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Crate Digger’s Gold: Wishbone Ash – Live Dates (1973)

March 10, 2015


This album is the definition of “Crate Digger’s Gold.”  I knew nothing of Wishbone Ash other than they were an early 70s band.  I was digging the $1 boxes at the recent Rock N’ Roll Sale when I pulled this double LP.  For a buck I was curious as to who Wishbone Ash was.  I assumed that a live album would be a good introduction to the band.

I finally gave it a spin last night – wow what a cool band. Imagine combining early Yes with The Allman Brothers and you have a bit of a sense of Wishbone Ash.  But I don’t want to mislead you – they really don’t sound like anyone else – they have their own unique sound.  What struck me right away was that it was a twin guitar attack. I immediately Googled them to find out who the hell are these guys.

According to Wikipedia:

Wishbone Ash are considered to be one of the major innovators of the harmony twin lead guitar format. Their contributions helped Andy Powell and Ted Turner to be voted “Two of the Ten Most Important Guitarists in Rock History” (Traffic magazine 1989), and to appear in the “Top 20 Guitarists of All Time” (Rolling Stone). Melody Maker (1972) described Powell and Turner as “the most interesting two guitar team since the days when Beck and Page graced The Yardbirds”.

This is why I crate dig – the thrill of discovering a great band or album you knew nothing about and paying next to nothing for the pleasure beyond your time.  I have not listened to any other Wishbone Ash albums so I have no idea if this is representative of their catalog.  But given they have a couple of incredible axe men I can only assume the live format is a great way to sample the band.  There is some serious guitar slinging going on here – and not just the twin guitars – the bass player shreds too.  But I can see why these guys never made it big: they don’t have distinctive vocals, they lack great hooks and monster riffs.  But the twin guitar battles on top of a complex bass line is pretty damn intriguing to my jazz and jam band ears.

If you are a fan of complex rock and roll guitar or blowing sessions you will dig this album.  My $1 copy was in pretty decent shape so you should not have to pay more than $5 for good copy of the LP.

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