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Wishbone Ash - Twin Barrels Burning CD (album) cover


Wishbone Ash


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1.97 | 63 ratings

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2 stars I was pretty surprised the first time I saw Wishbone Ash referred to as a prog-related band. Granted, this is largely based on Argus, a great album but really the odd man out for a band whose career is closing in on forty years and two dozen albums.

And I’m not one to quibble about where the progressive lines should be drawn either, being a fan of several bands that have dubious claims to that label.

But whatever their earlier career represented, this particular album doesn’t fall into any category except heavily blues-influenced hard rock. The sound here is far closer to the Allman Brothers than it is to Genesis. Guitarist Andy Powell and drummer Steve Upton were the only remaining original members by this point, and Upton would be gone before the end of the decade. John Wetton had abandoned the band after a brief stint to form Asia. And to top all that off, it was the dawn of the 80s, and we all know what that did to most bands that were even passingly progressive.

Nothing really stands out much. There are guitar-god love songs (“Genevieve”), back- seat lust songs (“Can’t Fight Love”), missing-my-gal-so-I’m-calling-her-in-the-middle-of- the-night-songs (“Hold On”), picking up skank on the street songs (“Streets of Shame”), you and me against the world songs (“Wind Up”), and a couple of god’s gift to women songs (“Can’t Fight Love”, “No More Lonely Nights”). The only track that really stands out is “Angels Have Mercy”, and that’s only because the mix on this one is particularly fuzzy, and I’m left to wonder if that one was recorded at another time and simply used to fill time here.

Weaving all of this together is a two-guitar attack that is sort of like the twin-axe attack the band was known for in the 70s, but not quite. In most cases there is a definitive lead guitar, with the other embellishing somewhat but mostly just providing accompaniment.

It’s hard to say why the band went this route on the album, except to say they were probably pressured to deliver one for their management or label, and considering the sketchy lineup this may have been the safe route. These are all songs that could be easily done live as well, and since live concerts are what carried the band through this decade, that would have been a pretty good business decision. Anyway, lots of screaming guitar, and not too much spark on drums, but passable.

If you’re a big Wishbone Ash fan you more than likely already own this. If you were a casual fan of the band back in the early 80s (like me), this will most likely be a letdown. If you like The Duane Allman style of blues-rocking then this album will appeal to you. Otherwise, get Argus, or just keep shopping. Two stars.


ClemofNazareth | 2/5 |


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