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Wishbone Ash

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Wishbone Ash Illuminations album cover
3.69 | 78 ratings | 7 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Mountainside (5:57)
2. On Your Own (5:29)
3. Top Of The World (6:39)
4. No Joke (6:44)
5. Tales Of The Wise (10:04)
6. Another Time (5:21)
7. A Thousand Years (4:03)
8. The Ring (4:33)
9. Comfort Zone (4:25)
10. Mystery Man (4:26)
11. Wait Out The Storm (3:42)
12. The Crack of the Dawn (bonus instrumental track) 3:14

Total time 64:37

Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Kishman / lead & backing vocals
- Andy Powell / electric & acoustic guitars, mandolin, lead (4) & backing vocals, co-producer
- Roger Filgate / electric, lap-steel & acoustic guitars, bass, Taurus bass pedals, keyboards, backing vocals, co-producer
- Mike Sturgis / drums

- Mark Templeton / keyboards
- Mike Mindel / keyboards
- Paul Avgerinos / backing vocals, keyboards, welding (?)

Releases information

Artwork: Laurie Downing Design

CD HTD Records - HTDCD67 (1996, UK)

Thanks to avestin for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy WISHBONE ASH Illuminations Music

WISHBONE ASH Illuminations ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

WISHBONE ASH Illuminations reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose

After an anxious wait of some 5 years to see whether there would be any further new material released in the name of Wishbone Ash, Andy Powell finally put the fans out of their misery with this 1996 release. While misgivings about the absence of Ted and Martin Turner plus Steve Upton were only to be expected, the continuation of the twin lead guitar line up, backed by a solid rhythm section and a dedicated lead vocalist, offered the reassurance that Powell was intent on business as usual. Pretty much all the songs here are co-credited to Powell and the multi-talented Roger Filgate.

The 6 minute opener "Mountainside" could easily have been lifted straight from one of the band's early albums, only the unfamiliar vocals belie its origins. A lengthy burst of harmonised guitars introduces an upbeat toe-tapper with a pleasing energy and freshness.

An early highlight is "Top of the world", a mid paced number with jangling guitar and a great hook. The song suits Tony Kishman's voice well and the lead guitar work here is right up there with the band's finest. The lyrics could be, at least in part, a reflection on the former days of the band: " Say goodbye to the old days, they're over and gone. Facing up to the realisation that we've got to move on.".

Andy Powell takes on lead vocals for "No Joke", a song firmly rooted in the "Argus" days, with changes of tempo and incisive guitars. This one will please long term fans immensely. The following 10 minute "Tales of the wise", might be described as a loose remake of "Phoenix". This magnificent epic has all the ingredients of a Wishbone Ash classic, with an opening anthem leading to a raising of the pace for a lengthy guitar break. This really is one of the finest songs recorded in the Wishbone Ash name for many a long year, and alone makes the album worthwhile.

The latter part of the album settles down to a series of more straightforward guitar rock songs. Of these, the biting "Mystery man", a song empathising with the plight of Vietnam war veterans, stands above the rest. The song actually sounds rather like a Free number, with its brooding blues style. We close with a bonus instrumental track "The crack of dawn", a sort of backing track for "Leaf and stream".

In all, a fine album in the Wishbone Ash name, which captures the essence of the band while moving them firmly into the late 1990's. While let down slightly by the later tracks, the first half of the album makes this an essential purchase for fans.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars This album was a big musical surprise for me! I am not a big fan of Wishbone Ash and I never have been, even if I like several of their albums. I ordered this album solely because of one recommendation and because the cover art appealed to me (and no, I'm not religious). I hoped for a decent album and got an excellent one!

Mountainside is an excellent opening number with a very strong melody. The guitar work is stunning and the bass guitar sound is very loud and bottom. Wishbone Ash is not a progressive rock band, but the bass sound present here is typical of classic Symphonic Prog. And the instrumental break at 3:55 leading back to the chorus of the song is a magic moment for me; I just have to turn up the volume and play air guitar to this part! Indeed, there are several places on this album that make you want to play air guitar, and air bass guitar, and air drums too, for that matter.

While all the songs on this album are good, another one that needs special mention is the 10+ minute Tales Of The Wise. It has again great guitar and bass and some interesting tempo changes. Another Time has great acoustic guitar breaks. The Ring is an acoustically based song with great melody line.

There are a couple of more typical straightforward rockers here like Comfort Zone and No Joke that never would attract my attention on their own. But in the context of the other songs they do not stand out as bad. But the album would have been even better without those tracks, I think. Mystery Man is a cool song with some great slide guitar that sounds exactly as if it was played by Steve Howe!

Unusually for Wishbone Ash there are also some keyboards on this album that enhances the sound. But the keyboards are never a lead instrument.

If I must criticise something, I would want to say that the album is slightly too long. With a running time of over an hour a couple of songs could have been dropped. However, you should get the version with the extra track The Crack Of Dawn. For me this is an integral part of the album and should not have been a bonus track. It is an excellent acoustically based number that is a perfect closer to the album.

For me this album is the best Wishbone Ash album since There's The Rub (and I've heard most of their albums by now).

Highly recommended!

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I am glad I finally hunted this one down, always liked Wishbone Ash even though you can't really have them join a symph-prog festival without scratching your head. They have eternally espoused an original style , a thundering rock groove propelled by twin guitars (allegedly showing the way to the Iron Maiden/Def Leppards of the rock world) adding some old fashioned extended guitar solo flights that simply enthrall. This 1996 album is no slouch either, a clear revisit of the glory days of Argus, There's The Rub and Live Dates. With Andy Powell firmly at the helm, the rock solid vibe kicks off straight away on the opener "Mountainside", aided and abetted by multi-instrumentalist Roger Filgate and the fantastic voice of Tony Kishman (a softer version of Ian Gillan) while seasoned drummer Mike Sturgis holds down the drum kit with aplomb. "On Your Own" has a nice boogie style, some hard-driving music that has fast-car, green-eyed babe and rock 'n roll steeply etched within the grooves, as the highway star slide guitar illuminates the autobahn. "Top of the World" is a classy affair, as the bass ruffles along insistently, weaving stylishly into a spectacular vocal chorus that breezes along with passionate flair, assorted rhythm guitars clashing and jangling. The first short guitar solo explodes from the deepest recesses of the soul, hinting at some future second tortured flight that is just as inspiring. "No Joke" has Powell on lead vocals and is another Ash adventure, with that hallmark guitar artistry inspired by the blues greats of days gone by. There is a strong southern boogie influence here that again recalls the early Ash days, a series of blistering axe solos slicing through the sky. "Tale of the Wise" is the progressive jewel here, a 10 minute exercise of shimmering emotions, fueled by a deliberate and astute drum pace, giving the punch to Kishman's sultry and bluesy voice and rolling along addictively. The thumping bass ushers in a faster paced break where the guitars fully exalt and enthrall, a modern sonic revisit of their classic Phoenix, the dual leads at full bore. This is why Wishbone Ash is on this site, an exquisite example of prog-related rock guitar genius, Powell certainly among the most under appreciated six-string slingers ever. While firmly in the rock camp (the only keyboards are for coloring purposes only), the whopping guitar work is simply breathtaking and sorely need to be applauded by our prog cognoscenti. As stated by my fellow PA colleague, this track is right in the vein of Persephone, FUBB and Phoenix. A masterpiece. After this epic monster , the mood alters a bit, "Another Time" having the inglorious task of following such a colossus, so it comes across a bit weak, though on its own it has great merits, namely another splendid vocal display from the previously unknown to me Kishman. The next sequence of songs , "A Thousand Years", "The Ring" and "Comfort Zone" are more straightforward rock tunes , short , punchy and to the point. Not my cup of tea but nevertheless no way near filler or fluff. "Mystery Man" is a challenging anti-war theme that features throbbing bass and pounding drums, all overcome with some splendid slide guitar flurries that are simply phenomenal, a very typical bluesy piece that Ash have a knack for (there are hints of Free and Foreigner here). "Wait Out the Storm" is the one track that does nothing for me, too formulaic for my alien-infused tastes, so I skip. The closing instrumental however is extremely propos, a perfect ending to a hyper-pleasant album that deserves a little surgery (yeah, it's a tad too long) and a wider audience. The artwork is stellar too, as well as the sharp, crisp production. I rest in complete agreement with Easy Livin' and Southside in recommending this Ash. 4 lights
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I was expecting a bit more from this album. After all, the band has had some five years to prepare it and the raving reviews were rather encouraging.

What I feel about this work is that there is of course an improvement in comparison with the six previous albums (the last good one IMHHO was "No Smoke Without Fire" in ?1978). Still, the main obedience is straight rock. A highlight with fine vocals ("Top Of The World") and here and there some fine twin guitar work with "No Joke".

The FM / AOR format of "On Your Own" is bringing us back to some of their lesser days.

The best moment from this album is without doubt the long "Tales Of The Wise". It is a return to the very early days, when the band released some excellent and long songs. All the ingredients are again present here. More than anything, some superb guitar work of course. It shifts the album from a decent to a good work in my perception.

Another aspect of this album resides in its length. Even if "Another Time" is still a pleasant song the remaining ones are not on par. There is a definite "Yes" feel during the average "A Thousand Years". The last five songs are nothing else than AOR / mainstream rock music with little inspiration ("Comfort Zone" being the weakest one).

The fine and instrumental bonus track offers some good acoustic guitar parts ( la Howe / Hackett). My feeling is rather mixed about this work. Some excellent numbers (two) combined with average songs. Three stars.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Technically, Wishbone Ash were over with Strange Affair (no pun intended). They are Andy Powell Band now, he just holds the rights of the Wishbone Ash brand, and he uses it. Let's see what he did on this one, track-by-track: Mountainside: Well, what do we got here! A very promising start for ... (read more)

Report this review (#1631265) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Tuesday, October 11, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I've been a fan of Wishbone Ash since the early 70s, especially Ash Mk I. Ash Mk II also put out some good work, but subsequent line-ups without Martin Turner left a lot to be desired. Turner's role as songwriter, lead singer, distinctive bass player and producer played a big part in the Wishbone ... (read more)

Report this review (#144873) | Posted by DocB | Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I was simply astonished when I heard this one. How could they come up with such an excellent album with only one member of the original crew left? Andy Powell (the one with the Flying V guitars) appears to be a mostly creative musician, as he and new guitarist Roger Filgate produced this album af ... (read more)

Report this review (#80585) | Posted by Ampersand | Wednesday, June 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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