A R T I C L E S
a n d I N T E R V I E W S
Sounds, 11 September 1971 by Ray Telford
The Confidence in Wishbone
By the time this sees the light of day Wishbone Ash will only have a few gigs left of their second tour of America. The fact that Wishbone came up the hard way is no publicist’s hype. They did play through a lot of home-made equipment until just before their album came out and they certainly did plough through the club and college scene for many months. Apart from getting the experience, the travelling of the mundane British circuit also must have eased their conscience in the knowledge that they had paid their dues the hardest way any British band can and their success now is justifiable.
Their first album presented a pretty comprehensive picture of what they were about, not to mention getting down on record at last the songs they had been playing on every gig for 18 months previously. The new album, about to be released here shortly, according to a brief chat I had with drummer Steve Upton before the group left for the States, is a much more confident and direct piece of work. I have always preferred the group live because they get their charge from a crowd’s reaction – which is invariably excellent – and they perform according to moods.
There are the obvious pleasures of listening to Wishbone Ash like the guitar inter-play between Andy Powell and Ted Turner, but they have never lowered themselves into the trap of becoming technical freaks. Steve echoes the opinion that you need only be as technically proficient as your music demands.
In a recent Sounds interview Steve said: “This is a thing we discuss a lot among ourselves. I mean, it’s all very well being technically brilliant but I don’ see any point in it. If there was anyone of us who the others felt was going too far by himself, the rest of the musicians would get frustrated. There’s got to be complete empathy within a group and it must grow and progress as one unit.”
The tremendous sales of Wishbone’s first album on the MCA label and the already assured sales of the new one mirrors just how popular they are. Sounds readers, too, took it on themselves to name them as the best British new band, an honour they have won, I guess, because of their respect for an audience.
As it has been said before no two audiences are the same and no two groups are the same and after watching the group play at numerous gigs over the past 18 months they have gradually developed a strong stage presence which guitarist Ted Turner modestly claims has come about because they had more time to concentrate on that side of things after having virtually kept the same repertoire for well over a year.
Whatever other attributes Wishbone Ash may possess, perhaps their greatest is in their unshakable confidence. It only remains now for the next album to be released to consolidate them further.