals, although I do enjoy listening to this one from beginning to end. (Nostalgia plays a big part in this.) However, I can only imagine that if Jon Anderson had lent a hand in the vocal department this would have been considered a classic Yes album. "Australia" in particular would have been a cool Yes song. While I like the song as it stands, I still can't help but wish Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire were along for the ride. But who listens to a Steve Howe album for the singing anyhow? No, it's Steve's unique guitar style that is the focus of attention. (But darned if those vocals aren't distracting!) Of the instrumentals, the short acoustic track "Ram" is probably my favorite. It really displays Steve Howe's unique charisma and playing ability. I particularly like the slide guitar and the bit of banjo mixed into the song. My particular copy of this disc is Japanese and was a gift from a friend. (thanks James.)
Steve Howe - The Steve Howe Album (Atlantic) 1979
Unlike the cover art may suggest, Steve Howe's second solo outing does not sound like his band Yes. Rather what "The Steve Howe Album" is is a chance for Steve to branch out and explore other styles of music that would not fit into the confines of progressive/art rock. This album explores everything from bluegrass to rock, even some hints of country. The inside sleeve displays the variety of instruments that were used on this album. The song variety is just as wide. The first track "Pennants" is a more straight forward rock song. At least half of the tracks are played by Howe alone. "Surface Tension," is a composition for solo Spanish guitar. "Concerto in D, 2nd Movement" is a classical composition by Vivaldi. Other songs feature former Yes-men Alan White, Bill Bruford and Patrick Moraz. Found this remastered CD version in the used bins for $5.99.
Steve Howe - Turbulence (Relativity) 1991
A wise man once said, "Shut Up and Play Yer Guitar". That is exactly what Steve Howe did with "Turbulence". Steve doesn't need to sing, his guitar is his way of communicating, and what a wonderful way of communicating he has. I think most fans would agree that Steve's vocals were the weak point of his past solo albums. Also gone are the orchestral arrangements, classical experimentation and the occasional country twinge of his earlier solo albums. This may be a negative point to his many progressive rock fans who long for this sort of thing. It is obvious that Steve wasn't trying to create another Yes album. Shredheads will probably love this disc, even though I wouldn't really compare this to the Satriani's of the world. Unlike some instrumental albums that are merely a showcase for guitar pyrotechnics, Steve Howe offers a variety of moods and styles, covering everthing from from rock to classical to world music. Howe uses a lot of textures to create the mood for each song. His talent is stunning and his diversity is amazing. Despite the variety presented, however, I still think that "Turbulence" is one of Steve's most accessible albums. I can't imagine any fan of instrumental electric guitar music not enjoying this CD.
The song "Running the Human Race" reappeared on a later Howe album with lyrics.