D I S C O G R A P H Y
New England (1976)
Released: October 1976
UK chart position: 22
Martin Turner's memories:
"Following the experience of Locked In, when it came time to record the next album, everyone was against the idea of paying to go into a recording studio with a producer and maybe ending up unhappy with the result again. We were therefore adamant that the next album had to be done under our terms. During the Summer/Autumn of 1976, at our base in Connecticut, we directed all our energy into writing and recording our next album. By this time we’d put together a pretty decent rehearsal studio in the basement of my house Laureledge, where the walls, floors and ceiling were covered in carpet underlay.
We brought in a mobile recording studio to Laureledge – the kind of unit we would normally use to record a live show. We parked the mobile outside my house and recorded in the basement. Producers Ron and Howie Albert became involved and they were up for recording in this way. The Albert brothers were house producers at Criteria studios and we had met them previously. They were great guys, two brothers – a fat bloke and a thin bloke – who had set up a production company called Fat Albert Productions. Once we’d got the basic tracks down we took the recordings down to Criteria in Miami where we recorded vocals and mixed the album.
The set-up worked well and I really enjoyed recording in the basement. With Locked In we had tried to do something that wasn’t natural to us. When you have someone as respected as Tom Dowd telling you what to do, you are obviously swayed by that and are prepared to give anything he suggests a try. Once we’d been through that, our attitude was “Fuck that for a game of soldiers, let’s do it our way now”. So, with the New England album we decided to just do what came naturally. The whole period spent writing and recording New England was a very positive and productive time for the band."
adapted from the book "No Easy Road - My Life and Times With Wishbone Ash"
Revitalizing after the lackluster Locked In, the boys reached back for a little something extra on this one (baseball metaphor). The mellow and meditative "Prelude" and "Candlelight" hearken back to "Lullaby" and (the edited) "Alone" onPilgrimage. But too brief! - wish they had developed these or just indulged in some extended guitar soloing. Then, for the heavier tastes, you've got the crunchy, riff-laden "Runaway" and "Mother of Pearl" (distant relation of "Lady Whiskey", perhaps?). "Outward Bound" is one of the best songs - instrumental or vocal - these guys ever cut. Worthy of Mk 1. "Lorelei" is no "Persephone", but she's still prety cool. All-in-all, not on the same level as There's The Rub, but good enough to stand at #2 for the Mk 2 lineup.
I think this is a cracking album: a dynamite flurry of haymakers after the rope-a-dope of Locked In. The elegant album packaging probably helped - it just exuded precision and class. The songs range from well executed rock songs to confidently extended elegaic material. Its an album that when I hear it, I think- "this could well be the best thing they ever did!". The tour which supported the album was my personal favourite of any WA gig - they were on fire at this point - still four young turks at the peak of their game.
I've always loved this album and along with the first album, I'd say this is my favorite of all. I don't think there's a bad track on it. I still think that this album was Laurie Wisefield at his finest moment. "Mother of Pearl" is a great little opener followed by the sweet "In All Of My Dreams You Rescue Me". "Runaway" is an awesome rocky track in my view, even my own band used to open with this number. Another great track follows with Lorelie with that lovely little Steve Upton beat and wonderful guitar work at the end. "Outward Bound" has to be one of the best instumental tracks (along with "Vas Dis"). "When you Know Love" has always been one of my fave tracks again with great guitar work. "Lonely Island" has the best solo of all the WA albums in my view. "Candlelight" still puts hairs up my back every time I hear it. A STUNNING album that's all I can say about it.