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Wishbone Ash - 1972 Argus



ARTIST: Wishbone Ash
ALBUM: Argus
LABEL: MCA
SERIAL: MCG 3510
YEAR: 1972
CD REISSUE: 2002, MCA, 088 112 816-2 (with bonus tracks)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Martin Turner - bass, vocals * Andy Powell - guitar, vocals * Ted Turner - guitar, vocals * Steve Upton - drums

Additional Musician: John Tout - organ

TRACK LISTING: 01 Time Was * 02 Sometime World * 03 Blowin' Free * 04 The King Will Come * 05 Leaf And Stream * 06 Warrior * 07 Throw Down The Sword

WEBLINKS: www.wishboneash.com


Background
In studied preparation for this review, I recently took stock of how many Wishbone Ash albums I have in the collection. Too many probably, thirteen in all and everything up to 1982's 'Twin Barrels Burning' with the exception of 'Locked In' from '76 that for some odd reason I never got around to. Still, I'm wondering why I've kept them for so long since I rarely go back to them anymore and if I do it's usually 'Argus' I'll spin once or twice and put away until the next time. Infamous for the twin lead guitar sound they originated, the Ash were unique and hugely successful, especially in the States where at their peak of popularity were pulling off big arena tours while selling records at a pretty good clip even without a 'hit' single.


The Songs
Few Wishbone Ash fans will argue that 'Argus' stands as the band's masterwork and is a perfect blend of rock and progressive styles, beautiful harmonies and shimmering hooks. Remember this is 1972 and while twin guitars in unison became the norm as the decade wore on, especially with beer bellied Southern rockers, Wishbone Ash were never a balls-out band and 'heavy' was not in their vocabulary. Indeed, the sizzling opener 'Time Was' despite its slow start has all the earmarks of the Southern sound with an extended solo that sets the tone and sounds like so much snaky Hydra. 'Sometimes World' follows the same pattern with virtuosic leads to die for and the mildly proggy 'Blowin' Free' gets a might twangy with Crosby, Stills & Nash harmonies, but songs 'The King Will Come' and the epic 'Throw Down The Sword' where Renaissance keyboardist Jon Tout joins in on organ, show a band not oblivious to their British roots adding a little folk to their doppelganger guitar-charged approach.


In Summary
By the 1980's John Wetton's brief membership not withstanding, Wishbone Ash were a mere shadow of their former selves and lost much of their relevance and in turn, my interest. These days Wishbone Ash is still active with guitarist Andy Powell trotting out the old standards on occasional tours but really, does anyone care anymore?


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Comments
#1 | gdazegod on November 24 2010 03:50:43
Not to be funny or anything, but I've always known this album as the 'Darth Vader' LP. One look at the cover and you can see why! rofl
#2 | Eric on November 24 2010 12:39:16
Hipgnosis were always ahead of their time!
#3 | george_the_jack on November 24 2010 13:37:04
Hahahahaha! Darth Vader born 5 years later Grin
#4 | rkbluez on January 27 2012 21:31:29
Love this album...the best early Wishbone by far...in fact this is a real classic album in the rock Genre from 1972.
#5 | dangerzone on August 06 2012 18:46:03
'Leaf and Stream' is an atmospheric classic. One of their best albums easily.
 
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