Wishbone Ash are a British rock band who achieved success in the early and mid-1970s. Their popular albums included Wishbone Ash (1970), Pilgrimage (1971), Argus (1972), Wishbone Four (1973), There’s the Rub (1974), and New England (1976). Wishbone Ash are noted for their extensive use of harmony twin lead guitars, which had been attracting electric blues bands since Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page had played together in the Yardbirds in 1966. Their contributions helped Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be voted “Two of the Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History” (Traffic magazine 1989), and to appear in the “Top 20 Guitarists of All Time” (Rolling Stone). Melody Maker (1972) described Powell and Turner as “the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds”. Several notable bands have cited Wishbone Ash as an influence, including Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, Metallica, Dream Theater, Overkill and Opeth.
Formed in Torquay, Devon, in 1969, out of the ashes of trio The Empty Vessels (originally known as The Torinoes, later briefly being renamed Tanglewood in 1969), which had been formed by Wishbone Ash’s founding member Martin Turner (bass & vocals) in 1963 and complemented by Steve Upton (drums and percussion) in 1966. The original Wishbone Ash line-up was completed by guitarists/vocalists Andy Powell and Ted Turner. In 1974, Ted Turner left the band, and was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. The band continued on with strong critical and commercial success until 1980. There followed line-ups featuring former bass players from King Crimson (John Wetton), Uriah Heep (Trevor Bolder), and Trapeze (Mervyn Spence), Wisefield left in 1985. In 1987, however, the original line-up reunited for several albums – Nouveau Calls, Here to Hear and Strange Affair – until 1990, when Upton quit the band. After Martin Turner was replaced in 1991, the band recorded The Ash Live in Chicago, before Ted Turner left in 1993. This left Andy Powell as the sole remaining original founding member of Wishbone Ash to continue the band on into the future.
There’s the Rub is the fifth studio album by rock band Wishbone Ash. It is 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.
The title is taken from Shakespeare’s Hamlet; “To sleep—perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub.”
The track “F.U.B.B.” caused controversy upon the album’s release because of the acronym’s meaning (“Fucked Up Beyond Belief”). Moreover, the haunting ballad “Persephone” would go on to become one of the band’s most popular live songs. The lyric of “Lady Jay” is based on the Dartmoor folk legend about Kitty Jay.
The cover art designed by Hipgnosis shows a cricketer rubbing (in effect, polishing) a cricket ball on his trousers, leaving a mark – a common practice by fast bowlers who do so to make one side of the leather ball shinier than the other. This helps the ball to swing as it travels through the air after being bowled, so making it harder for the batsman to play it.
The album peaked at No. 16 in the UK Albums Chart.(wikipedia)
With producer Bill Szymczyk running the sessions, the group finally gets a studio sound as solid as their concert sound. Most impressive all the way through.(by Bruce Eder)
Ash’s first album with guitarist Laurie Wisefield shows the band moving towards a more streamlined, commercial approach. That said, the band’s signature twin lead guitar sound seems to benefit from Wisefield’s use of the Les Paul and other various guitars. He is clearly qualified to take the place of the departed Ted Turner, as songs such as Silver Shoes and the bona fide Ash classic Persephone amply demonstrate. Lady Jay offers some intriguing folkish elements, as well as literate lyrics. Overall, one of the best albums from a band yet to receive the respect they truly deserve. (John Gilmore)
I just discovered Wishbone Ash this year. I knew the name and had heard of Argus but was not familiar with any of their music. I first bought Argus and was blown away. I then got the s/t album and was equally impressed. I read online Four was great so I got that. It was very different (much mellower) but after a few listens I started to like it. From there I went crazy and got Pilgrimage, Front Page News, New England, the elusive Number the Brave and “There’s The Rub”. I have found that I am one of those who loves every era and album. This one is a little heavier sounding than the others. It still has the trademark Ash sound though. Even though I’ve still only heard this 3-4 times now, there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s a classic. Highly recommended! (Chris Aug)
Andy Powell (guitar, mandolin, background vocals)
Martin Turner (bass, vocals)
Steve Upton (drums, percussion)
Laurie Wisefield (guitar, steel-guitar, banjo, background vocals)
Albhy Galuten (organ, synthesizers on 03.)
Nelson Flaco Padron (percussion on 06.)
01. Silver Shoes 6.33
02. Don’t Come Back 5.08
“Persephone” – 7:02
“Hometown” – 4:48
“Lady Jay” – 6:00
“F.U.B.B.” – 9:33
All songs by Andy Powell – Martin Turner – Steve Upton – Laurie Wisefield
- (coming soon)