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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