Recorded at Nemo Studios, London, England 1979.
- Curious Electric [6:42]
- Each & Everyday [3:43]
- Bird Song [1:25]
- I Hear You Now [5:13]
- The Road [4:31]
- Far Away In Baagad [2:50]
- Love Is [5:13]
- One More Time [6:18]
- Thunder [2:14]
- A Play Within A Play [7:02]
Jon Anderson - vocals
Vangelis - All Instruments
Raphael Preston - acoustic guitar
This album is the first in a series of four 'Jon & Vangelis' albums after Jon Anderson sang the one song on the 1975 album 'Heaven & Hell'. It's also the freshest of the lot, the two friends evidently relishing the chance to finally work together on a full album with Jon temporarily having left Yes.
Improvisation is the word here, with Vangelis wandering through many short musical ideas and Jon Anderson making up lyrics along the way it seems - he is one of those lyricists who hardly ever make any sense but do make their lyrics sound good. Anyway, it's his voice that counts - an easy high-pitched voice that works wonderfully well with Vangelis' electronics. The album gives the impression of having been made in just a few sessions without any messing about with it afterwards, an impression which is confirmed in some interviews they gave about their work together.
They scored a minor hit with 'I Hear You Now' and other highlights include 'One More Time' and 'A Play Within A Play' (with its surprising outburst in the middle) but the overall quality of the music is consistently good. Some will find it all overly sweet and lovely (it must have presented a complete opposite to the punk movement of those days) but it makes for some nice easy listening, and anyway the "positive vibes" are clearly meant sincerely.
1999. Ivar de Vries
Originally released 1980 on Polydor. Jon and Vangelis alternated between their own material (Yes, Song of Seven, Blade Runner, Chariots of Fire) and these get-togethers. Some Yes fans might not take to Anderson changing genres at first; it takes some getting used to.
I have the LP. Baagad is not to be confused with Baghdad!
2004. John Sposato / USA
this is the best albumn I ever heard in my whole life.
2006. Henrique Colares / Brasil
After years of friendship and dabbling in collaborative efforts here and there, Jon Anderson and Vangelis finally got together to make a series of records under the moniker "Jon & Vangelis," all of which are pretty uneven. Listening to these releases overall, it often seems as if the two were trying hard to produce commercial work, but just by virtue of them being the spacey Yes lyricist and left-of-center Greek composer, sooner or later it was inevitable that that goal would be diverted.
Short Stories was their first and most spontaneous album as a duo. I'd say that Jon is generally the weaker link here. In considering the tracks, you have strange bedfellows indeed.
The most memorable and wholly non-commercial track of the album is its first, "Curious Electric". Vangelis carries this one all the way, creating a vivid sense of cinematic futurism: helicopter-like synth effects, bubbly organ, and bursts of percussion. It's no surprise that his soundtrack to Blade Runner was just a few meters down the career road. Unfortunately, the atmosphere set by Vangelis screeches to a halt with the pointless, meandering middle section allotted to Anderson.
Traveling along the commercial-noncommercial continuum, you have "Far Away in Baagad". The first two and a half minutes are loaded with Jon's shrill excesses which anticipate the future Celtic dreck of The Promise Ring, but this gradually dissolves into a fairly conventional ballad.
Moving further on, there's "The Road", marked by a gentle melody sung by Jon almost like a Southern hymnal; pleasing and easy, but probably not the stuff of hits. And at the total other end of the spectrum from "Curious Electric", you have the very commercially driven ballad "I Hear You Now".
I'm not overwhelmed listening to this, and some moments of it are actually rather grating. Still, Short Stories makes me appreciate a long since departed era of the music industry where an album that at least took some chances could see release on a major label and receive considerable exposure.
2003. Joe McGlinchey