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Wishbone Ash - Almighty Blues: London and Beyond - 2004 - Classic Rock Legends Ltd

Wishbone Ash is back in a big way with an incredibly powerful performance on this live SACD Almighty Blues: London and Beyond. It seems like a perfectly suitable title for this album, with a stress on the "Almighty." This band paid their dues long ago, and to see that they are still pumping out vital and invigorating blues-prog-rock makes my heart smile. Those of you that are fortunate enough to have a surround system are in for a real treat! The sound for a live performance is quite simply, amazing. I felt like I was right there with everyone in the audience watching them play. After hearing this performance, I decided to look into their entire back catalog. I already had Time Was: The Wishbone Ash Collection set but never sought out any of their previous releases. That is going to change. I received this album at the beginning of the week and I have not stopped listening yet. I am completely enthralled with their rockin’ bluesy progressive sound. My favorite tracks, as well as all the others, not only rock they have a definite Celtic atmosphere swirling about them, particularly "Warrior" and "Come Rain, Come Shine." Whether that is intentional or not it sure makes their sound unique and interesting. I think it’s the right combination of Andy Powell’s voice (English accent) and their overall sound that gives them that definitive Celtic edge. Powell and Ben Granfelt also perfect the double guitar attack nicely; they are an awesome one-two punch completely in sync with each other. Ray Weston (drums) and Bob Skeat (bass/vocals) are the backbone of the band that the two lead guitar players depend upon to take their music to the next level, and believe me they have no problem doing so. Oh yes, Wishbone Ash is back, and stronger than ever! Since they are one of the true pioneers of the double guitar attack, it is only appropriate that such a dynamic live show was committed to tape for their longtime fans and all of the newly initiated coming onboard to discover what great blues-rock is all about. Enjoy! © Keith "MuzikMan" Hannaleck http://www.muzikreviews.com April 4, 2004 © 2000-2010, 2011 Buzzle.com® · All rights reserved. © http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/4-4-2004-52522.asp

One reviewer referred to Wishbone Ash's music as a blend of Procol Harum, Renaissance, Kayak, BOC, Saga, Robin Trower and the later Gentle Giant and Camel. That's quite a good description. Wishbone ash combined blues, folk, jazz, and progressive rock elements to create a very distinctive sound. "Almighty Blues" is a terrific live album from the great band recorded on the band's 2002-2003 tour to promote the "Bona Fide" album. The album is HR by A.O.O.F.C. Although most music critics will point to albums like "Argus" and "Pilgrimage" as being two of the band's best albums (which they are), give a listen to the band's classic "Wishbone Four" album which is often overlooked


1 Almighty Blues - Filgate, Powell, Pyle 6:19
2 Warrior - Powell, Turner, Turner, Upton 5:52
3 Throw Down The Sword - Mould, Powell, Turner, Turner, Upton 5:36
4 Standing In The Rain - Turner, Wishbone Ash 6:04
5 Faith, Hope And Love - Granfelt, Powell 7:14
6 Changing Tracks - Granfelt, Harris, Powell 4:14
7 On Your Own - Filgate, Powell, Turner 5:21
8 Come Rain, Come Shine - Granfelt, Powell 6:00
9 Ancient Remedy - Powell, Schwartz 5:00
10 Time Was - Alan, Powell, Prado, Russell, Turner, Upton, Wisefield 10:35
11 Jail Bait - Powell, Turner, Turner, Upton 6:09

N.B: This SACD release features the same tracks and running order as on the 2003 "Almighty Blues - London & Beyond" Video DVD release except the track "Underground" which is excluded, making "Throw Down the Sword" Track 3. An identical album to this post was released in 2010 entitled "Live on Air". This concert has been released in various formats through the years, using different names


Andy Powell, Ben Granfelt - Guitar, Vocals
Bob Skeat - Bass Guitar, Vocals
Ray Weston - Drums


More than 28 years after they were named the "Brightest Hope" and the "Best New Group" in the influential British music publications Melody Maker and Sounds, Wishbone Ash's following and influence continue unabated. Founding members Andy Powell and Ted Turner were voted among the top 20 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, and the group's albums continue to be strong sellers around the world. The story of Wishbone Ash began in July of 1966, when Martin and Glen Turner met Steve Upton. The Turner brothers' drummer had just quit their band, and when they learned that Upton had played professionally in England and Germany, they asked him to join them. The new trio called themselves the Empty Vessels, after the proverbial saying, "empty vessels make the most noise". Soon afterward, the trio changed their name to Tanglewood and moved from their native Exeter to London. They didn't have much luck initially, and were on the verge of disbanding when they were booked into the Country Club in Hempstead, opening for former Yardbirds vocalist Keith Relf. Into that club wandered Miles Copeland, a young man new in town and impressed by what he heard. "Miles was an expatriate who had been brought up in Beirut by a Scottish mother and a southern American father," Andy Powell recalled. "His experience with rock music was minimal. London, I think, was a really mind-blowing experience for him, and Tanglewood had a very English sound. Steve was a jazz-oriented drummer, and Martin Turner's bass was very far out in front of the mix. Martin played melodically with a pick, in the English style of Jet Harris (of the seminal British group, The Shadows), Paul McCartney, and later Sting." Copeland invited Tanglewood to his father's house in St. John's Wood, and offered to manage the band. Guitarist Glen Turner opted to return to Exeter, but Martin and Steve decided to keep trying. "Miles started running advertisements in the music papers," said Powell, "and prospective guitarists would come to the house and audition. It finally came down to Ted Turner and myself, and they couldn't decide between us. So the band decided not to hire a keyboard player, as they'd originally planned, and took us both instead!" The new group was subject to a variety of influences. Powell was a veteran of various semi-pro blues and soul outfits, and a player who listened to bands from Fairport Convention to the Who. "Pete Townsend had a profound impact on me as a rhythm player", Powell said. He credits his experience in soul bands, working with horn section harmonies, with inspiring the dual lead guitar format that he and Ted Turner developed. David "Ted" Turner (no kin to Martin) had also played with a blues band, and was influenced by American blues players such as B.B. King. The rhythm section , Martin Turner and Steve Upton, was into more progressive groups and was "hugely impacted" by Led Zeppelin. Martin was also influenced by the Who's John Entwhistle. From that disparate combination of elements came the distinctive sound of Wishbone Ash. "It was crucial in those days that everybody have their own sound," said Powell. "There was a great spirit in the air in the late 60's. The clubs were very active, there was a lot of R&B, and a lot of blues, like the Pretty Things and early Fleetwood Mac. The scene was open to anything that would expand the imagination." As for the group's name, Powell explained, "We wanted something that wouldn't tie us down to a particular style. Miles came up with a number of wacky names - I remember Third World War and Jesus Duck. Finally there were two lists, one of which had the word Wishbone on it and the other of which had Ash. The combination sounded intriguing - actually, it sounded like more than it was." The members of the band were determined to succeed. Andy said,"We were provincial boys coming to London, so there was a very strong commitment to stay and make something of the situation. The bedsit that Ted and I lived in for six months was condemned. Miles, at the same time, lived around the corner from Paul McCartney." Naturally, the band spent as much time at the Copeland house as possible. Ted Turner recalled that "Miles had a healthy supply of crumpets for us, and we lived on crumpets in those days." "We had only one place to go, and that was up," Andy agreed. "I was playing on a home-made guitar. Martin was playing on a homemade bass, and we built our own speaker cabinets in a garage. We were literally existing on about 15 dollars a week. One flat that I lived in had a gas heater that I kept going by recycling the same shilling through the coin box for a month. We took about six weeks, rehearsing from eleven in the morning until eleven at night, to put completely new songs together. We weren't always happy with everything we did, but we knew that we were good and that we had created a distinctive sound. We didn't even give ourselves the license to think that it wouldn't work." In the meantime, Miles tried to find work for the band. He was, Powell recalled with affection, a slow starter. "We were the first band that Miles had ever managed. He was clueless, completely at odds with the music business as it was practiced in London, which in hindsight was probably to everyone's benefit." The band's first-ever job was as opening act for Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation at Dunstable Civic Hall. Since the band at first aroused little interest at home, the increasingly inventive Copeland used some of his contacts to land the group work in Europe. Paris became to them the kind of developing ground that Hamburg had been for the Beatles. "Blind Eye" was the band's first single. Andy described it as "a jazz, blues, riffing kind of thing written by Ted and myself. The riff for the twin lead guitar parts was a very specific continuation of some horn parts I'd been writing in soul bands." When Ted Turner heard it on the radio for the first time, "It was very exciting. It was also the first time I heard myself sing - after that I always tried to get the others to sing!" The band's first big break resulted from a gig with Deep Purple. Ritchie Blackmore jammed with Powell during a sound check, and was impressed enough to mention the group to Purple's producer, Derek Lawrence. Lawrence, in turn, was impressed enough that he convinced the "powers that be" at Decca Records (US) to sign the band. As a result, Wishbone had a record deal in the United States before they had one in England! The band's following multiplied, and they released their first album, Wishbone Ash, in 1970. It contained the song "Phoenix", arguably Wishbone's masterpiece. Ted Turner described it as "just an elongated, structured, jam", but it was a perfect showcase for their dual lead guitar work. The only other British band using twin lead guitars that Wishbone was aware of was the obscure Blossom Toes, now memorable mainly as the breeding ground for longtime Rod Stewart guitarist Jim Cregan. "We didn't become aware of the Allman Brothers", Powell said, "until we came to the States. Years later, we were very surprised when we heard Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird", which struck us as very much the same sort of thing as "Phoenix"." That first album was followed by Pilgrimage in 1971, and Argus in 1972. The British music magazine Melody Maker awarded Argus the accolade of "The Best British Album Of The Year." "Blowin' Free", Ash's signature tune from that album, came together as an exercise around the "D" chord. Ted Turner called it "a rip-off of a bit in "Tommy" that I put in a different time." Wishbone Ash toured with the Who on their "Won't Get Fooled Again" tour, and "you can imagine how inspiring that was". Powell said that "Time Was" was another Who-inspired song, "probably the most of any we've ever done. There was a lot of Keith Moon in Steve's drumming." In 1973 the band produced Wishbone Four and their first concert album, Live Dates. The Wishbone Four album sounded very different from its predecessors. Andy said, "A lot of bands were going into the country to write - Traffic did it, Led Zeppelin did it. We put everything into the back of a truck and moved to a cottage on the island of Anglesey off the Welsh coast. All four of us and two other guys were stuck in a six-room cottage, miles from anywhere, with no phone, TV, or radio. There was a sign on the gate that said "Pen Y Bonc", which we always took to be the name of the cottage. Years later we found out that it was the Welsh for "Please close the gate"!" Ted Turner added, "We all brought air pistols and tried to shoot rabbits and birds and things. We wound up spending more time on that that on putting the album together. I hit a robin, and haven't fired a shot since." After the Live Dates tour, Ted decided to call it quits. "I was going through different phases musically." he explained, "and wasn't satisfied with what I was doing with Wishbone Ash. We had done very well and I was only 24. I did session work, got married, had a family and just lived life." Ted was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. "When Ted left," said Powell, "we needed to get something going pretty quickly. I saw Laurie in New York, playing with the band Home, who were Al Stewart's backing group at the time. He came back to London for rehearsals in Miles' basement, and we decided that we could work together." Ash's first album with Wisefield, 1974's There's The Rub, was their first to be recorded in the United States. It was made under the supervision of Eagles and Joe Walsh producer Bill Szymczyk at the Criteria Recording Studios in Miami. The band then moved to the States full time and settled in Connecticut, where Andy still lives. Of the change in guitarists, he said, "The contrast was quite marked. I was always the more frenetic player, and Ted was bluesier and more laid-back. Laurie didn't really come from a blues background so much as a country-rock background. He was into finger-picking, a very rhythmic player." (Indeed, when Wisefield left the group, he went on to play first with Tina Turner and then with Joe Cocker.) Still signed to MCA in England, Wishbone moved to the Atlantic label in the United States for their next two albums, Locked In and New England. The group returned to MCA Records in the U.S. for Front Page News (1977), No Smoke Without Fire (1978), and Just Testing (1979). Just Testing was the first album the group recorded with producer Nigel Grey, at Surrey Sound in the English town of Leatherhead. Powell said of it that it "marked quite a change, in that you could see the band becoming much less loose than on the earlier albums. The more disciplined, rhythmic, feel was Laurie's contribution." Martin Turner was the second original member to leave, replaced by respected British bassist John Wetton (King Crimson, Family, Roxy Music and U.K.) for the 1981 album, Number The Brave. The last album recorded on MCA before the band left that label was 1981's Hot Ash This album, assembled by Leon Tsilis, is a compilation of live tracks that had appeared on Live Dates II, (MCA Europe) and a bonus track, "Bad Weather Blues", that had never appeared on any album. After leaving MCA, the band recorded two more albums, Twin Barrels Burning (Fantasy Records) and Raw To The Bone. Trevor Bolder, of Uriah Heep & David Bowie fame, replaced Wetton on bass for Twin Barrels Burning. Mervyn (Spam)Spence replaced Bolder on bass and tackled the lead vocals on Raw To The Bone. In 1986, Andy Powell and Ted Turner were contacted by their original manager, Miles Copeland, from whom they had separated around the time they recorded New England. Copeland was a major success in the music business by then, managing The Police and running his own label, I.R.S. Records. IRS was about to launch a series of all-instrumental albums, and Copeland asked Wishbone Ash to participate in the project. The result was the reunion of Andy Powell, Ted Turner, Martin Turner and Steve Upton. That line-up lasted for three years, releasing Nouveau Calls and Hear To Hear. Then, after more than 20 years with the group, Steve Upton retired from the music industry. He was replaced on drums by Ray Weston & Robbie France for the recording of the band's final IRS album, 1991's Strange Affair. With a new lineup including Weston and Andy Pyle on bass, Wishbone Ash recorded Live In Chicago for the Griffin Label. Live In Chicago is a collection of classic songs such as "The King Will Come, "Throw Down The Sword", "Blowin' Free" and "Living Proof". This live collection also includes songs never before released in the United States; "Strange Affair", "Standing In The Rain" and "Hard Times." In 1995 Ted Turner left the band for the second time. The only original member, Andy Powell, has since put together several line-ups, all of which have given fans the authentic "Ash experience". A 1994 European tour, featuring the team of Andy Powell, Roger Filgate, Tony Kishman and Mike Sturgis, culminated in the recording of the album "Live in Geneva". In 1996 Wishbone released their first studio album in several years. Titled "Illuminations", it shows off the band's unique trademark harmony guitar work beautifully. 1997 saw the release of a four-CD box set, "Distillation", that showcases Wishbone's work over the years from 1970 to 1995. At the end of 1996 Roger & Tony decided to throw in the towel and become "Beatles". It wasn't long after that that Andy recruited Mark Birch & Bob Skeat to fill the void left by Filgate and Kishman. After a brief tour of the UK, Mike Sturgis was offered a professorship at a local university, which he decided to accept. It wasn't long after that when Andy rang his old friend Ray Weston to see if he would be interested in joining the new band. As they say, "the rest is history". The current band, Andy Powell, Bob Skeat, Mark Birch and Ray Weston are currently on tour in Europe supporting the release of their newest album "Bare Bones" and paving the way to the big events planned for Wishbone's 30th anniversary celebration in the year 2000. - From & © wishboneash.com/frameset.html


During the early- and mid-'70s, Wishbone Ash were among England's most popular hard rock acts. The group's roots dated to the summer of 1966, when drummer Steve Upton formed a band called Empty Vessels with bassist/vocalist Martin Turner and guitarist Glen Turner. Empty Vessels soon changed their name to Tanglewood and moved to London; during a gig at the Country Club in Hampstead, they were seen by would-be rock manager Miles Copeland, who was impressed with the jazz and progressive rock influences within the band and offered to be their manager. Glen Turner left the band at that point, and an advertisement for a guitarist resulted in the addition of both David Alan "Ted" Turner and Andy Powell, who provided the basis for the sound of the new lineup with intertwining riffs and phrases drawn from both soul and blues, coupled with Martin Turner's melodic bass sound and Upton's jazz-influenced drumming. A new name was called for, and after several suggestions by Copeland that proved unacceptable, "Wishbone Ash" was chosen from two lists of words. The group rehearsed for weeks at Copeland's home, working out an entirely new repertoire, and played their first gig opening for the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation. It wasn't too long before they were opening for Deep Purple, where a sound check jam between Powell and Ritchie Blackmore led to a recording contract with the American Decca label. Their self-titled first album appeared in 1970; Pilgrimage and Argus followed over the next two years, and each showed a major advance in the band's sound. The release of 1973's Wishbone Four reflected a greater maturity to the group, and was their first fully developed album, with songwriting that didn't hide behind a progressive pose but luxuriated in the members' folk music inclinations, without compromising the harder edge of their music. The album also saw the departure of Ted Turner, who was replaced by Laurie Wisefield. Locked In and New England followed; Martin Turner departed after 1979's Just Testing, to be replaced by ex-King Crimson bassist/singer John Wetton. Wishbone Ash soldiered on through the 1980s, and in 1986 even got back with Copeland, by now a major player in the recording industry by virtue of his management of the Police and his founding of I.R.S. Records. Wishbone Ash's history came full circle with the reunion of Powell, Upton, Ted Turner, and Martin Turner, and the recording of three albums for I.R.S.. They remained a working band into the 1990s, led by Andy Powell and Ted Turner and touring and recording regularly. © Bruce Eder © 2011 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/wishbone-ash-p52689/biography