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Wishbone Ash

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4 stars Only one 2-star rating? Unfair! Here's where Wishbone Ash caught my admiration seven years ago - an admiration that actually got smaller after listening to several studio albums. Of course the fact is that Argus (1972) is their highest achievement and a very recommendable addition to any rock listener, but for record collectors like me who aim at having a minimal number of CD's by a maximal number of artists, this one is worth getting. It may not be very tempting from the outside, but inside is 57 minutes of... Classic Ash. And a good deal of it are very delicious, longish songs: 'The King Will Come', 'Persephone', 'Phoenix', 'The Pilgrim', 'Throw Down The Sword'. The twin guitars soar gorgeously. These proggy tracks show that Ash were not copying anyone and amidst more complex prog it blew some very fresh air.

Some tracks are quite elementary rock'n'roll such as 'Rock & Roll Widow' or 'Blowin' Free'. Still these tracks are better than the majority of Ash's later albums which got less and less interesting. For the best tracks this gets 3,5 stars from me.

Report this review (#131483)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars I really loved Wishbone Ash's "Argus" so have been drawn to live Cds and compilations that are surprisingly cheap these days from Wishbone Ash. The great WA sound consists of duel guitar playing from the excellent musicianship of Andy Powell and Ted Turner; they would always be remembered for this. The guitar breaks are nothing short of extraordinary, before Iron Maiden and before Judas Priest's twin guitar solos there was Powell and Turner. Martin Turner's vocals are easy to take and he doesn't go for high octave but stays in the mid range, his bass playing is noteworthy too.

There are some of the classics here that appear often in live performances or on comps.

'Throw Down the Sword' is criminally missing but I guess most ash addicts are going to have "Argus" as it is the penultimate treasure. "Pheonix" is here all 10 and a half minutes of it including those incredible twin guitar solos. 'Persephone' is a slow paced bluesy thing with tons of grinding Hammond taken from "There's The Rub" from 1974.

'Rock N Roll Widow' is from "Wishbone Four", a straight forward rocker with loads of lead guitar breaks. 'Blowin' Free' from "Argus" begins with the killer riff that drives the song. The lyrics are great to sing to; "I Thought I had a girl I know because I seen her, her hair was gold and brown, blowin' free like a cornfield..." The twin guitar solo is a feature once again and this is a real favourite with the band and they always include it on their live set, which sound jammier and better than this. There are some delicious passages of soaring guitar and blues scales on this. The time sig remains fairly much the same apart from some slower bits thrown in such as; "In my dreams..." section.

"Argus" gem 'The King Will Come' is my favourite Wishbone Ash song and I saw this on the Classic Rock Anthology which drew me to the band. The band have so much fun rockin' it out and the lead guitarist wears flowing white flares. Powell moves back and forth playing a flying V guitar staring into the camera just having the time of his life. They sound incredible live, so this studio version is not as loud and aggressive though it's still great. The guitars are not as up in the mix but the harmonies are divine. It is a song about the Biblical end times when the king (Jesus) will return and apocalypse will reign; the Revelation. The lead break is magnificent from both guitarists using wah wah pedal effects and huge scales. Once again this is a staple of the live set and would not be complete without it. It is brilliant prog rock. "See the word of the prophet on a stone in his hand, poison pen Revelation, just a sign in the sand..."

Overall it is a solid compilation, cheap and succint; it epitomises all that make Wishbone Ash great. There are better comps stretching to 2 CDs or more but at least this comp features some of the treasures of the great Wishbone Ash at an affordable price for those that want to dip their toes into the sound and fury of this great band.

Report this review (#1067284)
Posted Sunday, October 27, 2013 | Review Permalink

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