Wishbone Ash. ‘Rocked up beyond belief’ 2CD.

To tie in with the recent hoohah regarding Andy Powell and Martin Turner regarding the name ‘Wishbone Ash’, I happened to find my copy of the above, still sealed, which I bought at Cropredy this year.  The title, a pun on the track ‘FUBB’ (F**ked up beyond Belief, in case you didn’t know) is accompanied by ‘Two decades of Live Recordings’ (70s and 80s, one decade per cd).

I paid the princely sum of £3.00 (brand new), and it looked to be great value for money. However, what it neglected to say on the outside is that the recordings are from the ‘Tracks’ series of discs…although it was mysteriously revealed on the inside cover. And who is the proof-reader at the record company (Talking Elephant)?! ‘Blownin’ Free'(sic)?!!  Anyway, minor complaints in view of the contents.

First disc has performances from the Mk2 line-up. Four out of the ten are from Argus, although no ‘Throw down the Sword’. The renditions are all very good, although ‘Bad Weather Blues’ might not really make the transition from live encore to hard copy too well.   The songs all demonstrate what a really good outfit they were.

Second disc is from the 80s and has a variety of line-ups. The ‘reformed’ line-up(s) is well-represented, with Ted Turner to the fore. ‘Living Proof’ is one of the best of the Mk 2’s compositions and gets a decent airing here.  The ‘Raw to the Bone’ line-up is featured too, but songs like ‘Underground’ and ‘No more lonely Nights’ are pretty average. A couple of rarely-performed songs and a final rendition of ‘Phoenix’ bring the collection to a close.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Wishbone Ash, it is an excellent compilation to wet your feet with. The first disc, for me, outshines the second, and the set is a good representation of the first two decades of a group which seems to have been sadly become the subject who said what, did what and did what when.

(I have to admit to a Freudian slip, and of course apologise profusely, in recently calling a recent Wishbone Ash cd ‘Arrogant Self’ instead of ‘Elegant Stealth’ .)

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