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


Wishbone Ash


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3.90 | 210 ratings

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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 ( 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.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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