Few Wishbone Ash fans will argue that ‘Argus’ stands as their masterwork and is a perfect blend of rock and prog, beautiful harmonies and shimmering hooks.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Wishbone Ash
SERIAL: MCG 3510
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Martin Turner – bass, vocals * Andy Powell – guitar, vocals * Ted Turner – guitar, vocals * Steve Upton – drums
Additional Musician: John Tout – organ
TRACK LISTING: 01 Time Was * 02 Sometime World * 03 Blowin’ Free * 04 The King Will Come * 05 Leaf And Stream * 06 Warrior * 07 Throw Down The Sword
WEBLINKS: Site Link
In studied preparation for this review, I recently took stock of how many Wishbone Ash albums I have in the collection. Too many probably, thirteen in all and everything up to 1982’s ‘Twin Barrels Burning’ with the exception of ‘Locked In’ from ’76 that for some odd reason I never got around to.
Still, I’m wondering why I’ve kept them for so long since I rarely go back to them anymore and if I do it’s usually ‘Argus’ I’ll spin once or twice and put away until the next time. Infamous for the twin lead guitar sound they originated, the Ash were unique and hugely successful, especially in the States where at their peak of popularity were pulling off big arena tours while selling records at a pretty good clip even without a ‘hit’ single.
Few Wishbone Ash fans will argue that ‘Argus’ stands as the band’s masterwork and is a perfect blend of rock and progressive styles, beautiful harmonies and shimmering hooks. Remember this is 1972 and while twin guitars in unison became the norm as the decade wore on, especially with beer bellied Southern rockers, Wishbone Ash were never a balls-out band and ‘heavy’ was not in their vocabulary.
Indeed, the sizzling opener ‘Time Was’ despite its slow start has all the earmarks of the Southern sound with an extended solo that sets the tone and sounds like so much snaky Hydra. ‘Sometimes World’ follows the same pattern with virtuosic leads to die for and the mildly proggy ‘Blowin’ Free’ gets a might twangy with Crosby, Stills & Nash harmonies.
But songs like ‘The King Will Come’ and the epic ‘Throw Down The Sword’ where Renaissance keyboardist Jon Tout joins in on organ, show a band not oblivious to their British roots adding a little folk to their doppelganger guitar-charged approach.
By the 1980’s John Wetton‘s brief membership notwithstanding, Wishbone Ash were a mere shadow of their former selves and lost much of their relevance and in turn, my interest. These days Wishbone Ash is still active with guitarist Andy Powell trotting out the old standards on occasional tours but really, does anyone care anymore?