Wishbone Ash – Wishbone Four (1974)

SignedFrontCover1Wishbone Four is the fourth studio album by British rock band Wishbone Ash, released in 1973. It was a departure from their previous album, Argus, in that it lacked that recording’s overall cohesion and atmosphere and the loose conceptual framework of a stately, pastoral and warring medieval England. Containing only hints of the extended twin-lead guitar harmonies, Wishbone Four’s stylistic variety found its footing in acoustic folk elements in half of the eight-song set (“Ballad of the Beacon”, “Everybody Needs a Friend”, “Sorrel” and “Sing Out the Song”), two aggressive and melodic starters on each side of the vinyl release (Side 1: So Many Things to Say” and Side 2: “Doctor”), and the band’s first use of horns on the semi-autobiographical “rave-up” touring song “No Easy Road”.

Although the sombre, sensitive and rather more fragile acoustic songs contained the wistful intro elements that featured on the previous album, the lead guitars lacked the slow climb of the band’s trademark duelling crescendos and energetic fretwork expected from the band at the time, tending to a more subtle and subdued interplay on the longer tracks. Wishbone Four was popular among fans upon its release as it implied musical growth and a willingness to experiment in the band’s divergence of a successful formula (similar at the time to the effect of Led Zeppelin III’s contrast to that band’s previous efforts).

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Wishbone Four was also the first release not produced by Derek Lawrence but by the band themselves. There’s the Rub, the band’s next and fifth studio album’ was the first album to feature guitarist-vocalist Laurie Wisefield, who would be a major part of the band’s creative direction for the next 11 years, as founding member Ted Turner left the band after the subsequent Wishbone Four tour. (by wikipedia)

WishboneAsh 1974

The progressive aspirations were put aside for Wishbone Four, the group’s most solid-rocking album, though the folk-based element is still there, more solid than ever. “Ballad of the Beacon” is a genuinely beautiful song, and might have come from any number of electric folk-rock bands — the fact that it came from Wishbone Ash indicates just how serious they were in wanting to explore some of these sounds. Their most mature and successful album. (by Bruce Eder)

This album contains one of the best Wishbone Ash songs, Rock & Roll Widow. But before you get to this last song, you get such gems as Ballad Of The Beacon, So Many Things To Say, and No Easy Road. After Argus, this is the Wishbone Ash album to own. (Bryan Adkins)

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Personnel:
Andy Powell (guitar, vocals)
Martin Turner (bass, vocals)
Ted Turner (guitar, lap-steel-guitar, vocals)
Steve Upton (drums, percussion)
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Graham Maitland – piano on 03.)
George Nash (keyboards on 04.)
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horn section on 03.:
Phil Kenzie – Dave Coxhill – Bud Parks

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Tracklist:
01. So Many Things To Say 5.06
02. Ballad Of The Beacon 5.05
03. No Easy Road 3.49
04. Everybody Needs A Friend 8.25
05. Doctor 5.54
06. Sorrel 5.04
07. Sing Out The Song 4.25
08. Rock ‘N Roll Widow 5.53

Music by Wishbone Ash;
Lyrics by Martin Turner, except “Rock ‘n Roll Widow” by Steve Upton

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