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Mabel Greer’s Toyshop: New Way Of Life

Pre-Yes psychedelic band’s debut album – 46 years late.

Mabel Greer’s Toyshop were the band that eventually mutated into Yes in 1968 – although with mostly different members. Forty- six years on, original frontman Clive Bayley and drummer Bob Hagger have reunited and enlisted early Yes keysman Tony Kaye and erstwhile guitarist Billy Sherwood to strengthen their links to prog royalty.

NWOL is therefore the band’s long-belated debut, and includes a handful of new songs along with Bayley co-writes from the original era, some of which ended up on Yes’s 1969 debut.

Sadly, Sweetness and Beyond And Before don’t compare well to the Yes versions, as Bayley’s unremarkable voice can’t lend them the same otherworldly quality as Jon Anderson did.

Electric Funeral fares better, full of frantic organ and hyperactive bass, but the new songs sound a touch too bland to excite prog-heads or new fans, meaning that ultimately only Yes anoraks are likely to get excited by these Pete Bests of prog rolling back the years./o:p

Johnny Sharp
Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock