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WISHBONE ASH

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Wishbone Ash biography
Founded in Torquay, UK in 1969 - Still active as of 2017

The history of WISHBONE ASH goes back to 1966, when drummer Steve Upton of the 'Scimitars' joined bassist Martin Turner and Martin's brother Glen in the band 'The Empty Vessels'. The trio named themselves 'Tanglewood' and moved to London. Glen Turner quit soon and was replaced by Ted Turner of Birmingham band 'King Biscuit'. The line-up was finalised by guitarist Andy Powell (Ex-'Sugarband'). The two guitarists developed a melodic twin guitar lead style that would become the trademark of 'Wishbone Ash'.

In 1970 WISHBONE ASH released their self titled first record, establishing a mixture of Blues-Rock, Jazz and English Folk, that the band would elaborate on in their following records. The production work by Martin Birch was excellent and the record contains the masterpiece 'Phoenix', that would become a 'Wishbone Ash' live classic and give way to elaborate improvisations on stage. At the same time the band would start to use lyrics and imagery drawn from mythology and fantasy. like 'The King will come', 'Throw down the sword', 'Persephone' & 'Argus'.

In 1971 'Wishbone Ash' released 'Pilgrimage' and a year later 'Argus', both records bringing the WISHBONE ASH sound to perfection by introducing elaborate vocal arrangements and sophisticated instrumental passages. Both records are masterpieces. In 1973 the band released their fourth LP, 'Wishbone Four', and toured Europe, documented by their live release 'Live Dates' (1973) and followed by an extended America Tour. In 1974 Ted Turner left and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield (Ex-Home) who added steel guitar and banjo to the 'Wishbone Ash' sound on their 1974 release 'There's The Rub'. During the rest of the seventies the new line-up recorded a series of good but less interesting records.

In 1987 the original line-up re-united for a series of records, including the all instrumental 'Nouveau Calls' (1988), before going again though a series of line-up changes. At the end of the 90's the band found a new stability with founding guitarist Andy Powell, bass player Bob Skeat and drummer Ray Weston, joined in 2004 by Finnish guitarist Muddy Manninen.

'Pilgrimage' and 'Argus' are highly recommended.

Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com : 'Wishbone Ash' mixed Blues-Rock, Jazz and English Folk in a progressive way.

WISHBONE ASH Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy WISHBONE ASH Music


Argus [Expanded Edition]Argus [Expanded Edition]
Extra tracks · Remastered
Geffen 2002
$5.59
$4.44 (used)
The Essential Collection -  Wishbone AshThe Essential Collection - Wishbone Ash
SPECTRUM AUDIO 2016
$4.10
$8.95 (used)
Wishbone Ash -  Live DatesWishbone Ash - Live Dates
Remastered
BGO 2015
$10.57
$8.75 (used)
Just TestingJust Testing
McA Uk 2007
$5.56
$4.13 (used)
Number The BraveNumber The Brave
Music on CD 2018
$8.05
$11.09 (used)
Access All Areas / Wishbone AshAccess All Areas / Wishbone Ash
Demon 2018
$12.15
$97.40 (used)
Wishbone Ash /  Wishbone AshWishbone Ash / Wishbone Ash
Bgo 2017
$10.27
$9.42 (used)
Live in TokyoLive in Tokyo
Enigmatic Records
$21.99
Time Was: CollectionTime Was: Collection
Mca 1993
$49.90
$15.50 (used)
PilgrimagePilgrimage
Island Uk 1991
$5.49
$4.07 (used)
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Wishbone Ash USD $10.19 [0 bids]
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12h 27m
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12h 54m
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12h 54m
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13h 32m
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WISHBONE ASH No Smoke Without Fire 1978 MCA LP Martin Turner PLAYS WELL USD $19.99 Buy It Now 21h 18m
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WISHBONE ASH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

WISHBONE ASH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 256 ratings
Wishbone Ash
1970
3.60 | 245 ratings
Pilgrimage
1971
4.22 | 656 ratings
Argus
1972
3.06 | 181 ratings
Wishbone Four
1973
3.89 | 195 ratings
There's The Rub
1974
2.05 | 107 ratings
Locked In
1976
3.13 | 118 ratings
New England
1976
2.90 | 97 ratings
Front Page News
1977
3.48 | 98 ratings
No Smoke Without Fire
1978
2.87 | 97 ratings
Just Testing
1980
2.76 | 74 ratings
Number The Brave
1981
1.95 | 54 ratings
Twin Barrels Burning
1982
1.81 | 57 ratings
Raw To The Bone
1985
2.93 | 68 ratings
Nouveau Calls
1987
2.91 | 48 ratings
Here To Hear
1989
2.62 | 41 ratings
Strange Affair
1991
3.69 | 68 ratings
Illuminations
1996
1.81 | 31 ratings
Trance Visionary
1998
1.68 | 29 ratings
Psychic Terrorism
1998
2.98 | 40 ratings
Bare Bones
1999
3.64 | 46 ratings
Bona Fide
2002
2.96 | 52 ratings
Clan Destiny
2006
3.18 | 58 ratings
Power Of Eternity
2007
3.23 | 28 ratings
Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash: Argus - Through The Looking Glass
2008
3.55 | 58 ratings
Elegant Stealth
2012
3.29 | 51 ratings
Blue Horizon
2014
4.08 | 3 ratings
Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash: Written In The Stars
2015

WISHBONE ASH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.43 | 91 ratings
Live Dates
1973
4.56 | 16 ratings
Live In Tokyo
1979
3.71 | 48 ratings
Live Dates Volume 2
1980
3.38 | 8 ratings
BBC Radio 1 Live In Concert
1991
3.40 | 13 ratings
Live In Windy City (USA 1992) (AKA "Live in Chicago & Living Proof)
1992
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live in Chicago
1992
3.22 | 9 ratings
Live in Geneva
1996
2.50 | 2 ratings
Live - Timeline
1997
2.00 | 1 ratings
Their Greatest Hits
1998
2.09 | 3 ratings
Mother of Pearl
1998
3.13 | 16 ratings
Live Dates 3
2001
2.48 | 3 ratings
Runaway
2001
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Bristol
2002
3.82 | 9 ratings
Almighty Blues - London and Beyond
2004
3.49 | 5 ratings
Time Was... The Live Anthology
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live on XM Satellite Radio
2005
3.94 | 7 ratings
New Live Dates, Volume One
2006
3.50 | 8 ratings
Live In Hamburg
2007
3.95 | 11 ratings
New Live Dates, Volume Two
2007
2.06 | 9 ratings
Argus Then Again Live
2008
4.00 | 4 ratings
40 - Live In London
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at the Grand - Road Works 1
2010
3.88 | 8 ratings
The Life Begins Tour
2011
3.83 | 3 ratings
Live in London 1978
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Hamburg - Road Works 2
2012
4.00 | 2 ratings
Martin Turner And Friends ‎- The Garden Party
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Germany - Road Works 3
2013
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live at Ashcon '14 - Road Works 4
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at Metropolis 16/05/15
2015
4.00 | 1 ratings
Access All Areas
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
Across The Airwaves - The Legendary Broadcasts
2017
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Sacramento - Road Works 5
2018
4.00 | 1 ratings
Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash - The Beauty of Chaos: Live at the Citadel
2018
3.09 | 2 ratings
Live at Glasgow Apollo 77
2019

WISHBONE ASH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live
1990
3.96 | 8 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
3.05 | 5 ratings
Inside Wishbone Ash 1970-2004
2003
3.09 | 3 ratings
Live Broadcasts
2003
4.33 | 3 ratings
Almighty Blues: London & Beyond
2004
3.80 | 5 ratings
Phoenix Rising - Classic Ash: Then & Now
2004
2.36 | 6 ratings
25th Anniversary Of The Marquee (DVD)
2005
3.13 | 11 ratings
30th Anniversary Concert (DVD)
2006
4.00 | 5 ratings
Rock Milestones Wishbone Ash : Argus
2006
5.00 | 2 ratings
Live at the Spirit of 66
2006
4.67 | 6 ratings
Live in Hamburg
2007
4.38 | 8 ratings
40th Anniversary Concert - Live In London
2009
3.88 | 7 ratings
Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash - The Life Begins Tour
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Live in Paris 2015
2015

WISHBONE ASH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Best of Wishbone Ash
1975
3.55 | 11 ratings
Classic Ash
1977
2.67 | 6 ratings
Hot Ash
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Best of Wishbone Ash
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
That's Wishbone Ash
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Time Was - The Wishbone Ash Collection
1993
3.00 | 1 ratings
The King Will Come
1993
4.67 | 9 ratings
Distillation
1997
3.05 | 3 ratings
The Millenium Collection
1999
3.50 | 4 ratings
On Air
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
In Concert
1999
4.00 | 1 ratings
Wonderful Stash
2000
3.00 | 1 ratings
Twin Axe Warriors
2000
4.00 | 1 ratings
Wishbone Ash (The Primo collection)
2003
2.33 | 3 ratings
The Collection
2003
3.25 | 3 ratings
Warriors
2003
2.37 | 8 ratings
Lost Pearls
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Backbones
2004
3.05 | 3 ratings
Tracks
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
Tracks 2
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Dejavu Retro Gold Collection
2004
2.10 | 2 ratings
The King Will Come
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Mystery Man
2005
3.62 | 12 ratings
First Light
2007
3.50 | 2 ratings
Tracks 3
2007
2.33 | 3 ratings
Tender
2008
2.50 | 2 ratings
Tough
2008
2.05 | 2 ratings
Rocked Up Beyond Belief
2008
3.00 | 1 ratings
Melodic Sounds
2009
4.15 | 11 ratings
Sometime World: An MCA Travelogue
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Essential Collection
2013
5.00 | 1 ratings
Road Works
2015
4.00 | 1 ratings
New Live Dates: The Complete Set
2016
3.00 | 1 ratings
Road Works - Junctions (The Best of Road Works)
2018
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Vintage Years 1970 - 1991
2018
0.00 | 0 ratings
21st Century Collection
2018

WISHBONE ASH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 1 ratings
Blind Eye
1970
4.00 | 1 ratings
Jail Bait
1971
4.00 | 1 ratings
An Evening Program with...
1972
5.00 | 1 ratings
No Easy Road / Blowin' Free
1972
2.77 | 20 ratings
Live From Memphis
1972
4.00 | 1 ratings
Blind Eye
1973
4.00 | 1 ratings
So Many Things to Say
1973
4.00 | 1 ratings
Rock N' Roll Widow / No Easy Road
1973
4.00 | 1 ratings
Hometown / Persephone
1974
3.00 | 1 ratings
Silver Shoes / Persephone
1975
4.00 | 1 ratings
Outward Bound
1976
3.00 | 1 ratings
Moonshine
1976
3.00 | 1 ratings
Rest in Peace
1976
3.00 | 1 ratings
Goodbye Baby Hello Friend
1977
4.00 | 1 ratings
Blowin' Free
1977
4.00 | 1 ratings
You See Red
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
You See Red
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Come On/Fast Johnny
1979
4.00 | 1 ratings
Helpless / Blowin' Free
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Helpless
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Living Proof / Jail Bait
1980
4.00 | 1 ratings
Get Ready
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
No More Lonely Nights
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Engine Overheat
1982
3.00 | 1 ratings
Me and My Guitar
1983
3.00 | 1 ratings
People in Motion
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
Cell of Fame
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
In the Skin
1988
3.00 | 1 ratings
Cosmic Jazz
1989
3.00 | 1 ratings
Keeper of the Light
1989
1.00 | 1 ratings
Reason to Believe (Dance Mix)
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
Reason to Believe
2011
3.00 | 1 ratings
Reason to Believe
2014

WISHBONE ASH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Wishbone Ash by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.86 | 256 ratings

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Wishbone Ash
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

5 stars Once upon a time before the twin guitar effects of bands such as Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy made the practice common place, a humble blues rock band named WISHBONE ASH gestated the technique in the nascent proto-prog days of the early 70s and in the process became one of the most successful bands in all of the 70s UK and has only become more so worldwide as time goes by. Despite a rather bizarre moniker, this band that was blues rock based found a way to incorporate a nice mix of blues, jazz, progressive rock and psychedelic improvisation into their sound without anything sounding forced.

This Torquay (city) band from England copped the perfect blues rock attitude in 1970 with the eponymously titled debut that took a clue from the American scene a la The Allman Brothers, Johnny Winter and The Yardbirds and created a bona fide pillar of transitional glory between the blues rock oriented 60s and the more progressive rock 70s. Formed as the quartet of Andy Powell (lead guitar, vocals), Ted Turner (lead guitar, vocals), Martine Turner (bass, vocals) and Steve Upton (drums), this band found success opening for Deep Purple in early 1970 when Andy Powell dared to jam with Ritchie Blackmore whom he impressed and scored a record contract from the get go.

While many worship the altar of the more sophisticated "Argus," i have to admit i much more admire this extremely adventurous debut which finds six tracks that are blues rock based taking extreme liberties. While each is imbued with the status quo blues rock elements of bluesy developments, beautifully constructed melodies and typical 60s zeitgeist constructs, i have to admire the band's ability to transcend into the next level of sophistication without eschewing the paradigms of the era. Basically this album takes a fairly typical blues rock style that was common in the era and ramps up the energy until the final climaxes of the closing lengthy "Phoenix" takes the listener on a voyage of blues rock / jazz / progressive possibilities of the given era.

While steeped in the blues rock of the era, WISHBONE ASH deviated from the pack by creating a dual harmonic approach with two guitars creating a tapestry of melody instead of merely one guitarist picking up the slack. The results were quite successful and became a staple in much of 80s metal music with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest becoming the most successful successors of the technique. With a firm grasp of boogie rock with more than a touch of radio friendly riffage, WISHBONE ASH skirted the fine line between commercially acceptable and progressively challenging. While the tracks are rooted in in a graspable blues rock easy to grasp sensibility, they equally challenge the listener with lengthy jamming instrumental prowess as well as unwarranted sophistication unexpected from typical commercial bands of the era.

WISHBONE ASH eschewed a predictable formula, yet every track is easily accessible and easy to get one's hooks within its essence yet still the tracks take you to places unexpected and even now several decades later, this still sounds interesting and innovative without any sense of where things will lead. The dual twin guitar attack of Andy Powell and Ted Turner provide the main impotence of this then-fresh approach to blues rock but it was done so extraordinarily well that i find this debut album extraordinary exciting even several decades after its release. While not as complex as other blues rock bands like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple, WISHBONE ASH took a different route and one that worked quite well. Think of this band as the Grateful Dead that didn't require drugs to appreciate!

This album is roughly broken up into two parts. The tracks are for the most part vocally based blues rock track but there are equal amounts of instrumental jamming sessions. Perhaps the most diverse is in "Handy" that not only provides a lengthy guitar jamming session but also displays a major drumming session that doesn't sound too show-offy for one's sensibilities. I dunno why i luv this one so much but it definitely registers high on my blues rock with prog touches. A major accomplishment for WISHBONE ASH at an early stage and although they would find success all through the 70s, this one remains my absolute favorite of their entire discography. Cheers, mates!

4.5 but i''ll round up since it's not gettint nuff luv round theez parts

 Live at Glasgow Apollo 77 by WISHBONE ASH album cover Live, 2019
3.09 | 2 ratings

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Live at Glasgow Apollo 77
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by AlanB

3 stars Good but not essential

A very well produced recording of a complete concert from 1977. The Mark 2 band are on great form.

What makes it "non essential" is that, if you have Live Dates and Live Dates 2 then you will have decent live versions of ten of these songs already.

The inclusion of Sometime World makes it worthwhile because this song wasn't played live much in the 1970s. Also Laurie Wisefield's rendition of Phoenix is worth having.

One small gripe - for some reason the second verse of Throw Down The Sword was omitted. The song goes straight from a guitar solo to the second chorus. Not sure why.

 Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash: Written In The Stars by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.08 | 3 ratings

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Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash: Written In The Stars
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by AlanB

4 stars "Written In The Stars" is the first studio album of original material released by the band formerly known as Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (until a court case forced a change of name). As Martin Turner does not have a section of his own on progarchives, and his bands' other albums are already listed under Wishbone Ash, I make no apologies for adding this one here.

"Written In the Stars" captures the spirit of 1970s Wishbone Ash but still sounds up to date. Martin Turner and his bandmates have written some great songs and with twin lead guitars, harmony vocals and Turner's signature basslines this is an excellent album and well worth waiting for (the band in various line-ups had been together for 10 years before they recorded any new material). There was a change of personnel just as the album was in the pre production stage, with Ray Hatfield departing and new guitarist Misha Nikolic re-recording Ray's parts on two songs and adding classical guitar to a third.

Track by Track commentary:

The Big Bang (Overture): A short, spacey sounding instrumental reminiscent of the beginning of Pink Floyd's Echoes.

The Beauty Of Chaos: Another instrumental, which would fit nicely on the Wishbone Ash album Nouveau Calls. It has acoustic guitar, Hank Marvin style lead guitar and some "chaotic" electric guitar lines.

Written In The Stars: A heavy riff leads into some lovely harmony vocals, great soloing and a nice bit of Eastern style guitar at the close from Misha Nikolic.

Lovers: This has a 1960s feel, a bit Roy Orbison, quite a commercial sound, let down a little by weak vocals.

Vapour Trail: Probably the most progressive song on the album, lovely harmony vocals again and finishing off with a guitar solo that reminds me of Sometime World on Argus. A candidate for best track on the album.

The Lonely Star: Another instrumental, laid back and a bit like Lullaby from the Pilgrimage album.

For My Lady: This one has a medieval feel to it. Different rhythms in the verse and chorus. The verse sounds a bit like The Police. Nice guitar at the end.

Pretty Little Girls: If this was a singles band, Pretty Little Girls would HAVE to be the single off the album. A catchy hook, memorable chorus, bouncing bassline and Bowie-esq vocals. The subject matter is daughters who grow up too quickly. Another candidate for best song on the album.

Falling Sands: Despite being credited as a band composition, this one has Ray Hatfield's fingerprints all over it, as anyone who has heard his solo albums would realise. A lovely ballad with a superb guitar solo. My third candidate for best song.

Mystify Me: The only song where Martin Turner has no songwriting credit or joint credit, Mystify Me is a Ray Hatfield composition which had already been released on his solo album At The Drop Of A Hat. Another song with a singalong chorus. The subject matter here is reincarnation.

Interstellar Rockstar: Wishbone Ash meets Barclay James Harvest and Ziggy Stardust. A great closing track and unlike any other song on the album. Nice bit of classical guitar at the beginning and excellent twin lead guitar at the end.

In conclusion, if you like the 1970s output of Wishbone Ash you will love this album. I hope it's not another 10 years before this band release another one.

 Martin Turner And Friends ‎- The Garden Party by WISHBONE ASH album cover Live, 2012
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Martin Turner And Friends ‎- The Garden Party
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by AlanB

4 stars I was lucky enough to be invited to this gig. It was an amazing day, and particularly good to see Ted Turner and Laurie Wisefield on stage playing Wishbone Ash songs again. Listening to the CD recording is actually better than on the day because there was a gremlin in one of the speakers which rather spoilt the live sound. The setlist is quite eclectic, ignoring most of the standard WA material for rarer cuts (plus two songs from Martin's solo album). This was deliberate because the more commonly played songs were already on previous live albums. Highlights for me are the moment when Ted Turner walks on stage halfway through Valediction (listen to the crowd's response) and the four lead guitar version of Jailbait which closes the show. Incidentally there is a mistake in the description above - Ted also plays on tracks 2-4, 2-6 and 2-7.
 Argus by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 656 ratings

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Argus
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Wishbone Ash is one of those groups that I've revisited regularly over the years, having discovered them in my formative years as a prog and hard rock lover. They always seemed to pop up when reading about classic hard rock or even prog. "Argus" was probably the first album I got myself acquainted with and from there I just ventured further. The thing about Wishbone Ash is that they occupy a space of their own in which they are sort of unrivalled. Many of the elements that make up there music is not unique to them, one by one, but together it's quite a mixture and a signature of Ash.

When I came across them they were labeled "hard rock" and while that is true, they do have a potent and vivid streak of hardrock in their music, they go beyond that genre. You do find intense electric guitar work from two guitarists and at times the volume is quite loud but you never hear harsh or hoarse vocals screamin their lungs out. Instead you get a very folky approach to singing. It's all very gentle and harmonious. The combination is rather unusual. On top of that you find progressive leanings. All this makes for a exquisite brew that balances between something like the folkrock of Fairport Convention and hardrock of Thin Lizzy with an added splash of FM rock, albeit with a really specific sound that is truly the soul of Wishbone Ash around the first half of the 70's. It's a great mixture that really makes them (sort of) one of a kind.

"Argus" is a real treat to listen to if you like both folk and hardrock, like me. The opening three are great songs with "Time was" being a somewhat ethereal experience. The real gems, though, are the last four songs. Beginning with "The king will come" and ending with "Throw down the sword" it is a journey. First of all I like the titles of the song, which are very folk-prog in my opinion. Songs about the olden days and so on. "The king will come" has this amazing riff inside it that hangs in the air. Beautiful. "Warrior" once again sports a great riff and powerful playing that precedes the folky and gorgeous "Throw down the sword". This track also adds organ to the whole thing.

If I was to recommend an album by Wishbone Ash to someone new to them I'd say it must be "Argus". It's a wonderful album by a somewhat wonderful band. It's an album for contemplation, for driving, for walking in the woods and for rejoicing in the fact that you're alive and there's a genre like progressive rock.

 Argus by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 656 ratings

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Argus
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars "Argus" is the third album in a long string of albums by Wishbone Ash. It was also their most popular, and their most progressive album, though it is not a strict progressive album as much as one that contains several prog elements interspersed within it's hard rock tracks.

Wishbone Ash was one of the first bands to ever use twin lead guitars and this would inspire bands like Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy, albeit their music would be much heavier. The twin guitars are very relevant on this album, and guitars pretty much drive most of the music. There are no keyboards, at least not much, except for an organ on the last track. While there are elements of prog here, there are also elements of folk rock within the tracks.

Most of the tracks are long, mostly exceeding 5 minutes, with the first one approaching 10 minutes. "Time Was" starts out with a beautiful acoustic beginning with some nice harmonies, but it soon rocks out after a few minutes. The melodies change often as it does in a lot of prog epics, however, the meters are pretty standard throughout. Thus you get the feeling of prog rock in the complex melodies, but on the light side of prog. "Sometime World" also starts out soft and gets faster as it continues. This one carries a distinct folk song throughout most of it, then as the vocals come in, you can hear an early Yes influence. The track ends with a great guitar solo. The track however, does feel a little dated, but that's all because of the mixing. It makes it even more early "Yes-like".

"Blowin' Free" is a heavier song, but the music is definitely standard rock. This doesn't make it a bad song, but it doesn't make a real prog song either. The harmonies on this one are very similar to Crosby, Stills and Nash. As the tempo slows in the middle of the song, there is that return to the folkish sound, and then a nice slow guitar solo. The tempo picks up again and another solo follows. This is great hard rock, but again, other than the tempo changes, there isn't much progressive rock here.

"The King Will Come" exceeds 7 minutes. It starts off with a reggae vibe for about a minute, then the beat tapers off to another standard rock beat. Again, you have harmonies similar to early Yes. As the first track, this one has many changing melodies and it makes for another complex track. But the complexity doesn't reach any real heavy progressiveness again. The changing melodies stay in a standard meter throughout. You get another great guitar solo here too.

"Leaf and Stream" returns to the folk-ish sound. It matches the horned helmet shadowed figure on the cover in feel and style. Again, we have another beautiful guitar solo. The melody pretty remains the same throughout this track however. "Warrior" is a heavy rocker with a great opening riff, but it quickly mellows out and slows down as vocals begin. When the chorus finally arrives, things get more interesting as vocals and guitar solos take turns. I can hear some early Styx in the harmonies and the structure of the last half of the song, so it's obvious here where Styx was inspired early on. But the song, as epic as it sounds, doesn't rise above the standard hard rock tune.

"Throw Down the Sword" is the last track and the only track that features a guest organist. However, there really isn't much that stands out on this track, just a continuation of the same style.

This is definitely Wishbone Ash's best work, and it is unfortunate that they didn't improve on this sound. From this point on, most of their music would continue to become more and more radio friendly, even though they never really had much success from that style. Also, this band is still releasing albums, though the line up has changed a lot. Andy Powell has been the only constant member in the line up. Yes, this is a great hard rock album, and if the group followed this style, they may have actually reached a full progressive status. Unfortunately, there are only hints of progressiveness here. Yes, this album is a huge influence, and that cannot be discounted. But it is far from 5 star prog material. Because of it's status, more than anything however, we can manage to give it 4 stars as it is has excellent musicianship and it's strongest points are the twin guitars and the excellent solos.

 Argus by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 656 ratings

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Argus
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by The Jester

5 stars Review # 84. I don't know about other countries, but Argus is a legendary album in Greece.

It was released on January 1972, it was the 3rd studio album of Wishbone Ash, and it is considered their best work by far. Needless to say, that is also their most famous work. Many music magazines named it as 'album of the year' on 1972.

The album has a Medieval theme, and the music style includes elements of Progressive Rock, Hard Rock and Folk Rock.

The major characteristic of Argus was the two leading guitars (instead of the usual one lead and one rhythm guitar), that gave to their sound a very different feeling. Actually, this album is considered as a landmark for its special guitar sound. This two-lead-guitar style was adopted later on from bands like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden, among others.

The sound engineer was Martin Birch, who had also worked with Deep Purple and later on with Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden. In the years that followed, Argus became a big live attraction, which still continues on many occasions in our days.

The album includes 7 songs, and with the exception of Leaf and Stream (3.55), all the other songs are over 5 minutes long. Songs like Warrior, The King will Come, and Throw down the Sword are examples of how good and well-structured Rock music should sound like.

I remember buying the vinyl edition at some point during the 80's and the CD re-issue almost ten years later, which was including one extra song.

In my opinion, Argus is a brilliant album and a 'must-have' for every Rock fan. In case you don't have it yet, buy it without a second thought! 5.0 Stars from me

 Argus by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.22 | 656 ratings

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Argus
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by cedo

4 stars I'm not sure was it "Argus" or was it "Wishbone Four" the first Ash's album that I have listened to, in 1976-1977, thanks to good friend of mine who came back from UK, from English Language Summer School, with a couple of great LPs, but never mind, from that time till now, "Argus" has remained one of my favorite albums. Like in the cookbook, add to it Thorens turntable, huge Marantz cassiver (receiver with incorporated cassette tape module), and Acoustic Research loudspeakers, and love at first listen is born. So, at very first listen, it grabbed me and that grip is still firm. Twin-lead guitar sound, very nice melodies and harmonies, three "warriors" tracks that make some kind of concept, songs that have original structure, different from usual radio hits (most songs structure are not usual, without classic verse-verse-refrain-verse-refrain-solo form, and that also contributed to the progressive feel of album).

Every song is memorable, unique and fresh, nothing like something that is heard before or after. Later I have listened to other albums of MK I, and albums of Mk II, had opportunity to see Mk II live on "Just Testing" tour, and Mk IV on "Twin Barrels Burning" tour, but "Argus" stayed most loved and listened to. Other albums of Mk I are also great, so are "There's the Rub" and "No smoke without fire" of Mk II, each of it containing great songs, epics and concert favorites, but "Argus" was successful in making the album with most progressive parts, some of them thematically connected, which other albums lacked of, as a collection of unrelated songs.

First side is generally of life and love themes, while most of second side is of war oriented songs. The best A side song is "Time was" with beautiful acoustic intro, moving into hard rocking body where guitarists showed their pyrotechnic capabilities.

B side starts softly with one guitar playing rhythm, the other playing theme, accompanied with melodic bass line, all three building atmosphere of waiting for something to happened, raising a sound level slowly, and it really does, turning into most memorable guitar riff of all Wishbone Ash songs. And when lyrics comes, with "in the fire, the king will come", you are conquered and you surrender unconditionally. Song also has nice quite gentle intermission, that once again leads into famous guitar riff, moving to effective end. After "King will come", there comes beautiful ballad "Leaf and stream", some kind of contemplative thoughts of dreams and world beyond reality. And then again, return to warriors thematic, with two connected songs, first telling about the urge to fight for freedom, and second about a need to laying down the arms, cause in war no one wins and everybody lose. "Warrior" has interesting structure, starting with calm two verses melody, changing into strong, several times in a row repeated refrain, each time with differently played in-between connection, while "Throw down the sword", the only song with keyboard support, has beautiful twin guitars intro, leading into strong ballad, finishing with great guitars soloing, each guitar simultaneously leading its own solo, merging into one at the end. Excellent!

The album is produced by Derek Lawrence, who did a great job (he also produced their previous two albums, and later "No smoke without fire"), and engineered by Martin Birch (who later worked with Deep Purple, and especially with Iron Maiden where that recognizable twin-lead guitar sound can be heard). The cover art is on the same lane with music, with famous Argus guardian watching over.

The songs are positioned on sides A and B in a way that first is more rockier, while the second is more progressive. The only complaint that I have is that maybe songs on B side should have been slightly different ordered. I think that "King will come" must be placed right before the "Warrior", to make great three songs story of war and peace. "Leaf and stream" somehow calms down the continuity of most progressive part of album, and my opinion is that this song should have been first on side B. Luckily, on CD player is easy to enter wished song order, so everyone can make his own (mine is 1-2-3-5-4-6-7).

I got two versions of LP (one gate-folded, one just sleeve), and 1991 MCA CD reissue with B-side bonus track "No easy road", but that song is somehow out of context here, it just doesn't fit. Maybe the best choice is to find 2002 MCA remaster with whole three tracks rare live 1972 EP "Live in Memphis" as a bonus, with excellent 17 minutes performance of "Phoenix" epic from first album. There is also 2007 2CD Universal remaster, with aforementioned B-side track and unfortunately only partial live EP (without "Jail bait") on first disc, but with various live performances from "Argus" time on second disc.

In recent times, the second fraction of group, Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash made excellent studio re-recording of complete "Argus" named "Argus through the looking glass" (2008) placing song "Blowin' free" as the last on disc (eventually it was supposed to be so in 1972, but LP format was a limited factor), followed by complete live version "Argus 'then again' live" (2008) by Andy Powell's fraction of band, and again by complete live performance by Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash on "The Life Begins tour" 2CD (2011). So we have four versions of "Argus" so far, two studio, two live, as a sign how much that album means to its creators (and to 'Ashers').

Regarding the first rockier album side, a kind of inappropriate place of "Leaf and stream" song on excellent more progressive B side, a fact that this is primarily a progressive rock archive, and that I am very fond of Wishbone Ash's music, bright shining four stars is something that I stand for.

 Nouveau Calls by WISHBONE ASH album cover Studio Album, 1987
2.93 | 68 ratings

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Nouveau Calls
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars This is one of those much-maligned prog-rock releases that get slammed for being deviant of past classics, as if artists need to continually rehash the same but very good songs that made their fame. All the luminary bands like Jethro Tull (Aqualung/TAAB vs Under Wraps/A), Marillion, Oldfield, Yes, King Crimson etc' have faced this rather easy criticism , which often is quite unfair both to the artist (it's their art after all) and the discerning public (who may desire diversity). In the case of Wishbone Ash, there is little doubt that albums such as 'Argus', 'Live Dates' and 'There's the Rub' are recognized classics. Within such a long career, every artist has released some form of dud, whether forced upon them by sharky record companies (Lou Reed's monstrous' Metal Machine Music' comes to mind) or just plain old 'Sometimes I feel so Uninspired' vibe as penned by Traffic.

This is part of the IRS Records collection of reworked all-instrumental material (hence the 'No Speak' label) from artists as varied as Pete Haycock, Stewart Copeland, Billy Currie, William Orbit, Steve Hunter, Jimmy Z, Ronnie Montrose, Robbie Krieger, Jan Akkerman, Darryl Way and a few compilations. Some are pretty good, others okay but I daresay this is one of the better ones. Sadly, it gets knocked down by those who wished for another bone (excuse the pun) of dual guitar, rock 'n roll mayhem. Again context is crucial, as many progressive bands in the late 80s were left in the proverbial desert of unemployment, as disco, punk, grunge and new age ruled the airwaves. These were very lean years indeed and anything that defied the fads is better than silence, in my opinion. The set list on 'Nouveau Calls' (a wordplay on 'no vocals') comprises 11 tracks all written by Andy Powell, Martin Turner and Steve Upton, and by adding Ted Turner, this is the definite classic Wishbone Ash line-up. As discreet rock music but bold background music, it contains a few brilliant tracks, namely the suave 'Arabesque', the fabulous 'In the Skin', the heavily synthesized opener 'Tangible Evidence' (also emboldened by a delirious and funky bass furrow).

The other tunes are all interesting, the twangy, bass-propelled 'From Soho to Sunset' shows a slick technique of unending detail (lap-steel, mandolin) , some closer to rock roots like 'Something is Happening in Room 602' with its cool surf-guitar licks or the Police-like riffs on 'Johnny Left Home Without It', conjuring images of Andy Summers on the guitar. If one added vocals to songs like 'The Spirit Flies Free', this could have been a hit among their hits, as Powell and Turner show off gorgeous melodies on the fret boards, then shriek like madmen, the mandolin making another fine appearance.

The last two tracks are the Achilles heel of this album. Not a big fan of the rather limp 'A Rose is a Rose', it's a 'skip it' track that is just too saccharine for my taste. The finale is the short 'Real Guitars Have Wings', a mid-tempo piece that offers complex guitar interweaving but offers a very binary feel that fails to explode into nirvana. But the 9 previous tracks are completely listenable.

My conclusion: listen to this album without paying attention to who it is, let bygones be bygones and evaluate according to what you hear and not what you would like then to play. I enjoyed this album when it came out in the prog 'Ice Age' and still do today.

3.5 Novophones

 Live in London 1978 by WISHBONE ASH album cover Live, 2012
3.83 | 3 ratings

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Live in London 1978
Wishbone Ash Prog Related

Review by tvtennis

4 stars This one is a rare find, a 'bit on the expensive side, if you are fortunate to find it. It appears to be taken from the "No Smoke Without Fire" tour, Recorded at Hammersmith Odeon, London On 25 November 1978 with the MK 2 lineup. The audio is very good, my only gripe is, that it is too short, clearly not the entire show. However if you combine it with the "Live in Tokyo" from the same tour, you get a decent length, close to a full concert. That one has a total of 5 tracks on it, 3 of which appear on this release as well: "The Way Of The World"; "You See Red" & "Blowin' Free". Despite doubling-up on those 3 tracks, it is still enjoyable to combine the two for one "more complete" performance, since the performances differ, after all they were performed on two different times and on different continents. As far as the performance is concerned, it rivals the "Live Dates 2" release, perhaps less polished, but that raw feel gives it even more appeal.
Thanks to alucard for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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