Wishbone Ash – Pilgrimage (1971)

FrontCover1Pilgrimage is the second studio album by the rock band Wishbone Ash. The album focuses more on folk and acoustic music as opposed to the blues rock sound that dominated the first album. The album also contains an instrumental jazz workout (“Vas Dis”) and a four-part harmony vocal track in the spirit of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young (“Valediction”).

The album sold well, reaching no.14 in the UK charts, but the band would reach their creative and commercial peak with their next studio release, Argus. (by wikipedia)

Wishbone Ash’s sophomore release, Pilgrimage, unveiled their creative genius after a debut that merely presented them as a boogie- and blues-based rock outfit. The opening track, “Vas Dis,” with its jazz bassline, slicing rhythm guitar, and gibberish vocals was their answer to “Hocus Pocus” by Focus (or vice versa as both were released in 1971). “Jail Bait” has gone on to become a Wishbone Ash staple as well as possessing one of the more memorable guitar riffs of ’70s rock & roll.

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A conscientious effort seemed to be in place for this band to write and perform material better suited to their gentler vocal tendencies. Where Wishbone Ash essentially went full tilt throughout, Pilgrimage is a moodier affair that includes beautiful, slower melodies like the brief instrumentals “Alone” and “Lullaby” along with the chilling “Valediction,” which should have been an Ash classic but is rarely featured on live and hits collections. Even though this band toned it down a bit for this album, their impressive guitar playing was heightened due to the variance in their songwriting. Next to Argus this is the Wishbone Ash album to judge all other Ash albums by. (by Dave Sleger)

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Live at the Reading Festival, 1971

Personnel:
Andy Powell (guitar, vocals)
Ted Turner (guitar, vocals)
Martin Turner (bass, vocals)
Steve Upton (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Vas Dis (McDuff) 4.46
02. The Pilgrim (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 8.34
03. Jail Bait (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell)  4.46
04. Alone (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 2.24
05. Lullaby (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 3.04
06. Valediction (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 6.21
07. Where Were You Tomorrow (live at De Montfort Hall, Leicester on June 14, 1971) (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 10.26
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08. Jail Bait (live) (N.Turner/Upton/T.Turner/Powell) 4.55

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