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Wishbone Ash

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Wishbone Ash Lost Pearls album cover
2.41 | 10 ratings | 1 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2004

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Is Justice Done (4:23)
2. The Bells Chime (3:25)
3. Hard On You (5:03)
4. Out On A Limb (3:47)
5. Where You Been (4:04)
6. Halfway House [Martin Vocal] (3:50)
7. Halfway House [Claire Vocal] (3:52)
8. Football And Boxing (3:32)
9. John Sherry Jam (6:32)
10. Too Much Monkey Business [Live] (5:37)
11. Night Hawker (6:15)
12. Sheriff Of Sherwood (6:10)

Total Time: 56:32

Line-up / Musicians

- Martin Turner / bass & vocals
- Steve Upton / drums & percussion
- Andy Powell / guitar & vocals
- Laurie Wisefield / guitar & vocals
- Claire Hamill / vocals (7)
- Trevor Bolder / bass (11)

Releases information

CD Talking Elephant Records TECD064
Studio outtakes from the late '70s & early '80s
Produced by Martin Turner
Released 2004

Thanks to DocB for the addition
and to ProgLucky for the last updates
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WISHBONE ASH Lost Pearls ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (10%)
Collectors/fans only (40%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

WISHBONE ASH Lost Pearls 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
2 stars Lost Stones actually

The sleeve notes for this 2004 compilation tell us that the source tapes for these recordings lay stored in a farm outbuilding somewhere in England for many years. They belonged to band member Andy Powell, and it was only when he was asked to find somewhere else to keep them that the unreleased recordings which made it onto this CD came to light. Because of where they were kept, Andy nicknamed them "The Pigsty tapes". Friend of the band Guy Roberts and "Ashcon" main man Andy Yates spent many hours sifting through what had been unearthed, and arranging for the best of the content to be extracted.

It should be said at this stage that these tapes date from the late 1970's (and one track from the early 80's). As such, there are no "Lost pearls" from the early albums such as "Argus" or "Pilgrimage" here. These recordings actually come from a very narrow period in the band's history, and are primarily tracks which were excluded from the "Just testing" and "No smoke without fire" albums. The line up therefore excludes Ted Turner, but includes long time band member Laurie Wisefield. Also present on one track each are vocalist Claire Hammill and bassist Trevor Boulder (of Uriah Heep), both of whom were brief members of Wishbone Ash. As Boulder joined the band in 1981 for the "Twin barrels burning" album, we should assume that the track "Night hawker" (on which he appears) is a track omitted from that album.

The thing which needs to be remembered with any collection of rejected songs is that they were left off their parent albums for a reason. While occasionally such collections will throw up a bunch of gems (Recordings by Porcupine Tree for example), more often than not the results are disappointing. Not only are the tracks mediocre, but throwing them together as an album leads to a lack of coherence.

With that in mind, "Lost pearls" is not a bad find. Naturally, it will appeal almost exclusively to Wishbone Ash fans, and I would certainly not recommended it as an introduction to the band. Tracks such as the opening pair "Is justice done" and "The bells chime" rock out well, but there is little to distinguish them. The familiar twin guitar tones are of course present, but most of the time they are not fully exploited. The ballad "Hard on you" sounds like it was never taken beyond demo status, the vocals in particular being best described as rough and ready.

One of the more interesting aspects of the set is the back to back inclusion of two versions of "Halfway house". The first has a lead vocal by Martin Turner (as usual), while the second is sung by Claire Hammill. The song itself is ordinary, with a bit of a Rolling Stones feel, but it is fun to compare the two recordings (which appear to have identical backing tracks) and speculate on the direction the band might have taken had Hammill become the full time lead singer. Her performance here transforms the song, as it becomes a Janis Joplin like blues number.

"Football and boxing" has some of the daftest lyrics I have heard for a long time, it is clear why this particular song was allowed to hibernate for so long! The last few tracks on the album raise the interest level again though. Here we have two instrumental tracks, "John Sherry jam" and "Sheriff of Sherwood". The latter is reported by those in the know about Wishbone Ash, to be based on or a forerunner to "Stand and Deliver" from the "No smoke without fire" album. As it is labelled as a demo, I can only assume it preceded the album track. "Too much monkey business" is a live rendition (location unknown) of a Chuck Berry B-side. "Night Hawker" is the sole track from the 1980's and is probably the best of the bunch here, Indeed, it is of sufficient appeal to have made it onto an album at the time.

In all, definitely one for the Wishbone Ash faithful only. The instrumental tracks feature some good guitar of course, but overall there is little about these tracks to justify waking them from their long sleep.

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