D I S C O G R A P H Y
No Smoke Without Fire (1978)
Released: October 6 1978
UK chart position: 43
Martin Turner's memories:
"Our first recording project after returning to the UK was the No Smoke Without Fire album. Having already made the decision to go back to our roots and try to capture some of the English feel that the band was known for during its earlier years, we decided to record at the old De Lane Lea studios in Wembley (which by this stage had become CTS), where we had last worked during the Argus sessions in 1972. We also hooked up with our original producer Derek Lawrence again. It was a bit like going back to visit an old school and De Lane Lea studios hadn’t changed a bit, even though the whole music industry had moved on considerably. It was certainly a little strange after having been in America for three years. No Smoke Without Fire was forged in the shadow of the twin towers of the old and much loved Wembley Stadium. I felt Laurie was particularly inspired on this album and by this stage had started to put together some really good songs.
The whole period following our return to the UK was very productive from a song-writing standpoint, for Laurie and myself in particular, and for both this album and the one that followed, we found ourselves with much more material than was needed for the album – remember we are talking pre-CD days when the average vinyl album lasted around 40 minutes. Inevitably this meant that some material got left off. All of these would see the light of day many years later, either as bonus tracks on CD re-issues or as part of archival collections.
Although No Smoke Without Fire was received well by our audience, the UK media by this time was firmly focussed on the punk/new wave explosion that had been sweeping the UK for the past couple of years and it had become quite fashionable for the press to dismiss anything put out by the established bands who had stayed the course since the late sixties or early seventies. We all had mixed feelings about the punk phenomenon. It was great as a street level reawakening of the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll music, just like The Who had been in the sixties, and it was more about the energy rather than the musicianship. To a certain extent I do subscribe to that, but I think punk very quickly got hijacked and became quite negative. I think there was a lot of hype there, particularly with regard to the contempt that was supposedly being directed at the older bands. Years later it became known that people like John Lydon actually liked Wishbone Ash. In reality, the punk explosion shook things up for a couple of years and passed almost as quickly as it arrived. Our audiences remained loyal to Wishbone Ash and its music and we came through that shift in musical trends reasonably intact."
adapted from the book "No Easy Road - My Life and Times With Wishbone Ash"
I rank this the 4th best Mk 2 album - with There's The Rub, New England, and Just Testing in front of it and Front Page News and Locked In behind it. Obviously, Laurie's shining hour in terms of the composer spotlight. "Way of the World" and "You See Red", my two fave Wisefield works. But how in the hell did "Time And Space" not make this record????? One of the worst "left off the album" decisions in R & R annals, I think. The song is superb. I'd have lopped off "Ships in the Sky" or "Stand & Deliver".
This is another great album - the remastered CD with the extra tracks is simply essential to anyone purporting to like music: "Time and Space" is genuine top drawer Wishbone Ash.
I've had this album pretty much since the day it was released. It just about beatsNew England as my favourite Mark 2 album. Yesterday I bought it on CD, so it's the first time I've heard "Firesign" and "Time & Space". I have to say that both songs are excellent, but "Time & Space" really stands out.
This is a Laurie-inspired album to me. I can still remember going to watch them on this tour like it was yesterday and I was quite impressed with the album, but I don't think it's as good as New England or the MT-inspired Just Testing. "You See Red" is a great little track. This is followed by the excellent "Baby The Angels Are Here". I was so pleased that MTWA did this live the first time I saw them, it was an inspirational choice for me. The next four tracks, "Ships In The Sky", "Stand And Deliver", "Anger In Harmony" and "Like a Child" are all decent enough tracks but don't blow me away. They saved the best for last though for me with the epic "Way Of The World". Overall though it's a decent enough offering.