Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash opened the Argus tour with fantastic performance at a packed High Barn in Great Bardfield, nr Braintree last night.
The sold out audience enjoyed a revamped set list which saw the band concentrating on the more recent additions to the set list plus several songs MTWA have never played live before (one of which has never been played on stage...ever!).
Argus itself was beautifully reproduced in all its glory in the second half of the show.
Why Don't We
Rest in Peace
Everybody Needs a Friend
You See Red
Lost Cause in Paradise
The King Will Come
Leaf and Stream
Throw Down the Sword
Time and Space
More Argus Deluxe Reviews..
JAN 25 2008
Their twin guitar sound pioneered the way for Thin Lizzy among others, but Wishbone Ash never really reaped the commercial and critical awards their melodic hard rock deserved.
A version of the band still tours, and this newly spruced up and expanded version of their best album (originally released in 1972) is a reminder of just how good they could be.
They certainly knew how to rock out (the lengthy guitar outro of “Sometime World”), but elements of folk and jazz, a lightness of touch and a more than passing acquaintance with melody distanced them from contemporaries like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Their greatest five minutes, the headbanging boogie of Blowin’ Free, is here, along with other fan favourites like “The King Will Come”, “Phoenix” and “Time Was”, while th second disc is a rather fine BBC live set from the time.
Neil McKay, Sunday Life, Belfast 6 January 2008
Founder vocalist and bassist Martin Turner is still doing the rounds with the latest version of the classic 70s band but it’s still the twin guitar work of Ted Turner and Andy Powell that most fans long for. This deluxe version of what is commonly regarded as their definitive album couples the original tracks with three bonus studio items on one CD and then another six live tracks plus two bonus mono items on a second. The biggest surprise is how fresh much of it still sounds.
Blackpool Gazette, 1 Dec 2007
Wishbone Ash embellished their twin-guitar attack with a fondness for Authurian legend. Still, it worked in 1972 when “Argus” reached the UK Top 10. A 2CD deluxe edition is, however, rather too much of such a badly dated thing.
Q, January 2008
“Argus” has previously been re-issued, but that won’t stop Wishbone Ash aficionados buying this release for the bonus live CD: a 1972 BBC Radio 1 ‘in concert’ recording. As for the rest of us, I suggest we don’t bother because “Argus” has not aged well at all.
Trucking, March 2008
Laurie Wisefield Update
JAN 24 2008
LAURIE WISEFIELD has been in touch with news of his current activities. As you will see, Laurie has a busy year ahead of him.
"As far as news goes last year was a very busy year; here's a quick breakdown. On the Night of the Proms last year, I worked with Macy Gray, Paul Carrack, Roby Lakatos, Donna Summer (which was a lot of fun), a band from Corsica called I Muvrini, a German band called Pur, and earlier in the year Tears for Fears, from France Lara Fabian, and Sharleen Spiterri from Texas! Did some recording in Germany for a friend of mine Siggi Schwarz for an album of Soul classics also featuring Chris Thompson and Chris Norman two great singers!! Did a "War of the Worlds" tour with Jeff Wayne at the end of 2006 which is now on DVD.
I am back in "We Will Rock You" now, rocking most of the time until April, although I do have nights off mainly on Saturday. April I have some shows in Begium & Spain with the Proms. So far confirmed artists are Jim and Charlie from Simple Minds and Alan Parsons - both are no strangers to the Proms. Jim and Charlie are also confirmed for the Proms later in the year along with a very unusual and entertaining act called Igudesman & Joo. So, between the Proms, WWRY, and a couple of other things still pending and possible and hopefully a holiday thrown in somewhere, that's about the year."
High Barn Sold Out
JAN 23 2008
Please note that Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash's 1 February concert at the above venue has been declared a sell out.
As always we urge fans to book tickets for all Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash concerts in advance to avoid disappointment. If travelling to show without a ticket we recommend you telephone the venue to check ticket availability before setting off.
Wetton/Downes guest on Argus
Add Date here
As we approach the New Year, we are pleased to announce that Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash have been busy in the studio this week putting the finishing touches to their new recording of ‘Argus’, which is scheduled for release during February 2008.
The recording is now finished with just the final mixing to be done.
The recording was given the icing on the cake yesterday when Martin Turner was joined in the studio by John Wetton, who added his distinctive vocals to “Throw Down the Sword”. The blend of the voices of Martin and John – two of the true signature voices of classic rock – proved to be the perfect combination, breathing new life into the song’s harmony vocal parts, while at the same time retaining full respect for the original arrangement.
In addition, we can reveal that John’s Asia partner Geoff Downes has also made a musical contribution to the album, beautifully reproducing the Hammond organ parts on “Throw Down the Sword” that were originally played by John Tout.
Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash wish to take this opportunity to sincerely thank John and Geoff for their special contributions to the album.
A Christmas Message from Martin Turner
DEC 25 2007
What a year !!!
So much to be grateful for. Amidst the barrage of sad news around the world, of war, famine, disaster, greed, poverty, bad government and assorted despondency which the news editors threw at us on a daily basis, it has dawned on me that we should be increasingly appreciative of those values and pursuits which unite us, let's get a perspective.
On a personal front, I have enjoyed a personal milestone and remain indebted to my wonderful close and extended family who have supported me throughout my return to the stage.
On a professional front, my relationships with management, agent, publicist, designer, various promoters and the music industry in general have fortified and we enter 2008 with much passion and anticipation. Gary Carter, you are a rock of strength and you have never wavered in your support, well done Sir.
On a musical front, I pay enormous tribute to Keith, Ray and Rob, men of extraordinary talent, who have helped and enabled me to play Wishbone Ash music again exactly how I believe it should sound. I do appreciate everything you have done guys and I hope that we can go from strength to strength. The first 12 months was fraught with problems to surmount, one obstacle after another, and I am humbled by your determination, loyalty and class during this period. This year has been encouraging and I hope that in the next year you can enjoy some rewards. Mick, on the sound - thanks also go to you for coping superbly under pressure, also Howard for your artistic contributions.
On an interactive front, I thank all of you who contribute to wishboneash.co.uk. You brighten up the place and you are never stuck for words on a wide variety of subjects. Thanks to you all, On a wider front, thanks go to all the Wishbone Ash fans and followers out there whose support is fundamental to what we do.
Talking about 'without whom', I am reminded of my band mates and how we met in 1969, kindred spirits, living out of transit vans and united by our music and camaraderie. During this year I have strengthened my ties with Steve and Ted and as we head towards 2009, (the ruby anniversary of the band), it would be wonderful if we could achieve some kind of re-union to mark the occasion. It would require everyone to focus on the big picture and be prepared to compromise on what divides us, it is possible if we can concentrate on what really did make the band such a huge success in the 70s and are prepared to be honest and come clean on the divisions and nonsense that have divided us.
My team have made the initial moves in trying to bring this about for 2009 and it remains to be seen if the response is positive. So, in conclusion, I take this opportunity to wish Andy and his band, as well as Ted, Steve, and Laurie a healthy and enjoyable 2008. I hope that we can find a way to come together at some point, I'm sure it could produce a pretty good party in 2009, and maybe a few reunion shows too, after which we can return to our bands with renewed vigour and with a more united Wishbone family.
24 Dec 2007
More Argus Deluxe Reviews...
DEC 23 2007
In the early 1970s, Devon’s Wishbone Ash were one of the freshest and most exciting and original bands on the UK rock scene. When I witnessed them as a wide-eyed teenager I was convinced they were the greatest band on earth and I would never see better – and as it happens, there haven’t been many. One of if not the first to perfect the twin lead guitar sound copied a billion times since, their live performances were hailed as much for their honesty and musical integrity as for their excitement. Argus, the band’s third album released in 1972, was the most successful of their long career, containing perennial faves like the classic Blowin Free. This double CD set contains the remastered original album plus a live disc compiled mostly from BBC shows introduced by the ever cringe-worthy Whispering Bob Harris. Do they sound dated? Yes, they do! Does anyone care? Not me – this is great stuff!
Andy Parker, Burton Mail, Staffs 23 Nov 2007
It seems incredible that, 35 years on from the first release of Wishbone Ash’s masterpiece, there will be rock music lovers around now who hear the word Argus and think you are talking about catalogue shopping. Wishbone Ash were once so close to supergroup orbit, it felt as though their work would reverberate for ever. Argus was the top album of 1972 according to Sounds music weekly. Today, however, it would only top the forgotten-gem category.
From a musical standpoint, then, any re-release of the original is good news, particularly this re-mastered digital version which offers later generations some rock education in a modern format while giving those more chronologically challenged a chance to revisit, de-hissed, part of the soundtrack to their youth.
Argus was Wishbone Ash’s third album and they have never bettered it in terms of impact, musicianship, lyricism and concept. Boasting mythically tinged folk powered by twin lead guitars, a tone of legend and valour is set by the watchful guardian of the title gazing out from the front cover. Track names such as Warrior, The King Will Come and Throw Down the Sword fuel the mood, while the illusion is given musical form by repeat use of contemplative openings which build inexorably toward the majestic electric duels between Ted Turner and Andy Powell.
The apotheosis of this comes on the haunting finale Throw Down The Sword, a luxuriant slice of classic-roc heaven which, on pain of death, should always be heard as the album’s final word. Unfortunately, the re-mastered original bleeds into so many bonus tracks, that won’t be easy.
There are 11 in total, which include an overwhelming three versions of Sword, three of another Argus track Blowin Free and two of The King Will Come. The quality too can be destabilising. A vintage selection recorded for radio, centering on the 1972 set from Radio One’s In Concert, has a very rough and ready feel. The Pilgrim and Phoenix are taken from Live From Memphis, a US promotional oddity. To further challenge the meaning of bonus, everything here has been released before; even the re-mastered Argus first came out five years ago. These bits are clearly for the Wishbone anorak.
At least Argus still retains its power. Which cannot be said for the band, whose following is now cult not mass. There are two versions of Wishbone Ash, one fronted by Powell, the other by founder member Martin Turner, who is considering recording a new version of Argus next year. Thirty-five years on and it still defines the band.
Martin Thorpe, Classic Rock, Dec 2007
Although Wishbone Ash’s final album – their third, released in 1972 – was remastered five years ago, this ‘deluxe’ re-release should be welcomed by Ash aficionados for its inclusion of a second CD of the band’s launch of Argus on BBC Radio 1’s In Concert programme, linked by a young, pre-whispering Bob Harris, and it should be embraced by any classic rocker too young to remember the album but respectful of the fact that it was voted 1972’s finest by readers of both Sounds and Melody Maker. Ash’s melody making was based on folksy tuneful harmonies allied to glorious, blues/rock instrumentation via those trademark twin guitars of Ted Turner and Andy Powell. Although sounding a trifle dated 35 years on, it’s still head and shoulders above new releases in ’07.
Ashley Franklin, Rock Society, Dec 2007
It’s always a strange feeling reviewing an album that has been around for nearly 35 years and been subjected to every criticism – and in this case mainly acclaim – possible.
Wishbone Ash’s Argus is so often described as their definitive album and it has been remastered from the original tapes and re-released with a bonus concert disc.
Argus was originally recorded in 1972 and propelled the band to major league status alongside the likes of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Black Sabbath. It was also voted Best Rock Album of the Year by the readers of Sounds magazine.
Argus was originally seven tracks, but this remastered disc also contains three bonus tracks of rare BBC radio recordings and live recordings from 1972.
There is also a bonus disc which features the band’s memorable 1972 BBC Radio One In Concert appearance which launched Argus and remains one of the best concerts recorded for radio by Wishbone Ash.
Track upon track builds as a showcase of what can be created when not only talented but incredibly creative and musically tight musicians get together.
As the average seven-minute song length suggests the music is quite progressive. There are some immense instrumental areas to the songs and the remastered version only enhances this sound. Wishbone Ash’s music is a great candidate for this clear and fresh production.
Tracks such as Sometime World begin as beautiful ballads before gradually building into a chunky full-on guitar crescendo while Ted Turner and Andy Powell’s twin guitars offer an exciting dimension to songs like The King Will Come and Warrior.
This is an album that really has stood the test of time and swaggers with a self assured confidence into today’s generation’s music collection.
Sharon Richardson, Great Yarmouth Advertiser, 22 Nov 2007
The best reissues of 2007.
No. 7 - Wishbone Ash - Argus
Not only the most celebrated album from this Brit band, but among the most influential in establishing the twin-guitar approach. It’s an essential record, if only to prove how underrated Wishbone Ash remain.
Classic Rock, Jan 2008
Wishbone Ash’s third album is generally cited as their definitive recording. Released to widespread acclaim in 1972, it included several of the tracks which have been most readily associated with the band ever since.
The LP that happens to incorporate such compositions as “Blowin Free” “The King Will Come” “Throw Down The Sword” and “Time Was” is inevitably going to remain an absolute favourite among Wishbone Ash devotees.
Its diverse repertoire encapsulates the characteristic elements of the group’s sound, which afforded it a lofty standing in 70s-vintage progressive-classic rock.
Assured and attractive vocal endeavours combine with an instrumental approach most notable for its twin-guitar interplay; the songs themselves carry ambitious and mature lyrics which can embrace mystical themes and biblical references – the words set to eclectic but always melodic music that encompasses driving boogie work-outs and pastoral, more folkie sensibilities.
This double CD special edition runs for nearly two and a half hours; the original album is its starting point, with the first disc carrying a re-mastered “Argus” plus the b-side of a single and two live tracks from an EP and the second disc comprising contemporary sessions recorded for Radio 1.
The broadcast performances are dynamic and enthralling excursions through nearly all the songs on “Argus” together with two epic renditions of “Phoenix” and one of “The Pilgrim” – both of these earlier pieces similarly emerging as perennial Ash thoroughbreds.
The Beat, Dec 2007
Ash don’t seem to have dated as well as other bands: they did the twin lead guitar thing long before Thin Lizzy but while Lizzy are perennial favourites Ash are largely forgotten.
The Allman Brothers are revered but say “Ted Turner and Andy Powell” and people would probably say “Television guy? Radio One DJ?”
Originally released in April 1972, “Argus” is said to be the crowning moment of the recording career of Wishbone Ash. Fans and critics see it as the definitive Ash album yet I bet it hardly ever figures in those “best 100 albums of all time” polls you get when magazines and newspapers need to fill space.
If you’ve never heard of Ash, they’re a bit like Jethro Tull or Yes: prog rock combined with jazz, blues and folk, with quite delicate vocals. In fact the whole sound is delicate and precise, even when both guitars are going full bore.
It opens with “Time Was” , initially a gentle acoustic track which then gently explodes into some kind of Americam alt country rock song; think the Allman Brothers. There’s a nice rocky ending with a big guitar solo. This is prog rock so it’s 9.44 long.
“Blowin Free” is a classic, from the opening guitar to the jazzed up 12 bar blues to the hippy lyrics: “I thought I had a girl / And all because I seen her”. This guitar section towards the end could have been performed by Thin Lizzy in their early days.
“The King Will Come” is next, another classic: again, think Allman Brothers. If the riff was beefed up and speeded up, Iron Maiden (more twin guitars) could have done it. And I don’t want to bang on, but the distorted guitar solo sounds suspiciously influential in Thin Lizzy’s “The Rocker”.
The band members are all really good players so musically it’s of a high standard and the tunes are good; it just lacks something, probably a vocalist and with a distinctive voice – particularly noticeable on some songs, like “Sometime World”.
It’s also maybe just too good: it’s technically superb and great for a bit of loud navel gazing but doesn’t make you go “Whooooaa!”
This new edition features the original album mix, newly remastered from the original tapes plus rare BBC Radio sessions, live recordings from 1972 and a bonus disc featuring the band’s 1972 BBC Radio One “In Concert” appearance which launched “Argus”.
An ideal Christmas present if you (or your dad) are into prog rock, and if you like the Thin Lizzy twin axes or the rolling country tinged American rock from the early 70s, give it a whirl. It came out on Monday.
Congleton Chronicle, Cheshire 29 Nov 2007
More Argus Deluxe Reviews
NOV 27 2007
Although Wishbone Ash’s finest album – their third, released in 1972 – was remastered five years ago, this ‘deluxe’ re-release should be welcomed by Ash aficionados for its inclusion of a second CD of the band’s launch of Argus on BBC Radio One’s ‘In Concert’ programme, linked by a young, earnest sounding, pre-whispering Bob Harris, and it should be embraced by any classic rocker too young to remember the album but respectful of the fact that it was voted 1972’s finest by readers of both Sounds and Melody Maker. Ash’s melody making was based on folksy tuneful harmonies allied to glorious, blues/rock instrumentalism via those trademark twin guitars of Ted Turner and Andy Powell and although sounding a trifle dated 35 years on, it’s still head and shoulders above most new releases in 2007.
Ashley Franklin, Classic Rock Society
ORIGINALLY released in 1972 and the album that propelled Wishbone Ash to fame alongside the ilk of Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and Black Sabbath, this deluxe edition of the timeless Argus features the original album mix – newly remastered from the original tapes – plus rare BBC Radio sessions, live recordings from the same year and the memorable 1972 BBC Radio One In Concert performance that launched the LP. Wishbone Ash don't mess with their formula – as before, this long-running British rock institution purveys a mix of blues, folk and Yes-style riffs mated to endearingly cosmic lyrics. The songs here, however, are considerably more focused and well crafted than on the band's previous efforts, and the harmony singing is delightful. As always, the band's basis is the tag team guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner. Fans of this duo's mix of Yardbirds and Allman Brothers-style harmony licks and dueling solos will find much to admire here, particularly The King Will Come and Time Was, a folk-ish epic in several contrasting sections. All in all, Argus is one of the best guitar albums of the early 70s. And this new double-disc delight is a real treat for fans old and new.
The Argus Tour 2008
NOV 20 2007
As first announced on 1 October 2007, Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash will be undertaking The ARGUS Tour during 2008. Initial tour dates can be found here, with further shows expected to be added shortly.
Here follows the official press release for the tour.
With millions of album sales and concert attendances worldwide, Wishbone Ash’s heritage as one of the most enduring and best loved British rock acts is assured, while the band’s innovative twin-guitar hallmark has influenced numerous successful rock acts over the years. Fronted by the founding member, lead vocalist and key creative force of the original band, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash remains faithful to the original Wishbone Ash blueprint and, during its live concerts, performs a wide variety of material from the band’s classic album releases.
In a move which is certain to delight Wishbone Ash aficionados and fans of classic rock music in general, 2008 sees Martin Turner revisiting Wishbone Ash’s classic 1972 album Argus. Generally revered as one of the definitive albums of the rock era, Argus won ‘Album of the Year’ awards in celebrated UK music papers Soundsand Melody Maker and was one the best selling UK albums of 1972. As lead vocalist and principal song-writing force behind Argus, Martin Turner is delighted to be able to bring his creation to life once more and, in addition to the CD release of a stunning fresh interpretation of Wishbone Ash’s most critically and commercially successful work, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash will be making worldwide concert appearances throughout 2008, with the centrepiece of the live show being a performance of the complete Argus album - the first time this rock masterpiece has been performed live in its entirety.
The Argus tour follows Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash’s highly successful and acclaimed period of UK and European touring throughout 2006/07 to promote their two-part live album New Live Dates. During the Argus concerts, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash will perform a two-part set and, prior to the complete performance of Argus, the band will perform a varied selection of material from other classic Wishbone Ash albums.
Martin describes working with his current band line-up of Keith Buck (guitar), Ray Hatfield (guitar) and Rob Hewins (drums) as “an extremely rewarding experience on both a musical and personal level, with a positive vibe not unlike the early days of Wishbone Ash. Collectively we have had a great time revisiting many of the classics from the vintage days of Wishbone Ash. I am confident that we have compiled a show that will please all true Wishbone connoisseurs.”
Now a little over 35 years old, ‘Argus’ is awarded the deluxe 2 CD treatment with this edition boasting the original album mix (newly remastered from the original tapes), plus rare BBC Radio sessions, live recordings from 1972 and a bonus disc featuring the band’s memorable Radio 1 “In Concert” appearance which launched the album. Still their best known, and most critically acclaimed, work it features the widely considered “classic” line-up of the band comprising of Andy Powell, Martin Turner, Ted Turner and Steve Upton, and is often cited as a landmark album for twin lead guitar harmonies later used by Lizzy, Maiden and countless others.
Undoubtedly this is an album that still holds up remarkably well, even if some of the medieval themed lyrics (for ‘The King Will Come’ and ‘Warrior’) are now somewhat dated. The two stand out moments here are still the near ten minute ‘Time Was’ and, of course, ‘Blowin Free’, both of these songs displaying an air of confidence and taking the band into previously unexplored musical areas that finds them seamlessly switching from prog to folk to rock and back again. Another song that stands out is the gentle acoustic ambience of ‘Leaf and Stream’ with its dreamlike and calming atmospheric qualities. And any review of this album has to make a mention of the exemplary guitar solo in the dramatic closing number, ‘Throw Down The Sword’ which remains a captivating listen.
The added extras here all combine to make this a very worthwhile purchase, in particular the “In Concert” gig boasts some outstanding guitar work from Powell and Ted Turner and has a 20 minute, largely improvised, version of ’Phoenix’ that fans will relish in hearing again.
It is well worth remembering that back in 1972 this was the record voted ‘Album of the Year’ in end of year readers polls, placing it ahead of ‘Close To The Edge’, ‘Foxtrot’ and ‘Thick As A Brick’ to name just three. More than a third of a century may have passed, but ‘Argus’ remains the quintessential Wishbone Ash recording.
NOV 9 2007
For the benefit of any fans who intended arriving at the show without a ticket, please note we have been informed that tonight's appearance by Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash has been declared a sell out by the venue.
Argus Deluxe Edition - First Review
NOV 6 2007
ARGUS DELUXE EDITION
REVIEW by Sam Thomas, www.live4metal.com
Remastered. That’s one of those words that immediately makes you think: why? There are several possible answers to this: forgotten lost classic, well worth dusting off; ageing band trying to capitalise on a new market; cynical attempt by record label to do the same; etc. The problem with that kind of thinking is that it is so negative. A better way of looking at it would be: opportunity to package together some absolutely blinding material and produce a superb quality release which should be of interest to many different groups of people.
Now at this point I should come clean and explain where I stand with Wishbone Ash and with “Argus” in particular. At one point this album constituted approximately one-tenth of my entire music collection. On vinyl. I bought it again about two years ago on CD, and it was one of very few purchases that made me think it really was worth going back and replacing my lost vinyl. Scarily, I am still word-perfect on all the lyrics – why is it that all the formulae that I struggled to learn for maths at the same period have completely vanished?
This deluxe edition consists of two CDs, the first being basically a remastered version of the original album plus three bonus tracks “No Easy Road”, “The Pilgrim” and, inevitably “Phoenix”. The quality of the recording is exceptional – even at first listen it was so much better than my previous CD. I’m not always a huge fan of remastered stuff, but in this case, you can tell that some serious work has gone into this production. Disc two is a recording of the 1972 BBC Radio One “In Concert” session, which is perhaps most interesting for having introductions by Whispering Bob himself. There are also two bonus mono tracks which, bizarrely, give you the opportunity to listen to “Blowin’ Free” and “Throw Down the Sword” three times on two CDs. Maybe that’s just for the complete anoraks amongst us…
On its original release, “Argus” was voted “Best Rock Album of the Year” by the readers of Sounds magazine (Remember Sounds?). It became the definitive Wishbone Ash album. That’s two good reasons to own it. And here’s a third: this edition is absolutely beautiful, it contains everything you need to know about Wishbone Ash, a much neglected British band. The songs are so well written and performed that they stand up perfectly to the test of time. The band’s style, borrowing elements from folk and blues to produce what we all at the time called “progressive” rock (not yet “prog”) has not dated at all. “Throw Down the Sword” still has the power, thirty-two years after I first heard it, to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
Nothing more needs to be said. Just go out, buy the album, and settle back for over two hours of sheer perfection. “Argus” was a great album originally, and this production has enhanced it to the point of brilliance.