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|Wishbone Ash||Primary Artist|
|John Wetton||Vocal Harmony|
|Keith Buck||Guitar, Vocals|
|Martin Turner||Bass, Vocals, Interviewee|
|Danny Willson||Guitar, Vocals|
|Geoff Downes||Hammond Organ|
|Rob Hewins||Percussion, Drums, Vocals|
|Ray Hatfield||Acoustic Guitar, Guitar, Vocals|
|Martin Turner||Composer, Producer|
|Steve Rispin||Producer, Engineer|
Posted October 1, 2010
While rehearsing for their Argus Tour, Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash (MTWA) decided to rerecord the Argus album using the latest studio technology. Do we need a new Argus album? No. We have the 30th anniversary remastered edition with bonus live tracks. We have the 35th anniversary Deluxe Edition with a second disc of live tracks. And how do you outdo a classic album? Nevertheless, the current version of Wishbone Ash led by Andy Powell has also released a new live edition of Argus. Some fans might relish the idea of having two Wishbone Ash bands, so they get more Ash concerts and albums being released. However, one has to ask if there is a bit of one-upmanship going on here. Andy Powell bill's his version as the "real" Wishbone Ash. And Martin Turner's webpage bill's him as the "creative force" behind Wishbone Ash, given his original role as primary songwriter, lead singer, distinctive bass player and sometime producer. Granted, the Wishbone Ash albums from the mid-1980s and then 1990s-on done without Martin Turner do not have the same sound and feel of Ash albums done with him, but each of the current Wishbone Ash bands has only one original Ash member. So it may be splitting hairs to say which is more legitimate. It will probably come down to listener preference, so I'll confess that I prefer Martin Turner's sound and style.
So, how is ARGUS Through The Looking Glass? The band has stayed close to the original structure of the songs without simply parroting them. There is room for the soloists to leave their mark, so the album runs about two minutes longer than the original. The band made one change in running order, putting Blowin' Free at the end of the album. Its original position as song three fit the LP format as an upbeat way to finish off side one. But in the liner notes Martin Turner says he wrote the song in the mid 60s, and it never quite fit with the rest of the songs on Argus. It was included with the original Argus album to have an upbeat song. As the final song on the new album it serves as a sort of encore. ARGUS Through The Looking Glass features two guest performers on track six, John Wetton and Geoff Downes of Asia, King Crimson, Yes fame. Ironically, Wetton was the first replacement for Martin Turner when he left Wishbone Ash in the early 1980s, but not for long. He apparently did not fit with Andy Powell et al's plans for the band, so went on to co-found Asia (see the Ash biography Blowin' Free). Given that the music on ARGUS Through The Looking Glass is still classic and is well played by MTWA, I'd say it's a good listen. But it doesn't top the original, so only four stars. Next, we need to hear some new material from MTWA.