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Live Dates Volume II album review - Record Mirror, October 1980 by Robin Smith

Taken from breathtaking performances – well, mainly Bristol and Wolverhampton – Live Dates Two traces the Wishbone saga from Wishbone Four to Just Testing, and they’ve also slipped in a free live album featuring ‘Lorelei’, ‘Persephone’, ‘You Rescue Me’, ‘Goodbye Baby Hello Friend’, and ‘No Easy Road’.

 

Side one of the album represents the biggest Ash cross-section.  I thought ‘Doctor’ was a little uncertain and it’s held together mainly by Turner’s struggling voice working overtime.  Somehow those twin guitars just don’t mesh successfully.  ‘Living Proof’ delivered on a windy night at Bristol Colston Hall, is Ash heads down over the anvil.  Beefy chords and dirty words sweetened by a long solo at the end.  ‘Runaway’ and ‘Helpless’ culled from Wolverhampton Civic Hall are perennial Ash…two roustabout tracks where the warmth of the audience begins to kindle.

 

Side Two is composed of just two tracks, ‘FUBB’ and ‘Way Of The World’.  ‘FUBB’ has never had too much life in it for me, held down by the boring opening section.  Instead of this I could have done with a re-run of ‘The Pilgrim’.  But I’ll always be a sucker for ’Way Of The World’ with its acoustic section – Turner all anguish and pleading words and Upton flying himself down the back.

 

Side one of the second album features much lilting Ash with ‘Lorelei’, ‘Persephone’ and ‘You Rescue Me’, all very smooth and magnificently paced especially the delicacy of ‘Persephone’.  ‘Time Was’ which opens the second side had been allowed to mellow great over the years and the handling this time around was particularly soft.  I even found myself missing the old Argus treatment.

 

Wisefield gets his solo glory on ‘Goodbye Baby’.  I’m sure he’d be the first to admit that he’s not the world’s greatest vocalist but his usual plodding rendition is helped by a strong chorus line.  And so we close with ‘No Easy Road’ again considerably reworked with some particularly swaggering vocals from Turner.  It’s so good you won’t even miss the blasting brass section of the original.  Ash live and rampant.