Wishbone Ash has always held a special place in my heart, because of this album and Live Dates. Andy Powell’s Flying V led me to a lifelong fascination with that guitar. I am currently without one, but have owned two. And, even though it might look odd that an old guy like me would play one, I’ll own another eventually. Powell’s playing, and that of his partner, Ted Turner, is truly a thing of beauty.
When this was originally released back in ’72, a couple of cuts really captured me. The first was “Blowin’ Free,” which never fails to bring a smile to my face. It’s simple stuff, but put together so well, with great rhythm guitars, a blazing solo, and some monster rhythm section playing that it’s hard not to be drawn into it. Throw in excellent vocals and you’ve got a song that was a staple to a lot of rock bands in the ’70s. My other favorite was (and is) “Time Was,” an epic that goes through what almost seem like movements. From folkey acoustic bits to power chord mayhem, it’s all here. And the solo out by Powell still ranks as one of my favorites.
There are five other excellent cuts here, too. The stately, haunting “Sometime World” ends up a rowdy rocker. There’s the majestic “Warrior.” And many folks still point to “Throw Down the Sword” as one of their favorites.
MCA has upped the ante nicely on this disc. There are three bonus tracks from a “Live From Memphis” EP that have never appeared commercially until now. “Jail Bait” is basically a blues that showcases how nicely the two guitarists play together. “The Pilgrim” has always been one of my favorite songs by them, and this live workout shows why. Monster solos, killer rhythm section work, and a tightness beyond compare show why this was such a great band.
This band was one of the best at creating an atmosphere in their music. And this was their best total effort. Great songs, monster playing, and the bonus live cuts make it a must for fans of ’70s rock and roll.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s July ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.