Wishbone Ash to start the week. One of the better, but unfortunately more underrated Hard Rock bands of the early 1970s. During a time when Rock was going through a lot of changes, and getting ready for bigger changes to come, Wishbone Ash forged a road of pure, straight-ahead Rock – with the extra added bonus of two lead guitars and no gimmicks. They were part of that genre loosely referred to as “the sweat bands” and they had a dedicated, but fluctuating following for much of the 1970s.
This concert, from May 25, 1972 comes during the time they released Argus, which was their most popular album in the UK, peaking at #3 in the charts. The U.S. was slower to catch on, hitting #44 in the Billboard charts. This would wind up being the bands peak period – after that, they wouldn’t crack the top 20 in the UK and didn’t make into the Hot 100 in the U.S. – but this was during a period of time a lot of musical activity was taking place, and the playing field was getting crowded. Wishbone Ash did get airplay via FM during the early 70s, but when it came to a choice between them and Led Zeppelin, the Plant and Page contingent always won. It’s interesting to consider that a band like Wishbone Ash would be considered Heavy Metal today, when at the time they weren’t even remotely thought of in that genre. But Music, particularly Rock, carries with it some fine lines and open interpretations.
Listening back to their early material, particularly their debut album, they were a fine and extremely talented band who deserved a lot more recognition than they got in the long run. And this concert, which features primarily material from Argus gives a clear example of just how good they were. Had circumstances been different, I am dead-certain they would be a household name today.
If you are curious about what was going on in the early 70s, during a period of a lot of direction shifting, and have only heard vague references to Wishbone Ash, check this concert out to get a better idea of what a good band they were. If you are familiar, this may dust off a few forgotten memories when Sweat Bands freely roamed the earth.