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Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub CD (album) cover


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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars First of all, a caveat: be warned that my above four-star rating is not meant to suggest that this album is an "excellent addition to any prog music collection" (as that rating would normally imply here). While THERE'S THE RUB is an excellent album, it is by no means progressive rock, but a straight-forward rock and roll album. Many long-time prog devotees enjoy Wishbone Ash, granted, but I can't in good conscience recommend this one to "any" prog fan, as there are doubtless those among us who eschew any and all unadulterated rock in favour of its "progressive" offshoots. That "disclaimer" out of the way, on to the review proper:

In 1974, veteran English rockers Wishbone Ash recorded their fifth studio album, THERE'S THE RUB. (The title is both a quote from Shakespeare, and a reference to the Hipgnosis cover photo of a cricket player rubbing a cricket ball clean on his trousers, in preparation for a pitch.) By '74, original second lead guitarist Ted Turner (brother of bassist/lead vocalist Martin) had left the band. He was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Laurie Wisefield, who ably fills the departed Turner's shoes here, and thus the group's trademark dual lead guitar sound (accompanied by fine vocal harmonies) survived intact.

I first bought this album in the year of its release. It was my first Wishbone Ash album (but not to be my last!), though I was already familiar with the band, thanks to my "cool" older sister, who had a copy of their masterwork ARGUS. I was led to my purchase through a glowing review in Circus (I was a devoted reader of that old rock mag), and when I got the album home, I found that the reviewer had not steered me wrong. This is a tasty slice of classic rock and roll, have no doubt!

Followers of the band (or of 70s guitar rock in general) should find plenty to please them here. The opening track, "Silver Shoes" is a near-seven minute portrait of an aging groupie, told via Martin Turner's plaintive vocals: "Silver lady, lost in a haze - regretting what you are. The memory of your claim to fame has left a bitter scar. It hurts when people know you're not a movie star. It's harder now than yesterday, as the lines begin to show." The song is somewhat slow in tempo, but it grows in power, and certainly rocks. The accomplished twin guitars make their presence felt right away, and Turner's crunching, floor-shaking bass is especially solid - as it is on entire album.

Next up, "Don't Come Back" jacks up the pace. This rocker, which gives the "kiss off" to an unfaithful lover, has some particularly good axe work. Turn it up, and break out the air guitar!

"Persephone" slows things down through a melancholy, yet musically-powerful look at a fading beauty and actress. We get some pretty, evocative mandolin from guitarist Andy Powell, as well as some truly soaring lead - very nice indeed!

Track four, "Hometown," is another out-and-out rocker, and a joyous celebration of how it feels to travel back to one's long-missed place of origin. (I can relate..) This one is also a great candidate for dusting off the old air guitar!

"Lady Jay" is my overall favourite. The lyrics (based on a Dartmoor folk legend) tell a moving, tragic tale of forbidden love across class lines, leading to jealousy, suicide and heartbreak: "She found Death's open arms, and lay in them in grace - I watched as icy fingers clawed her lovely face. far beyond the sand, I will take your hand - the spirit of our love will live forever. Far beyond the clouds, we will laugh aloud - the spirit of our love will live again." Some banjo in the mix (courtesy of Wisefield) helps give this magnificent song added depth and an appropriate folk-like feel, while some Spanish-flavoured lead imparts stirring beauty and emotion. I can honestly say this is one of my favourite Wishbone songs, and easily able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with anything from their catalogue.

The album closes with "F.U.B.B." (Rumour has it the initials stand for 'F***ed Up Beyond Belief.") (Ha!) If that is so, this nine-and-a-half minute instrumental opus certainly doesn't suit its title. The piece starts out slow, with throbbing, gutsy bass, ringing guitars, and hard-hitting -- yet precise - drums, then gradually builds in power. About two-thirds of the way through, there's a transition to a funky end section with rhythmically-strummed guitar, singing lead, precision high hat, and chugging bass. (In '74, disco was a force in the land, but if that sappy, repetitive dance music had ever sounded this good, I would have been a confirmed fan, instead of a committed member of the sneering, resignedly-seated "disco sucks" brigade.) Great fun, and a fine selection for the highway!

Thus, THERE'S THE RUB is a terrific classic rock album, and a deserving addition to any Wishbone Ash fan's collection. Put it on, crank it up, and ROCK OUT!

Report this review (#73756)
Posted Saturday, April 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wishbone Ash were particularly productive in the 1970s (and so are they nowadays). And even if the album may be underestimated, it still contains some of the best songs WA ever recorded. Its strongest feature is that there is only six songs on it and all are extremely well refined, all the inconsistencies cut out. Not a single weak spot on this album, every song is excellent. Persephone, Lady Jay and FUBB are one of my personal all-time favourites. On There's the Rub Andy Powell and Ted Turner reach the highest level of guitar craft. This album is recomended to anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Report this review (#80584)
Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

After the obviously uninspired Wishbone Four album, Ted Turner left the band to pursue (to my knowledge) non-musical issues in life. In came second guitarist Laurie Wisefield and to the result of the album, his input was actually quite positive as TTR is a vast improvement on its studio predecessor. Not that the album brings you back to the awesome grandeur of Argus, far from it, but this is clearly the best post-Ted Turner album in WA's lengthy career. A rather strange and bland artwork about crickett (the same year that Roy Harper would release HQ also about the same weird gamesport) is "gracing" the sleeve.

But , please do not expect the same sound as on their first three albums (or anything really progressive for that matter) that most progheads appreciate so much: rather now we have a much more compact and concise unit playing a hard rock with the band having a hard time finding its definite stride on the first side of the album: with only the brilliant Persephone as a highlight, the rest of the tracks are of the same calibre as their previous WF. However the second side shines in all its glory with the two solar tracks: the moody Lady Jay and the back-to-the-roots FUBB (Fµcked Up Beyond Belief) where the Ash kicks you ass as much as on their debut album. Truly an enjoyment.

If this album seems like the new start for WA, I can only say that I was quickly disillusioned when the following Locked In and New England arrived. But between those two albums and this one is a huge time-gap (18 months I believe) where the band proceeded to conquer the US market and actually resettled there. And while their success would climb to them being a fixture on the Stadium Rock circle, their will to do aventurous albums will gradually completely disappear and their output will be simply run-of-the-mill everyday business-as-usual.

Although remaining one of their four best album in their lengthy career, this album is hardly essential to progheads, but will certainly still please them, still.

Report this review (#88312)
Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars When individuals put forward that "There's The Rub" is not a progressive rock album they obviously haven't listened to the experimental twin lead harmony guitar passages found in all tracks as well as the revolutionary production from Bill S******** (difficult surname to spell). From the first passages of "Silver Shoes" then the mind-boggling dual lead riff in that song "hits you right between the eyes" as it were; I was blown away. Sure there are some moments of pure Hard Rock but it is still prog ie. still experimental. Listen to "Don't Come Back" and tell me you'd heard something that new and exciting prior to 1974 (yes 1974!). The six titles are pure works of genius and FUBB is one of *the* most awe inspiring pieces of music that has ever been performed. In fact I have no qualms in saying that "There's The Rub" is my favourite album of all-time. Big statement! But I've been saying it since 1977 when I first heard it and the only albums to me that get close to it are "Thick As A Brick" (Tull), "Free Hand" (Gentle Giant), "Moving Waves" (Focus), "Argus" (Wishbone Ash) and "The Absolute Game" (The Skids....only band in this list who are not classified as prog. but they should be; there should be a new category called Prog Punk!) GO AHEAD AND BUY THERE"S THE RUB................IT"S MONUMENTAL.
Report this review (#94893)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Four and a half stars for me really. My second favorite album from my favorite band. Has to be one of best produced albums I ever heard. A little bit of hard rock, a little bit of prog and a little bit of folk. A wonderful combination. Not what most would call a prog album but they were doing things with two guitars that no one was. In my book innovation is progression.
Report this review (#107487)
Posted Sunday, January 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album was my entrance to the world of WISHBONE ASH, and trust me, it's a good and rewarding start. It contains six longish compositions, all of them utilising excellent guitar duet interplays - a band's trademark.

"There's The Rub" is more rocky and less conceptual compared to the band's masterpiece "Argus" but it provides really enjoyable experience of listening: relatively simple structure of the songs is driven by good rocking bass lines and drums, augmented with flashy guitar virtuosity without being too pretentious: rockier "Don't Come Back" and excellent driving song "Hometown" are the two fine examples. "Lady Jay" and "F. U. B. B." have slightly epic feel.

Band's technique and soundscapes are rising on a new level here: among the band's trademark - two guitar playing in thirds - you can find traces of Hendrix's style; expressive slides and bendings, and the reinforcement with other instruments is worth mentioning too: mandolin fits nicely (in "Lady Jay", and reminds me a bit of ZEPPELIN of the same period), and there are occasional touches of synthesizer, but don't expect any Wakeman here: just a few backwards-played-like sounds to enrich the musical picture, most notably on side B.

"F. U. B. B." is an excellent closer for the album, a long instrumental piece with nice bass work, and guitars that got warmer during the increasing dynamics of the composition, reaching the climax in heavy panned guitar solos in stereo field. Brilliant. The album ends with a lion's roar. Maybe useless, but remarkable.

The only compliant I can address is not about the very ingredients of the album; personally, I think the title (and a front cover with slightly sexual implications accordingly) is just a cheap joke or perhaps it was aiming at the market, but it had nothing to do with the major feeling of the music itself, really. I'm strongly advising you to avoid (or reluctantly digest) the cover and the title of the album, and then to listen to the album with open mind.

This is the band and the album that both well deserve to be called prog-related; even if it's not a progressive rock in a strict sense, no purist should overlook this one easily.

Really, really nice job indeed. Especially if you're into seventies rock.

Report this review (#107523)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars To be or not to be a good album? That is the question.

With "There's the rub", Wishbone Ash endured the first line up change of their career. Out went a disenchanted Ted Turner, to be replaced by guitarist Laurie Wisefield. Wisefield had been in the band HOME who had toured with Wishbone Ash, his contribution to HOME's superb third album "The alchemist" being of particular note.

The album title is taken from Hamlet's "To be or not to be.." soliloquy in Shakespeare's play of that name. This becomes a pun in the sleeve imagery of a cricket player preparing the ball before a delivery.

To address the all too obvious production issues which arose with "Wishbone Four" which the band produced themselves, Eagles producer Bill Szymczyk (20,000 points in Scrabble!) was brought in. The band relocated to Florida for the recording sessions at Criteria Recording studios, also used by Eric Clapton and the Bee Gees.

The differences are immediately apparent on the opening "Silver shoes". An otherwise fairly ordinary guitar rock song is exploited to the full through the crisp production. The song represents the album well. The prog influences of "Argus" are largely left aside (as they were on "Four") in favour of high quality rock songs. Most of these are certainly extended, but the structures remain relatively straight-forward.

Occasionally, such as on "Persephone", we have something more meaty. This slower number is vaguely similar to "Everybody needs a friend", with some fine twin guitar work and a strong melody. The other slower track of the album is the folk influenced "Lady Jay", the lyrics of which were inspired by an English west country folk legend. The song is a sort of cross between "Warrior" and "Leaf and stream".

The final track, "F.U.B.B." takes its title from a variation on the US army term SNAFU (one internet dictionary describes it as "Fouled Up Beyond Belief"). This lengthy instrumental builds from a solo bass guitar intro through a series of fine guitar workouts. The early part of the track tends to plod along a bit, until the pace is raised and a more dynamic element is introduced, with the album closing on a high.

"There's the rub" restored much of Wishbone Ash's credibility after the lacklustre "Wishbone four". Unfortunately, the record company seemed to have lost faith, and without the appropriate promotion the album failed to sell well. Not a great deal for those looking for traditional prog here, but a fine well produced album nonetheless.

Report this review (#116933)
Posted Saturday, March 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Whether Wishbone Ash should be seen as progressive rock or just plain rock has been bandied about, tossed, sliced, spliced, analyzed and been even dragged through an MRI. That their brand of dual electric guitar attack preferred a more British flavor than the American versions (the Allman Brothers Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd come to mind) is abundantly clear. The previous "Live Dates" was one of the greatest live albums ever and of any category, loaded with extensive guitar jams that were simply astonishing. "There's the Rub" signaled the replacement of Ted Turner with Home's Laurie Wisefield, which frankly didn't exactly revolutionize their already original style. It was also recorded in Miami, Florida with the eminent producer Bill Szymczyk (not that scary: "Shim chick") with stunning Hipgnosis artwork (ah, those yellow pants!) and some sunny material that could really please any rock fan. "Silver Shoes" provides an acoustic intro that slowly develops into a classic Bone boogie with both axes laying down some intricate criss-cross patterns, Martin Turner's high-pitched vocals are pleasant as always, while his adept bass rumbles on unafraid. Steve Upton is your steady yet classic British rock drummer (ŕ la Chris Slade, Roger Taylor or Paul Thompson). Obviously, Andy Powell steers this into a mid-section with a whopping solo, careening wildly, searching out with Laurie those speedy notes that chill the spine. "Don't Come Back" has a little boogie component that makes their rock 'n roll so attractive, a good driving tune that has little proggy frills but gets the job done, again focusing on some multiple simultaneous fret leads, the main solo a fiery explosion that shudders and simmers with intense fury. The third track is the first of two absolute progressive jewels that must be heard by all progfans, the quality so complete: "Persephone" is a soaring lullaby that would of fitted nicely in the Camel catalogue, a gentle lilt that builds on a majestic melody that is created to build up to a crescendo, a chorus that has emotion and power, colored by some guest organ and synthesizer ornamentations but also featuring a brief mandolin stroke , just before the first two massive electric guitar solos that would rival all the Gilmours, Hacketts and Latimers. Martin Turner's vocal actually does sound like Sting's (when he was still teaching class though). The third axe flight that ends this epic track is sheer genius, sizzling with unbridled intensity, a luminous laser in the night sky. "Hometown" is a return to the rock club approach, with a distinctive "southern" feel (a nod to the two hometown rebel boogie bands mentioned above), lots a "gueetar fixin's" abound, a fun track that will not stun or disappoint. "Lady Jay" is a more European take with lyrics based on Dartmoor folk legend (Dartmoor "ain't in Georgia, ah, ashure ya"), a lumbering serenade to a lady that again focuses on some inspired medieval "chanson de geste" playing but with decidedly electric instrumentation (a bit like a harder John Barleycorn Must Die) and again a swerving dual solo. "F.U.B.B" is the second masterpiece, a mammoth bass groove-led steamroller that is impossible to resist, an immediate mind stunner that offers no excuse to explore some scintillating guitar swaths with utter disdain, imperial in its authority and devastating in its delivery. The two guitars propel this rhythmic arrangement into various sonic pockets, but always ultimately returning to that familiar and pitiless groove. As good an example of progressive "in unison" guitar work ever recorded. Just when you think the track is over, it suddenly kicks into a second life conga-infested supernova, with both Powell and Wisefield ripping their hot guitars with manic bravado, screeching towards that elusive musical hysteria we all love and rarely find. A fine old distraction from all the recent heavy prog. 4 biscuits.
Report this review (#169892)
Posted Sunday, May 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wishbone Ash Four was a great album but hard to expect another solid release so soon after, especially with a line up change of Laurie Wisefield on vocal and guitar on There's The Rub. In many respects Laurie Wisefield was a very clever addition which helped cement WA's foothold through the turbulent mid to late 70's. Silver Shoes is an unusual start to the album with a slow start and tinkling keys but it eventually gets going after a couple of minutes sharing a great chorus and shifting riffs, trademark Wishbone Ash.' Don't Come Back' is another stereotype rock and roll number but the next song Persephone is a classic ballad like number sharing Wisefield and Martin Turner amongst the credits. Hometown returns to more rock and roll before Lady Jay brings the ballad sound back. ' F.U.B.B closes the album off with arguably the most progressive song on this release. There is a definite consistent sound on There's The Rub and is definitely one of Wish Bone Ashe's strongest studio releases regardless of their change in direction.
Report this review (#176904)
Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars The Folk-Country-Blues-rock of Silver Shoes opens this great but underrated album. The beautiful, almost epic ballad Persephone and the experimental, funky instrumental F.U.B.B are also among Wishbone Ash's very best and most progressive pieces ever.

The intro to Don't Come Back is also great, with fantastic guitar work and a very loud and bottom bass sound otherwise heard only in Symphonic Prog. However, after the intro the song settles into a boogie grove that would have made the song boring if it wasn't for some good breaks along the way. Hometown is also not too interesting from a prog perspective. But a decent rock song.

Lady Jay, on the other hand, is a very nice folky semi-ballad that grew on me a lot since I first heard it. As usual on Wishbone Ash albums the guitar work is amazing. One thing that stands out on this album, however, is the strong presence on several tracks of mandolin, banjo and steel guitar. This gives the album a very nice folky, sometimes country feel. There are also some simple keyboards in the background on some parts, but never in the foreground. The bass guitar is loud and has a really great bottom sound. It is also true, I believe, that this album is better recorded and produced than their earlier albums. It sounds really good!

For me this is the best Wishbone Ash album!

Report this review (#185246)
Posted Friday, October 10, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars There's the rub is fifth studio album of this legendary band. While they never reaches again on any record they releases through the years the tightness and greatness of Argus, Wishbone Ash manage to come to the shore with another good album after kinda diseppointing prior album from 1973. This album was my introduction to the bands releases along with Number the brave in 1998. Still enjoy very much both recordings today, and considered that this album is no doubt a good one but I don't know if must be called progressive. In those days maybe was considered prog rock but if you listen the album today after 35 yers is no more that progressive as it was then, neverthe less a good album who desearve attention. In that period one of the main composers of the band left them - Ted Turner. He was replacd by Laurie Wisefield who plays guitar and vocal parts here, also he integrate very well in Ash's sound and become short after an respected musician in the band. The music as I said is not progressive as we know today, is more towards hard rock with some prog leanings her and there. The best pieces are to me: Silver shoes and the instrumental one FUBB (Fucked Up Beyond Belief) clocking around 9.30 minutes shows the talent of this band and specialy of the twin guitarists Powell and Wiesefield, great tune, among their best piece in that period, the rest is ok , not bad but neighter something special. Sometimes they remind me of Blue Oyster Cult, but less heavier . Any way There's the rub desearve without hestation full 3 stars, more like 3.5, a good album in Wishbone Ash career but apart from other bands releases from that period this album is not an excellent one, is only good. Anyone intrested to discover or rediscover the '70's classics must try this one, not really recommended but worth investigate from time to time.

Report this review (#201199)
Posted Saturday, January 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Best produced album ever...?

Listening to all albums from WA is, for sure, like going through a roller-coaster ride! Some are great, some even fantastic - but a couple are embarrasing.

After their famous and well played album, Argus, the follow-up, Wishbone Four, was surprisingly amatourish. Not only was the production below mediocre - even the group sounded like it was a demo for their first album.

But all of that was forgiven when the masterpiece There´s The Rub was released. It´s hard to believe that this actually was in 1974! Wow! That sound! Bill Szymczyk really took all of the creativity and talent from these guys when he produced this vinyl. Honestly I can´t think of ANY album that sounds better than this one!

But, of cause, in the end it is the songs that matters. And it seems like WA got very inspired as they introduced Laurie Wisefield into the band. Never before have their music been so 100 % well structured. All of the six songs here are way above the ordinary rock song - even the more straightforward ones have some originality that makes them very listenable (Don´t come back, Hometown).


Silver Shoes - This song starts off in a quiet way. One can almost believe that they have gone country or soft-rock. But after the first verse the song starts to get "bigger" and half way through we are listening to an unusual sort of epic slow rock with un upspeed solo in it. It´s very seldom I hear songs with this structure. The lyrics are believable and Martin Turner sings with passion.

Persephone - Many have critized Martin Turner because of his song talent - or lack of it! But I must say that on every other album he actually sings very good. And on this song I wouldn´t exchange him with no other singer. The mood he and the band creates in Persephone is absolutely stunning! Listening to it in headphones is an experience - there are allways new sounds and instruments to explore. The solo´s in the middle of the song is so melancholy. Bill Szymczyk really took his time to fill this song with beautiful things.

Lady Jay - This is the song for those who miss the sound of Argus. It has the same type of arrangement and the twin guitars sounds the same. The album is produced in USA but this song has a definite english touch. Like Silver Shoes and Persephone this is a song with a tragic theme.

F.U.B.B - Maybe their magnum opus when it comes to showing off their talents? Just listen to the sound of Turners bass on this one! It goes right to your spine! People who don´t appreciate instrumentals may find this song repetitive but this song is made for those who enjoy musicianship! And the best thing is that when F.U.B.B seems to reach the end - it gets better!

All in all - one of the 10 best albums made in history. And THE best produced album ever.

Report this review (#256670)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Review #2 Wishbone Ash's 1974 album There's The Rub

For starters, I agree with others that state this is one of the best produced albums ever.

The prog nature of There's The Rub comes with the brilliant, experimental twin lead guitar manoeuvrings...... yes manoeuvrings! There's The Rub is a journey of sorts, the interplay between"new boy" Laurie Wisefeild and "the older statesman" Andy Powell (who was only 24 at the time!) was to this listener ...spine tingling. The previous album Wishbone Four sounded like a relic of a bygone era compared to this futuristic output. The harmony was better, the songs/music were life changing and I was on cloud ten.

The weakest song on the album is "Hometown" Allman Brothers copy if you've ever heard one but even then it is a good track. All the others are 5 star raters. Silver Shoes, Don't Come Back, Persephone, Lady Jay and F*U*B*B*......a mixture of hard edge stuff with melodic, more tempered classics.

The thing that sets apart WA is that their music always had a sophisticated, melodic, experimental side to it. And I put that in the prog category. There were some latter offerings from Wishbone that were awful (Twin Barrels Burning and Raw To The Bone) but There's The Rub is an album that is unique for it's innovation both in production and playing.

The album cover is brilliant. Many individuals from countries other than Britain, Australia, etc think its rude i.e. something to do with masturbation or something ridiculous like that. But it is not. Wishbone Ash wanted people to know that they were English, even though they sort of had an American sound on this record. This was their first album recorded in America and they would be tax exiles in the US for a number of years after this. So the close up is of a cricketer rubbing a cricket ball near his crotch. This is a practice performed by all bowlers (pitchers for a baseball analogy), where they rub one side to make it shiny and roughen the other side so that when the ball is bowled (pitched) it will swing in the air to deceive the batsman (batter). So There's the Rub!

Five big ones.

Report this review (#329406)
Posted Monday, November 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Exit Turner and welcome Wisefield is a good introduction for this fifth "Wishbone Ash" album.

One could have been scared by this change in personnel, but actually he is handing over the charge with conviction. Just listen to the excellent opening number "Silver Shoes" to be re-assured. It is a great classic WA song for sure.

So far, I was only disappointed by their sophomore album and this "Rub" one is definitely another good album of theirs. Rock fans: you should take the time and listen to this work; you would be rewarded/delighted.

For progheads, the story might be different but the music is so good that you should be interested with all these great and solid guitar solos ("Don't Come Back").

There are only six songs on this album, which means that most of them are of decent length, which is always a good sign while listening to a "Wishbone Ash" album. The same and pleasant music is displayed all the way through during "Rub". There are no such weak moments as available during "Four" (maybe the funky "Hometown" to be fully honest).

One of the gorgeous parts from this album is the excellent instrumental that can be discovered during "Persephone". Do I need to mention the instruments?

The long closing and instrumental number starts in a mid tempo which has seriously influenced "You Keep On Moving" from the Purple ("Come Taste The Band" in 1975). The magnification of the twin guitar which is the trade mark from this band is again superbly highlighted during this long track. It is another highlight of course.

I will upgrade this great rock album to four stars (from a seven out of ten rating). This rating is a bit stretched on the upside though.

I can cope with some purists who would claim that the band didn't produce a lot of prog during their long career. And they are right.

Report this review (#338476)
Posted Monday, November 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't understand why this is considered not to be a prog-album. All the elements are there: extended songs, lots of tempo-changes within the songs, unexpected chordchanges and not-so-average melody-lines.

There's not much keyboard (only as extra taste here-and-there) but there's alot going on with the stringinstruments (guitar, slideguitar, mandolin, etc.). It would be weird to call this classic rock, as it is not a genre in itself. Guitar-rock would be more suitable, but then Wishbone Ash is much more progressive than say Lynyrd Skynyrd, Status Quo, Eagles or Bachman-Turner Overdrive.

That being said, onto the album; the band is know for it's twin-leadguitar approach and heavy bassguitar. The drumming is steady and the vocals are mediocre, wich is maybe the reason the band never made it big (as with Camel).

The album kicks off with the rather enjoyable but straight forward melodic rocker Silver Shoes with its very catchy, melancholic refrain.

Don't Come Back and Homewtown are boogie-influenced rock tracks with aggressive bass- and guitarlicks and leads.

Persephone is one of those seventies epic semiballads (like Queen's White Queen or Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven etc.), with a lot of dynamics and loads and loads of leadguitar. It is even similar (but better) to Camel's Mystic Queen.

Lady Jay is more a folky rocksong, but works very well.

The longest piece is a real Ash-song, like Phoenix. Heavy throbbing lead-bass and thumping drums lead the first part of the song, with difficult and progressive (twin-) leads. The band chooses really odd chords and melody-lines. The second part of the song is uptempo funky rock with conga's and real heavy soloiing. Very nice, and a live-standard for years to come.

To me, The Ash certainly is a progband, and especially with albums like Argus, There's the Rub, No Smoke without Fire, Illuminations and Blue Horizon. If a 10 minute tour-de-force-instrumental isn't progrock, than what is?

Report this review (#457829)
Posted Tuesday, June 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's The Rub is a great album. It was Wishbone Ash's fifth album and the first five are my personal favourites by the band. Much of the typical Ash style is here throughout. New guitarist Laurie Wisefield also brings in a different atmosphere and does a superb job taking over from Ted Turner who jumped ship after the last album. As another reviewer said, he was a major part of the band's creative direction for several years to come. I also believe his influence helped to produce some good releases such as "New England" in the later half of the seventies. But this was the best album with him on board. The guitar playing is wonderful. And as usual, a good bit of variety is there. "Silver Shoes" is a nice intro which has a slight West Coast feel. Other fine moments include the beautiful "Persephone", and a somewhat tradtional sounding English piece which goes by the name of "Lady Jay". "Hometown" for me is the best of the rock and roll songs and the progressive instrumental "F.U.B.B" at the end is also a cracker. This would be a worthy addition for your collection.
Report this review (#706550)
Posted Tuesday, April 3, 2012 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars There are some albums we don´t really like that much at the time it was released, or we first hear it, and then, many years after that, we came to love it. That´s exactly the case in here. A cousin bought Wishbone Ash´s There´s The Rub and it spent a great amount of time in my house. However, I never really enjoyed that much then. It seemed inferior to the two I had before (Argus and Wishbone Four). It is like the losing of guitarist Ted Turner was a major blow to the chemistry of the group (obs. unlike some reviewers here wrote, the Turners of the band - the other one being singer and bassist Martin - were not brothers. In fact they were not even related). But recently I decided to pick this one again. And, for some reason, I started to like it a lot. Was it because the new remastered CD version revealed some subtleties I missed more than 30 years ago? Was it because now I have a better stereo? Or did I change? It´s a mystery, but still I´m glad I came to enjoy it that much (still I think I like Wishbone Four more, though. A matter of taste).

Songs like the opener Silver Shoes, with its county-ish beginning, the beautiful epic ballad Persephone (one of their classics) and the celtic influenced Lady Jay can be counted as three of their best songs ever, a must have for any future compilation. The rocker Don´t Come Back and the powerful instrumental F.U.B.B. are also strong cuts (the latter have clearly influenced Steve Harris, of Iron Maiden). The only below par song is Hometown, and yet this rock´n roll tune is not bad either. Certainly the good remastering made much difference here, bringing out their best performances in a long time: the twin lead guitars are shining, the vocal harmonies soar, and the rhythm section (specially the terrific bass lines) is brilliant. The inclusion of acoustic instruments on some parts like the mandolin on Persephone and the banjo on Lady Jay give those songs a poignant feel, nice touches that were not very common at the time. By the way, ex-Home guitarist Laurie Wisefield fills Ted Turner´s shoes very well.

Some people claim There´s The Rub would be Wishbone Ash´s last great album. I´m not yet familiar with their latter output, but so far I can say it´s in the same league as their previous works. I´m looking forward to hear the next WA albums with Wisefield. This one, however, was a nice rediscover for. Rating: 4 strong stars, no less.

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Posted Saturday, June 9, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wishbone Ash are one of those bands where, like Grandaddy, there's one album in their discography which stands so tall above all the others that it kind of ruins all of their other output for me. Just as I can't listen to any of Grandaddy's other stuff without thinking "You know, I could be listening to The Sophtware Slump right now", I can't listen to There's the Rub without getting an uncontrollable urge to just give Argus another spin. If you absolutely want more Wishbone Ash, then There's the Rub is by no means a bad collection of tracks, but if you already have Argus it feels pointless to lend your time to anything else.
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Posted Thursday, June 27, 2013 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
3 stars 'There's the Rub' (67/100)

Repeated listening to Wishbone Ash has definitely tempered some of the more vicious criticisms I've had towards their music. While There's the Rub hasn't dissuaded my belief that they're fairly weak songwriters, I've been able to rationalize their weaknesses somewhat. Even if the essence in many of the Wishbone's seems lacking, there is still earnest enjoyment to be had if I interpret the song structures as a potential vessel for great guitar moments. There's the Rub might not have as many of these moments as Argus did, but I might go so far as to say the songwriting here is a little more consistent.

Wishbone Ash's other guitarist Ted Turner had left the band prior to this album's recording. Had it not been for newcomer Laurie Wisefield, I'm not sure the album would have sounded as good as it does. The surprising sounds of the banjo and steel guitar are here thanks in large part to him, and while the band don't make use of these ingredients outside of a purely rock context, it does sweeten the band's melodic rock sound a fair bit.

Wishbone Ash had, by this point, all but given up their hesitant chase with progressive rock, but they fortunately kept their sense of variety. Although I remain unimpressed with their largely predictable hard rock songwriting, it is worthy to mention that each of the songs on There's the Rub (like Argus) feels distinct in some way. "Silver Shoes" and "Hometown" are country-rock tunes, of all things. "Don't Come Back" is a standard hard rocker, "Persephone" is an atmospheric ballad, and the album's highlight "Lady Jay" bears the distinct feel of a Medieval madrigal. The nine minute instrumental "F.U.B.B" seems like it was penned with Wishbone Ash's considerable guitar talents in mind. Be that as it may, nothing here quite excites me the way "Sometime World" off Argus did, but in does feel like the band were a little more aware of their strengths and weaknesses on There's the Rub than they were on their magnum opus. Wishbone Ash fans may proscribe me for saying so; I don't think this one is quite as exciting as Argus, but it is very close.

At first, I thought the lyrics on There's the Rub were pretty awful. With the welcome exception of "Lady Jay" and "Persephone", it felt like Wishbone Ash were running into hard rock cliches as often as not. Having given the album a little more time now, I think I judged them too harshly. There's a melancholic angle to the words here I might not have expected at first glance. "It hurts when people let you know that you're not a movie star..." Taken outside the bright energy of "Silver Shoes", it sounds sad, and it sounds as if Wishbone Ash may have been writing it as a self-conscious reflection on their own career. I can see why it might not have been immortalized as a classic like Argus, but if anything, it demonstrates a renewed sense of self-awareness in their own strengths and weaknesses.

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Posted Thursday, April 9, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars Boom! After Wishbone Four came one class lower than Argus and Ted Turner left his place to Laurie Wisefield, Wishbone Ash did yet another great album, and a quiet underrated one!

My opinion track-by-track:

Silver Shoes: It sounds like a rather average song if you don't pay much attention, but if you do you 'll get rewarded: Martin Turner does an outstanding job on the bass, utilizing it as a third guitar and creating a fantastic rhythm section with Steve Upton that elevates the song to another level. Subcutaneous greatness here!

Don't Come Back: It could easily be a Rory Gallagher song, and a very good one. Excellent groove and yet another sensational guitar riff by Wishbone Ash, with high quality soloing at the top of it. Fantastic song.

Persephone: One of the very best songs they ever wrote. Brilliant as a "soft" ballad for the first 5:15, it turns into a a sensational power ballad for the last 1:45, by alternating the basic riff and adding guitar soloing of the highest quality. Essential.

Hometown: Much like Silver Shoes, it sound's like nothing special, until you decide to focus on Martin Turner. This guy is ON FIRE in this album, better than ever! The song is not as good as Silver Shoes, but it's not bad in any way.

Lady Jay: Many guitar parts sound almost identical to some parts from Argus, and this is a two-edged knife: they sound fantastic, but you get the feeling they copy-pasted themselves. Another great song non the less!

F.U.B.B.: What a genius creation! The title means "F**ked Up Beyond Belief" and that's pretty much the physical and psychological condition of the band during it's recording. It's basically a jam, created and recorded little by little for weeks, on a slow, steady bass rhythm by the almighty Martin Turner for 6 and a half minutes, before he starts to gallop and everyone starts to do his won thing for 3 minutes more. A fantastic example of the quality that Wishbone Ash barred as individual musicians and as a group.

RATING: 4 stars without a second thought. For everyone that says "it's not prog", a) it's great music either way b) listen to F.U.B.B. and think again. After all, Wishbone Ash are registered as "Prog Related".

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Posted Thursday, October 6, 2016 | Review Permalink

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