Wishbone Ash – Clan Destiny (2006)

FrontCover1Wishbone 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.

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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.

Clan Destiny is the nineteenth album (!!!) from Wishbone Ash. It is the first album to feature guitarist Muddy Manninen, who replaced his student, Ben Granfelt, in 2004. ((by wikipedia)

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Wishbone Ash was mistakenly lumped in with the boogie bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s when it first started out, but the group soon developed its own voice—a majestic sound of intertwining guitars and regal vocals, matched by a certain propensity to improvise upon lyrical imagery of knights and warriors that made the group sound like refugees from King Arthur’s court with guitars instead of swords.

Not surprisingly, the band’s been through more than its share of personnel changes since then, but it soldiers on under the aegis of guitarist Andy Powell these days, constantly touring and regularly recording. Clan Destiny is a play on words that carries more than a little significance when you listen to the current Ash lineup (though some more action photos would have been preferable to the lyrics printed in the CD book liner).

It’s one thing to deliberately try to recreate a distinctive sound and style, quite another to actually do it. Listening to the opening track, it’s absolutely uncanny to hear the tenor vocals mesh with the dual guitars that harmonize to create hooks. The effect is the same on the next track, “Dreams Outta Dust, but the little things make it sound different, including how the second vocal enters on the second line of the verse while a mandolin murmurs in the background. The largely original material on this disc, recorded in just over three weeks in Massachusetts, takes a variety of forms. “Healing Ground, for instance, alternates a dirty guitar figure that acts as a refrain, the dynamics of which are highlighted by way the instruments drop out on the bridge to reveal a sole falsetto vocal.

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Clearly Powell has assembled a band with a palpable chemistry, including some not untalented, though perhaps overachieving, musicians. Yet you can’t really deny the savvy of bassist Bob Skeat, second guitarist Muddy Manninen and drummer Bob Weston, nor their versatility: Skeat plays various keyboards, while Manninen handles lap steel and slide (the way he decorates “Your Dog demonstrates how he serves the song, instead of flashing pure technique). And for his part, Powell, still brandishing a Gibson flying-V guitar, does an admirable job on vocals—and like his three compatriots, he knows that less is definitely more when it comes to soloing.

In fact, Clan Destiny keeps improvisation in tight rein. Wishbone Ash uses the studio as a means to craft smart arrangements, rather than confine jamming. Nevertheless, the quartet generates some momentum on “Steam Town, while the instrumental “Surfing a Slow Wave sounds at once everything like vintage Wishbone Ash and something more, its delicate tandem lines echoed in the melancholy of “loose change. (by Doug Collette)

And I´m surprised how good this album was … listen to “Surfing A Slow Wave”, “Capture The Moment”, “Healing Ground” … or, or,or …

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Personnel:
Muddy Manninen (guitar, vocals)
Andy Powell (vocals, guitar, mandolin)
Bob Skeat (bass, piano, clavinet, vocals)
Ray Weston (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Eyes Wide Open (Andy Powell/Aynsley Powell/Manninen) 5.15
02. Dreams Outta Dust (Andy Powell) 4.27
03. Healing Ground (Cromwell/Nicholson/Greenberg/Rhodes/Wynans) 4.25
04. Steam Town (Andy Powell/Skeat/Manninen/Weston) 4.03
05. Loose Change (Andy Powell/Skeat/Manninen/Weston/Harris) 4.47
06. Surfing A Slow Wave (Kicklighter) 3.48
07. Slime Time (Powell/Manninen) 4.54
08. Capture The Moment (Andy Powell/Skeat/Manninen/Weston) 3.30
09. Your Dog (Andy Powell) 3.33
10. The Raven (Manninen) 4.46
11. Motherless Child (Traditional) 4.07

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And here … Wishbone Ash, live in 2006:

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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)

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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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Wishbone Ash – Argus (1972)

FrontCover1.jpgArgus is the third album by the rock band Wishbone Ash. It is their most commercially and critically successful album. It peaked at No. 3 in the UK Albums Chart.

The album is medieval-themed, featuring a blend of progressive rock, folk, and hard rock, and is considered a landmark album in the progression of twin-lead guitar harmonisation later adopted by bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. The sound engineer on Argus was Martin Birch, who also worked with Deep Purple, later with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and other hard rock bands.[6] The bulk of the lyrics were provided by bassist/lead vocalist Martin Turner, although all members are credited with the music and arrangements.

It was named “Album of the Year” in the 1972 year-end issue of Sounds magazine. (by wikipedia)

If Wishbone Ash can be considered a group who dabbled in the main strains of early-’70s British rock without ever settling on one (were they a prog rock outfit like Yes, a space rock unit like Pink Floyd, a heavy metal ensemble like Led Zeppelin, or just a boogie TShirt.jpgband like Ten Years After?), the confusion compounded by their relative facelessness and the generic nature of their compositions, Argus, their third album, was the one on which they looked like they finally were going to forge their own unique amalgamation of all those styles into a sound of their own. The album boasted extended compositions, some of them (“Time Was,” “Sometime World”) actually medleys of different tunes, played with assurance and developing into imaginative explorations of new musical territory and group interaction. The lyrics touched on medieval themes (“The King Will Come,” “Warrior”) always popular with British rock bands, adding a majestic tone to the music, but it was the arrangements, with their twin lead guitar parts and open spaces for jamming, that made the songs work so well. Argus was a bigger hit in the U.K., where it reached the Top Five, than in the U.S., where it set up the commercial breakthrough enjoyed by the band’s next album, Wishbone Four, but over the years it came to be seen as the quintessential Wishbone Ash recording, the one that best realized the group’s complex vision. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Warrior, The King Will Come, Time Was, Blowin Free are such Classics..In fact every track on this album is at least very good if not excellent! This is the “Must Have” Ash recording and has become regarded by most as their finest hour..Its a master piece of prog rock, mystical, diverse and exciting and every track is delivered with conciseness and consistently high quality. One of the best Prog Albums ever! (Steve Smith)

Wishbone Ash were a staple of me and my friends’ mainly English, Progressive leaning lineup of early 70’s bands, and Argus is undoubtedly one of, if not the best, of their albums from that period and this lineup. It is very typical of the then newish, album-oriented, rather than singles, days, in that it is to be listened to as a whole, and indeed, with only two tracks coming in under four minutes, this wasn’t AM radio material (AM radio was still the predominant format in the U.S., esp outside cities). Those were the days of the complete ‘album experience’.

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You put it on, you listened to both sides, in order (Argus only had 2 songs on the second side, so it was a typical listening ‘experience’, then). And that was a big achievement, to put out an album with no fillers and is what brought forth many masterpieces of that time. Argus is full of many songs with strong hooks, however; even the long, ‘proggy-ier’ songs, which change in tempo, etc, have many memorable moments. Powell’s and Ted Turner’s dual guitars turn in joyous performances here, landing them on many ‘best of’ lists. There are softer tracks on this album (the lovely Leaf and Stream) as well as hard rockers, like the majestic Warrior. The King Will Come, and overall theme were often looked upon as Tolkien references, as Lord of the Rings was extremely popular and mined by many bands at that time Although I own and love all of their first four albums, this is my go-to Ash album, and certainly the most cohesively proggy of those. (S BB)

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Personnel:
Andy Powell (guitar, vocals)
Martin Turner (bass, vocals)
Ted Turner (guitar, vocals)
Steve Upton (drums, percussion)
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John Tout (organ on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. Time Was 9.46
02. Sometime World 6.57
03. Blowin’ Free 5.20
04. The King Will Come 7.08
05. Leaf And Stream  M. Turner 3:55
06. Warrior 5.54
07. Throw Down The Sword 6.00
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09. No Easy Road (single version) 3.39

All songs written by Andy Powell – Martin Turner – Ted Turner – Steve Upton

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I’m leaving to search for something new
Leaving everything I ever knew
A hundred years in the sunshine
Hasn’t taught me all there is to know

The valley, we will gather there
Helpless in our surrender
Tomorrow the plow becomes the sword
Make us stronger in our danger

Time will pass away
Time will guard our secret
I’ll return again
To fight another day

I’d have to be a warrior
A slave I couldn’t be
A soldier and a conqueror
Fighting to be free

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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Wishbone Ash – First Light (2007)

frontcover1First Light is the first album by rock band Wishbone Ash. The recording was made to get a record deal but as the band signed to MCA Records with the well-known help from Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in early 1970, they decided to re-record most of them.

In 2006 a Wishbone Ash aficionado from America named Dr. John managed to purchase the acetate from a Christie’s auction and in 2007 the re-discovered recordings were released by Talking Elephant and so the Wishbone Ash fans finally got the opportunity to experience the very original versions of tracks from the debut-album as well as two never before heard songs “Roads Of Day To Day”, and “Joshua” and a vocalized version of “Alone” (which appeared as an instrumental on the second album Pilgrimage). The album as a whole represents the band in their first stages of their creation. During the sessions of recording, the band used homemade instruments – Martin Turner used a homemade bass guitar which he had bought for £5. (by wikipedia)

Back in late 1969 or early 1970, a very young Wishbone  Ash (Andy Powell,
Ted Turner, Martin Turner and Steve Upton) made an album of  songs in hopes of
securing a record deal with a major label. This album was  recorded in the dead
of night at AdVision Studios in the UK. Upon completion it  was then sent
over to Apple Corps LTD in London for mastering

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For over 35  years, these recordings have remained forgotten in the Apple
vaults gathering  dust. Recently, however, Christie’s Auctions put this acetate
of these  recordings up for purchase through their online auction house where
it was bid  on and won by collector extraordinaire, Dr. John. Dr. John then
contacted Andy  Powell about the find and offered them back to him to do with as
he pleased in  hopes that they would be released for all the fans of the band
to enjoy.

What makes these recordings so special is the energy and enthusiasm
displayed on every song played. “First Light” has a rawness and edge that the  first
official recording on MCA lacks. Plus it contains two songs never released
anywhere before.

This special artifact contains the first known  recordings of: Lady Whiskey,
Roads of Day to Day, Blind Eye, Joshua, Queen of  Torture, Alone, Handy, and
Errors of My Way. The recording of Handy on this disk  is worth the price of
admission alone. (by talkawhile.co.uk)

What a brilliant album !

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

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Tracklist:
01. Lady Whiskey 3.11
02. Roads Of Day To Day 5.51
03. Blind Eye 3.35
04. Joshua 2.13
05. Queen Of Torture 3.09
06. Alone (with vocals) 3.09
07. Handy 12.41
08. Errors Of My Way 6.24

All songs composed by Andy Powell, Martin Turner, Ted Turner, and Steve Upton

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