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Wishbone Ash - Argus CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


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4.24 | 711 ratings

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5 stars From the early 1970's through the early 1980's, New Orleans was home to a singular musical venue, the Warehouse. On Tchoupitoulas St. not too far upriver from Downtown New Orleans, this 'converted' old railroad warehouse witnessed legendary New Year's Eve performances by the Allman Brothers and early in their career performances by Yes, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and Elton John. Wishbone Ash was also a regular performing group.

Indeed, Wishbone Ash had a particular affinity for New Orleans and the Warehouse. However, it is ironic that, by the time I first saw them in early 1975, Laurie Wisefield had already replaced the departed Ted Turner and the performance occurred at the old University of New Orleans Field House. Touring their recently released, There's the Rub; the back-up band was Camel. If only I appreciated Camel at that time! Andy, Martin, Laurie, and Steve were certainly convincing, especially with FUBB.

When I finally saw Wishbone Ash at the Warehouse in early 1976, they were touring their unfortunate Locked In album. To make matters worse, our heroes were upstaged by some new back-up band known as Styx . . . . Mercifully, by the end of 1976 Wishbone Ash 'redeemed' themselves with New England In a sense, though, 1972's Argus has abided through these years as the band's iconic statement.

It would appear to me that the harmony, dual lead guitar efforts of Andy Powell/ Ted Turner on Argus 'set the stage' for, as a primary example, Boston's first album in 1976. For high school, quasi-performers, 'Blowin' Free,' 'Warrior,' and 'Throw Down the Sword' became intense pieces for study and emulation. With his Gibson Flying V guitar, Andy Powell was the ostensible dominant lead in the band. However, Ted Turner demonstrated his 'chops' in a noteworthy way through his solo on 'The King Will Come.' On bass and drums, Martin Turner and Steve Upton comprised an effective rhythm section with Martin's bass lines in 'Time Was' and 'Sometime World' standing out. Yes, I was in a 'garage band' in the mid-seventies in which we butchered not only the music of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Jimi Hendrix, but also Wishbone Ash.

To this day, Argus produces an almost ineffable reaction in me. The musicality of this album is legendary. But there is something truly mythic, atavistic, and archetypal to Argus. The enduring legacies of Glastonbury and Arthur, C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien are 'introduced' to us by a 'gatekeeper' we know as Argus. I believe we followers of progressive rock recognize certain years that are watersheds in development. In 1972, we were given Close to the Edge, Thick as a Brick, Foxtrot, Can't Buy a Thrill, Trilogy, and Argus. In 'Time Flies,' on Porcupine Tree's The Incident, Steven Wilson reminds us of his year of birth, 1967, also the year of the releases of Sgt. Pepper and Are You Experienced? What more pertinent question could a 'gatekeeper' album pose than, 'Are you experienced; not necessarily stoned, but beautiful?'

Time truly flies.

ken_scrbrgh | 5/5 |


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