D I S C O G R A P H Y
Released: September 1970
UK chart position: 14
Martin Turner's memories:
"In May 1971, just five months after the release of our first album, we went back to De Lane Lea studios to start work on our second album, Pilgrimage, with Derek Lawrence and Martin Birch at the helm again.
We were all a little more confident this time, with the experience of the first album behind us. The band was extremely tight by this stage, having honed our musical skills by playing live and Pilgrimage was certainly a technically better recording than the first album. However, one thing I did feel was lacking this time was material. We’d been so busy working live that we hadn’t had the time to get into writing. As a result a lot of the material that ended up on Pilgrimage was material that we didn’t get to use on the first album. There were disparate elements there and it was all very experimental, but it was still early days in our career.
I’m not ashamed of Pilgrimage. It’s a lovely album as far as being a document of where we were at that particular point in time, and obviously each album leads to the next stage."
adapted from the book "No Easy Road - My Life and Times With Wishbone Ash"
Read review from Disc and Music Echo, September 1971
Read review from Melody Maker, October 1971
Well I'll start by saying that this is a really good album, although I always prefered the first to this one myself. "Vas Dis" for me is the best instrumental ever done by WA. I thought it was stunning when I first heard it and I still think so today with its jazzy feel, great intro roll, wonderful bass work and a brilliant AP solo. "The Pilgrim" is a WA masterpiece again with excellent guitar work and boy is it tricky to play! "Jailbait" has become an "expected" last track or encore track and perhaps should have been near the end of the album? "Alone" was cut down for some reason but I still like this version. "Lullaby" is a lovely little track. I was never keen on "Valediction" but it did grow on me after a time. Then we get to "Where were You Tomorrow" which i've never liked and always thought it was too long and spoilt the album in my opinion. I think a shorter studio version might have been better but there you go. Still considering how good the first album was this wasn't a bad second offering was it?
I love this album, for many reasons. Firstly it was the first WA album I ever heard. In fact it was about the first rock album I ever heard and this, Led Zep IV, Who's Next and Atomic Rooster (In Hearing Of) and later Argus, kick started me into the world of rock music! Pilgrimage is a fantastic album. It's always been my second favourite WA album, after Argus. I agree with Tony's comments re "Where Were You Tomorrow". Having heard First Light, Pilgrimage might have been even better with the inclusion of "Roads Of Day To Day" instead. I love the way most of the songs slide effortlessly into each other, the playing is superb throughout - the guys were so inspired when creating this. There are some aspects that, for me, even top Argus! Pilgrimage sounds more adventurous in the extended instrumentals. Who else would include a disharmonious passage such as in "The Pilgrim" (I have heard reports of Andy grimacing on stage during this section when he plays this onstage!) As well as the instrumentals, the band also show that they can really rock with "Jailbait" - that one has always sounded as if it should have been on the first album! Pilgrimage is better that the first album as most of it hangs together as if it was conceived as a whole. "WWYT" is the exception. Having said that, I can see that the band were keen to get across to fans just how exciting they were as a live band. Presumably that was the reason to include "WWYT"
Fully agree with almost all the comments about Pilgrimage, fantastic album, but "Where Were You Tomorrow" means a lot to me and I'll explain why. Pilgrimage was released in 1971 and it was over 2 years before Live Dates was released at the back end of 1973. So for that time "WWYT" was the ONLY live WA recording in existence. As a consequence, I listened to "WWYT" over and over just wishing I could be at a WA gig. Yes its not a great song, the recording feels like it was done from one mike at the back of the hall, the Andy Powell vocal is rubbish (his playing is great of course), the clap-along bit in the middle is too long, the audience go out of time with Steve Upton (damn useless Leicestershireonians or whatever they call themselves), plus it doesn't feature much of Ted Turner playing (was he having a rest after playing "Phoenix"?). But it does capture all the energy of a WA gig, and for so long it was all we had. So please go easy on "WWYT"!
Pilgrimage is another one I've fallen for recently. I always liked "Vas Dis" and "Jailbait", but listening to all of it, it flows well with all the tracks. A definite 5/5 if we were rating such things - as we're not...then I'll just say it's bloody brilliant!