D I S C O G R A P H Y
Released: April 28th 1972
UK chart position: 2
Martin Turner's memories
"We began recording our third album Argus during the tail end of February 1972, following our UK tour. Once again we used the tried and tested team of Derek Lawrence producing and Martin Birch engineering. De Lane Lea had just moved to a new studio in Wembley, located in the shadows of the famous twin-towers of Wembley Stadium, and had upgraded from the eight-track, 1 inch tape that our first two albums had been recorded on, to sixteen-track, 2 inch tape. These gave us much more control over the sounds and separation for each instrument. We spent a week recording and then Derek spent a week mixing. My only regret is that the vocals were a little rushed, recorded in one day in between completing the music and Derek mixing the album. As for the song material, we’d actually started putting ideas together for the album a few months earlier, pretty much directly after we’d finished Pilgrimage.
Much of the song-writing took place at the house I shared with Steve and Ted - 43 St. Quintin Avenue in North Kensington. We were a pretty tight little unit by this stage. With Ted, Steve and myself all living together and Andy just around the corner within walking distance, it was easy to get together to rehearse new material, which we did pretty regularly. We worked the arrangements up acoustically and I can remember it being quite a thrill to hear the material with electric instruments for the first time, because we’d been so used to hearing the songs acoustically. Personally I’d spent a lot of time – every minute I could muster – writing most of the lyrics and melodies for the album over a period of about nine months.
I wanted to put together an album that was much more defined and integrated than Pilgrimage had been and the themes I began writing about were things that had been on my mind for many years. With Argus I deliberately set about writing something that I felt dealt with really important themes, one of these being time and the illusion of time.
Although we had no idea that we’d created what would later be revered as a “classic album”, I knew we had something special with Argus from the first time I heard the album played back in the studio from beginning to end, after everything had been mixed and edited. It was a relief to get the album finished and it was also a release for me as a lot of personal energy had gone into it – I was absolutely drained at the end of the sessions. That album was like the male equivalent of giving birth. I found myself sitting in the control room and being gobsmacked by what I was hearing. I was completely overcome with emotion and actually started crying tears of joy. I thought the album sounded absolutely wonderful. It was everything I’d always imagined the band could be."
adapted from the book "No Easy Road - My Life and Times With Wishbone Ash"
Read review from Melody Maker, July 1972
Having heard the first two WA albums and thinking how good they were, surely WA couldn't come up with yet another fine album could they? YES is the simple answer to that! This is yet another timeless classic and was to prove to be arguably their finest moment and definitly Martin Turner's finest moment for sure. I'm sure it was never intended to be a concept album but it's about as close as you can get to being one. Any bad tracks to let it down? NO chance! "Time Was" sets the imagination going with it's slow and spacey intro that gets you wondering just what's coming next, then it suddenly opens up into one of the finest tracks the band have done. "Sometime World" follows again with a slow start before bursting into life with THAT bass line with the scat vocals...wonderful stuff. Then we come to "Blowin' Free" which has become the definitive encore and known by guitar players who happen to be in a shop trying guitars out! you can be sure if it's not "Smoke On The Water" they are playing it's "Blowin' Free"! I still think it should have been near the end of the album though, just my view of course. I've always thought that "The King Will Come" was the best Ted solo of all. "Leaf and Stream" written by Steve Upton has probably the best lyrics of all WA albums. "Warrior" is yet another fine track with great guitar work and usually (live) seemed always to be followed by "Throw Down The Sword", yet another WA epic. Even the album cover gives this album a sence of mystique somehow. This has got to be WA at their peak, a fine album indeed.
Without question Argus is the best Wishbone Ash has ever done.....still the highest rated in polls...still the most downloaded...still the most popular with everyone I've ever met! And, as it is Martin's "baby", I have no doubt's or qualms about any remixing, rereleasing, etc. he chooses to do...because this album is not just special to US...it's extremely special to HIM. He would only ever do it justice. But, KUDOS to all the lads for the original ARGUS, so near and dear to us all..........M,T,A,and S!
Argus is a renowned classic rock album. It was the ultimate Wishbone Ash album. It had everything that the band was about. Argus shows that Martin Turner is a very crucial element in Wishbone Ash music. Andy Powell has recently said in an interview that lyrics were not his thing in the past because, he says, he didn't have much to write about. Steve penned the beautiful "Leaf and Stream". These lyrics are probably the most beautiful from the WA stable. From the first album through to and including Argus, there was a fantastic chemistry between the band members. They struggled because of their dedication to make Wishbone Ash a success. Very often not having enough food or money for essentials. Still, they were visionary. They knew what they wanted and stuck firm in their resolve. They worked at their craft with unceasing,relentless pursuit of their dream. Argus was and is without doubt the reward for their effort. There will never be another Argus but we can live in hope of new material from Martin.
Argus was and is a brilliant album. Martin came along with a brilliant concept and Andy, Ted and Steve helped flesh the thing out into the masterpiece we all know and love. It would not have been the same without all their respective contributions - and in a similar manner to Roger Waters and Pink Floyd - although clearly one person was pushing the whole thing along creatively from an inception point - it took the whole band to bring it to life.