I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Wishbone Ash for the first time last week! It’s been decades since I listened to them on vinyl, and they treated me to one of the best concerts I’ve heard in a long time. If you live in or near one of the privileged few areas they’re visiting on tour, you’ve got to see them! Check out their tour dates at http://WishboneAsh.com
I was still a teenager when first exposed to their music, and it had a distinct influence on the bands and genres I’ve listened to (and played) over four decades. When I saw that the band was playing one of my favorite local venues, I looked up the current band lineup. I had to go and take a listen when I saw that Joe Crabtree, the “baby” of the current lineup, had played with Pendragon and David Cross of King Crimson. I play drums in a progressive rock tribute band (http://TributeToYes.com), and I knew that Wishbone Ash was a significant contributor to the genre. The videos I found of Joe on YouTube showed that he was, despite his superb technical skills and pleasant melodic style of play, very humble. (You can find out more about Joe at http://www.joecrabtree.com.)
I have to admit that I remembered little of Wishbone Ash outside of the Argus album (it was the 70’s, after all), but from the first few notes of the show at the Bamboo Room I could discern the pervasive influence of their music on many other bands. The textured, melodic twin leads of founding member Andy Powell and Finland’s Muddy Manninen were reminiscent of the Allman Brothers (who were formed the same year as Wishbone Ash). The incredible tightness and fluidity of the two guitarists were mirrored by Crabtree and bassist Bob Skeat, who’s been playing with Powell for 17 years. The music brought back memories of Uriah Heep, Genesis, Procol Harum, and with melodies reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and CS&N.
While the ticket was more than I’d paid for a concert at the Bamboo Room in the past (the “cozy” venue seats a bit over a 100), it was the best concert value in recent memory. The band played new material off their excellent brand new album Blue Horizon (see link at the bottom of this blog), their “Live Dates” album in its entirety, and songs from “Argus” including their hit “Blowin’ Free.”
I’ve edited some snippets of the concert together via YouTube below (no full songs, just teasers, because you need to hear this band live) so you can experience a taste of these fine musicians.
Check out the 7/4 groove at 11:45 and the classic “Blowin’ Free” at 16:40. And find a venue where you can hear this band!