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Classic Ash album review - Melody Maker, May 1977 by Harry Doherty

At the start of this decade, Wishbone Ash were seen as one of the most important new bands to emerge in rock, and they backed their potential with three good albums in Wishbone Ash, Pilgrimage and Argus.  They were largely instrumental and vocals were never a forte, but they showed that was no drawback. 

 

Ash took bits of rock, folk and jazz and came up with a strong, identifiable sound.  The band then was Steve Upton (drums), Martin Turner (bass) and the dual guitars of Ted Turner and Andy Powell; this album is obviously meant to remind us of some of the better music that band recorded.  It’s significant that only two tracks are culled from the more recent albums (when Laurie Wisefield took Ted Turner’s place) and that the album which is seen as the low point in the band’s career, Locked In, is completely ignored. 

 

Classic Ash contains most of the band’s favourite tracks, starting with the smooth ‘Blind Eye’, and taking in other standards such as ‘Blowin’ Free’ and ‘The King Will Come’ (from Argus), as well as ‘Persephone’ (There’s The Rub), and ‘Outward Bound (New England).  A pity the premier track on There’s The Rub (‘Silber Shoes’) couldn’t have been squeezed in here. 

 

The album is released at a crucial time for Ash.  They now seem to have come out of the doldrums, as was evident on the last album, New England, and could be ready to take up where they left off after Argus.  A timely reminder that all is not lost, as well as giving the band a lot to live up to with their next album.