Wishbone Ash were one of the most successful and influential bands to come out of the seventies releasing classics albums that inspired a multitude of guitar players with their twin lead harmony sound intertwined with folk and mytholgy that inspired later bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. They are best known for their seminal third album 'Argus'.
Founding member bassist and vocalist Martin Turner has been in and out of the band on three occasions and with this book he tells his warts and all story and despite having a few marijuana tabs along the way he has managed to keep a collective mind where no stone gets left untouched.
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Originating in the West Country Martin Turner, along with his brother Glenn and future Ash drummer Steve Upton, started off as a trio called Empty Vessels, bagging gigs supporting upcoming acts such as the Who, Led Zeppelin and The Kinks. But it was when Martin Turner and Steve Upton decided to up sticks and settle in London in search of the big time did they meet guitar players Ted Turner and Andy Powell and the classic Wishbone Ash was formed. When later managed by Miles Copeland (brother of Stuart from The Police), the story really starts to gel.
Fans will take great pleasure in that every song on every album is spoken about in short paragraphs giving insightful details behind the origins of each track. We finally find out the true meaning of the opening lyrics to 'Blowin' Free' with the line: "I thought I had a girl, I know because I've seen her", a line that often got mocked by DJ Danny Baker on his London show and now it all makes perfect sense.
Or how 'Rock 'N Roll Widow' was titled after a hot dog seller in Texas was shot dead at one of their gigs.
There's some good humorous stories too with Keith Moon demanding the drum sticks at the Speakeasy Club or how when manager Copeland insisted at a 1971 gig at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go in Los Angeles that the band should throw some chickens into the audience and the first person to come to the stage with a fresh wishbone would get a free record. Something sadly the band cried chicken on but one wonders if Alice Cooper had whispered into Copeland's ears about that stunt?
Photo of Martin Turner taken by John Price for QEDG Management
There's the mishaps, for example too turning down an offer to be managed by future management kings Lieber And Kriebs. They would would have turned the band into millionaires as they did with Aerosmith and also how Tom Hamilton took a shining to the Thunderbird bass used by Turner.
But what Wishbone Ash aficionados will want to know is whether Turner lays the knife into his former colleague Andy Powell? The pair have since had a fall out over the use of the website domain resulting in two different versions of the band on the road to cut a long story short.
Although not always agreeing with the thoughts of Powell throughout the years, Turner is kind and thoughtful and says nice words about Powell's input and work over the years, although he describes him as an "enigma" on first meeting him.
Turner gives his thoughts on being ousted from the band on two occasions and amazingly still goes back for more to help out a Powell led version of the band in the nineties before finally falling out on many issues, especially on the financial front but the book really hots up with some upfront comments from our caped crusader with powerful punchlines such as: "...POWELL!....BOFF!....URKK!.. My reaction to a lot of things that Andy Powell says and that is quite simply utter crap."
".....POWELL!.....SPLA-AT!....KERPLOSH!..... My opinion is he's as tricky as a barrel-load of monkeys."
" .....POWELL!.....URKK!.....BOING!... The rapport between Andy and I was, at best, congenial."
Yes folks, this book is the most definitive read on all things Ash... I just await a book now from Mr Powell.
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