Contact Us

40 Years Ago: Wishbone Ash’s ‘Wishbone Four’ Released

MCA

On May 11, 1973, Wishbone Ash’s steadily accelerating career momentum took a turn for the worse with the release of the fan-and-critic-polarizing ‘Wishbone Four.’

Perhaps most perplexing about this turn of events was the fact that every Wishbone Ash LP to date had been fueled by daring experimentalism and constant evolution. One would have expected listeners to be more open-minded – or at least a little lenient – with ‘Wishbone Four’s’ next chapter in this tradition.

The previous year’s career standout, ‘Argus,’ had seen something of a culmination of the band’s adventurous blend of progressive pastoral whimsy with twin-guitar dexterity. But ‘Four’s’ increasing shift towards acoustic folk and incremental eclecticism doesn’t feel that radical with so many years’ distance to objectively judge it.

The first single, ‘No Easy Road,’ was certainly a stretch, with its surprising horn section and R&B back-up singers seemingly borrowed from Humble Pie, and the eight-minute ‘Everybody Needs a Friend’ distinctly lacked the improvisational feel of ‘Argus’ and ‘Pilgrimage,’ before it. But album opener ‘So Many Things to Say’” and Side Two’s ‘Doctor’ maintained much of the aggressive thrust often found on previous albums, minus those trademark harmonies.

Actually, the problems may have derived from the LP’s remaining songs: ‘Ballad of the Beacon,’ ‘Sorrel,’ ‘Sing Out the Song’ and, to a lesser degree, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Widow’ – all of which were pleasant but, on the whole, uninspired. In fact, though they, in many ways, reprised the laid-back vibes all-too common to earlier Wishbone efforts, these songs admittedly lacked the evocative wordplay and widescreen panoramas of what had come before.

So too, has ‘Wishbone Four,’ for all its quality next to other, lesser bands, come to be overshadowed by its distinguished predecessors in the stakes of classic rock history: a victim of sonic evolution, as we’ve seen in retrospect, fallen prey to the band’s diminishing audacity, rather than a result of fickle fan behavior.

Next: Andy Powell of Wishbone Ash Speaks to UCR

Best of the Web

More From Around the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://ultimateclassicrock.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on Ultimate Classic Rock quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!