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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wishbone Ash

Not a HUGE favorite of mine, somewhat (understandably) forgotten, but in dragging out these albums after
years of not hearing them, they have their moments.

Formed in the UK in the early 1970's, Wishbone Ash were guitarists/vocalists Andy Powell and Ted Turner (apparently, they were one of the first bands to utilize twin lead guitars from what I read, not sure that really sounds right but whatever), bassist/vocalist Martin Turner, and drummer Steve Upton.

Fairly standard (for the era) hard rock with some jazz/classical influences thrown in there, the self titled debut (1970) is no masterpiece, but "Blind Eye" (Uriah Heep, a somewhat similar, and lesser, band, had a song by the same title) and "Queen of Torture" are decent generic stuff, the long tracks on side two go on (and on) a bit too long.

1971 saw the release of "Pilgrimage", sold fairly well, personally I don't like it much, more accoustic and folkish than the debut, which to me was not a great idea.....even LEADING OFF the album with an instrumental jazz piece.....I know people who love this album. I am not among them.

MUCH better, in fact what I consider their best studio effort is 1972's "Argus".....kind of pretentiously dated (in a good way) with it's themes of knights and swords and dragons and dungeons, etc, but they really do bring all the elements of their sound together nicely, skillfully blending bluesy hard rock and the prog/folk stuff that failed on "Pilgrimage"....."Time Was" and "Throw Down the Sword" are quite interesting, and as a whole, this is a quite good, 3-star album. This CD version contains, also, the contents of the 1972 EP "Live From Memphis"

"Wishbone Four" is not great either, another effort with far too much emphasis on the acoustic/folk
stuff....there are a pair of good tunes here ("Doctor" and "So Many Things To Say") but not really much here.

This band was a hard touring outfit with a reputation of being much better live than onstage, they were one of the classic second- or third-listed bands on the bill, opening for Deep Purple among others....obviously I never saw them, but the two disc "Live Dates' is a good one, one of the overlooked "Double Live" albums from the era of "double live" albums.....interesting to compare the versions of many (most) of the tracks here with their studio versions, in general the live efforts sound MUCH more inspired and energetic. Probably could have been pared down to a single album, but that's not how the 70's usually worked.

OK, after 1974 they made 1,563 albums with 1,482 lineups.....don't think I've ever heard a note off of any of them and can't really say I want to, I'm quite sure we all had the general idea by now.....anyway, if you love you some post-1974 Wishbone Ash and feel they have been slandered here, well, life can be so hard.

WISHBONE ASH-01 Blind Eye/02 Lady Whiskey/03 Errors of My Way/04 Queen of Torture/05 Handy/06 Phoenix

PILGRIMAGE-01 Vas Dis/02 The Pilgrim/03 Jail Bait/04 Alone/05 Lullaby/06 Valediction/07 Where Were You Tomorrow/08 Jail Bait (Live)

ARGUS-01 Time Was/02 Sometime World/03 Blowin' Free/04 The King Will Come/05 Leaf and
Stream/06 Warrior/07 Throw Down the Sword/08 Jail bait (Live)/09 The Pilgrim (Live)/10 Phoenix (Live)/11 No Easy Road

WISHBONE FOUR-01 So Many Things to Say/02 Ballad of the Beacon/03 No Easy Road/04 Everybody Needs a Friend/05 Doctor/06 Sorrel/07 Sing Out the Song/08 Rock N Roll Widow

LIVE DATES DISC 1-01 The King Will Come/02 Warrior/03 Throw Down the Sword/04 Rock n Roll Widow/05 Ballad of the Beacon/06 Baby What You Want Me To Do/07 Phoenix

LIVE DATES DISC 2-01 The Pilgrim/02 Blowin' Free/03 Jail Bait/04 Lady Whiskey/05 Phoenix






    LIVE D1

    LIVE D2

  2. I have my dad's old records. I know Argus is one of them. There's like 100 or so. It seems like there's at least a second record from these dudes because it seems like I had been confused about which was the title and which was the band name at some point. I've never listened to them though.

  3. Thanks for these. They were massive in the UK in the early 70s. Argus in particular - everyone had a copy. For anyone that doesn't know them, I'd maybe compare them a bit to the Southern Rock sound of the US - the twin guitar duelling etc.....

  4. Great comments describing this band, I'm still laughing about the 1563 albums they have made