Wishbone Ash
Wishbone Ash



by SheriffOfHongKong USER (6 Reviews)
May 14th, 2015 | 13 replies

Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most overlooked albums of the 70's. Progressive Rock doesn't get much better than this.

One of the many hidden gems of rock 'n roll, Wishbone Ash's debut is nothing short of breath-taking. Consider the fact that they had only been playing together for about a year, and that makes it even more remarkable. Released in 1970, the album would prove to be a benchmark for all albums to come during that incredible decade.

First of all, I consider Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be the two most gifted guitarists in all of rock music. For two guys who didn't make much of an impact, they could flat-out PLAY better than anyone else I've ever heard (yes, Hendrix included). Take the beginning of "Handy", for example. I have never heard any other players weave their guitars together and create such heart-breaking melodies. It's absolutely hypnotizing. The scorching solo on "Lady Whiskey" is another great example. Martin Turner proves to be a phenomenal bass player, complemented by Steve Upton to form one hell of a rhythm section.

The album begins with Blind Eye, a stomping boogie tune. The groove is just irresistible. Great, jazzy playing from Andy and Ted. Gotta love that stop/start structure. Next up is Lady Whiskey. Built around a wonderful riff, resplendent with some thundering bass and ferocious guitar playing in the middle. From here on out the album delivers the goods in a big way. Errors Of My Way incorporates folk music into their sound, and the result is grand. Those vocal harmonies by Mart and Andy are just divine. Great, emotional guitar solo as well. This song is one of my favorites on the record. Next comes Queen Of Torture, an absolute riff monster. Now THIS is one rocking tune! Just listen to that riff. First solo is good, second one BURNS.

Side two of the record opens up with one of the greatest prog rock songs of all time. Handy is no doubt the highlight and centerpiece of this amazing album. This is one of the most unique songs I've ever heard by anyone. Kind of hard to categorize, it's kind of "psychedelic jazz". It begins with some glorious, un-accompanied bass playing. Let it be noted that I've rarely heard anyone else who can get such wonderful melodies from a bass guitar. Martin was really awesome. Then, Ted and Andy come in and play some of the most beautiful, dreamy, haunting melodies that have ever been recorded. The atmosphere they convey is astonishing. Then Martin comes in with another bass solo, and it turns into a mid-paced rocker with awesome guitar. There's a short drum solo before it turns into a pure jazz tune. The most amazing thing here is the guitar solo. Andy and Ted were only 19 or 20 at the time. The fact that somebody could play that good at such a young age is incredible. Jazz is one of the hardest styles to play on guitar, yet these guys rip it out like child's play. The licks are amazing - fast, stinging and amazingly fluid. The song ends with some crazy scat-singing from Martin. If you had to pick one song to show someone new to Wishbone Ash, this is the one.

Phoenix closes the album in a grand way. No doubt it's a masterpiece, the way it evolves from a slow, eerie ballad to an all-out guitar thunderstorm (courtesy of Ted Turner). Absolutely stunning. The lyrics, of course, are about the legendary fire bird Phoenix, believed to have risen from ashes to fly again. This is, hands down, one of the greatest electric guitar pieces ever made. What Ted does here is amazing - going from lovely and serene to furious and gut-wrenching in a matter of seconds. His bends are almost tear-inducing, and that ear-melting lick at the 6:49 mark is especially devastating. Man, someone get an extinguisher 'cause that boy was ON FIRE!!

Wishbone Ash would go on to have a long and successful career throughout the rest of the 70's, but they never topped this masterpiece of Psychedelic Prog Rock.

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user ratings (97)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2015


Great to see this one reviewed and a nice review too, pos.

I think you're a bit hyperbolic at times but I can see that you love these guys a lot.

Digging: Sojourner - The Shadowed Road

May 15th 2015


shout out to Wishbone Ash
everybody remembers Argus but
there is much more than that
pos pos pos for reviewing this

May 15th 2015


Glad to see this finally has a review. Like manosg said, a tad hyperbolic in places, but a good job overall. Pos'd.
This record is right up there with Argus, imo. Both are excellent. "Phoenix" may be my favorite from here.

Digging: Rota Fortunae - Solstice

May 15th 2015


nice review will have to check this one
argus rules

May 15th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Wow mad props for reviewing this. I thought I'd write one myself in the future because this was in desperate need, have a pos too.

Digging: Turbowolf - The Free Life

May 15th 2015


Album Rating: 3.0

Thank you, now I want to listen to this again

May 16th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

phoenix is brilliant, nice rev

July 1st 2015


this is too good

July 1st 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Bump of the day?

July 1st 2015


so many high-average albums damn

September 28th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

Queen of Torture goes just that hard

May 20th 2017


I found out about this band today at a jam session/guitar class. We played errors of my way, amazing song

June 12th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed, Errors of my way is definitely one of the best songs on here; the whole album is pretty solid though

Digging: John Mayall - A Hard Road

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