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Alan Bloor (Leicester, Leics. United Kingdom)

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The First Twenty Years
The First Twenty Years
Price: £15.60

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Compilation, 1 Jun. 2016
This review is from: The First Twenty Years (Audio CD)
An excellent collection of songs from all 12 Spock's Beard studio releases. As someone who only has one of their CDs this was a great buy. The DVD included with it is very good too.


No Easy Road: My Life and Times with Wishbone Ash and Beyond
No Easy Road: My Life and Times with Wishbone Ash and Beyond
by Martin Turner
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For Any Wishbone Ash Fan, 12 Mar. 2016
I read this book when it was first published, but for some reason I never got around to writing a review. Better late than never, though, so here goes.

Until No Easy Road was published, the only book detailing the history of Wishbone Ash was "Blowin' Free: Thirty Years of Wishbone Ash" by Gary Carter and Mark Chatterton. Carter has also co- authored No Easy Road, so it would be easy to think that the book would merely go over old ground. Whilst there are overlaps, there is much in Martin Turner's book that is new, and of course the narrative includes other aspects of his life outside Wishbone Ash, including the band he put together in 2002. So it is worth reading even if you've read the previous account.

The book is written in a conversational style (I believe this is how Turner and Carter put it together), and Martin Turner is an excellent raconteur. Starting with his early life, where he was exposed to music from a young age, then his involvement in various bands in his native Devon, the story then moves to London, with the three-piece band comprising Turner, his brother Glenn and drummer Steve Upton making the move to try and make it big. Glenn Turner, however, quit the band and, in searching for a replacement, Andy Powell and Ted Turner were recruited and Wishbone Ash was formed. The chapters dealing with the next ten years include many captivating stories of life on the road, and Martin also goes into detail about the origins and meanings of most of the band's songs. There are contributions from bandmates Steve Upton, Ted Turner and Laurie Wisefield, but sadly not Andy Powell due to a more recent breakdown of the relationship between him and Turner. In talking about Powell, Martin Turner is critical of his personality but generous in recognising Powell's ability as a musician and his contribution to the band.

The incident in 1980 when Martin Turner and Wishbone Ash parted company is dealt with, of course, from Turner's point of view, and is described as a "constructive dismissal", but it is worth noting that, in Andy Powell's book, he describes it as Turner "sacking himself." A difference of emphasis certainly, but the two versions probably amount to the same thing. What is certain, with hindsight, is that Wishbone Ash were not the same without Turner, but then Turner's work wasn't the same outside the band either. We read here how he put another band together but with little success, until one day he was invited to join his former bandmates for a reunion. The account of the reunion period follows in a similar vein to how the first ten years are described, but it is after Turner's sacking from the band in 1990 that relationships between him and Powell started to fall apart. Turner pulls no punches in giving his version of events, though this is his account and Andy Powell would no doubt have a different take on it. Who knows where the truth lies - maybe somewhere in between? Eventually Martin Turner would put together a band to play Wishbone Ash music even though Wishbone Ash were still performing, with Powell as the only original member. It is here that the real acrimony began, particularly as Turner named his band "Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash." He goes into great detail as to why he believed he had the right to use this name. Subsequent to the publication of No Easy Road, a court case decided that he was wrong and that Powell had sole rights to the name.

Wherever you stand on the Powell vs Turner debate, or maybe you just appreciate the music, No Easy Road is an excellent read. It is easy to follow, gives lots of information about the band's history and has interesting anecdotes. It is also worth reading Andy Powell's book "Eyes Wide Open" to get a different perspective on things.


Snakecharmer
Snakecharmer
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, 14 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Snakecharmer (MP3 Download)
Great debut album featuring former members of Whitesnake, Laurie Wisefield (ex-Wishbone Ash) and Rick Wakeman's son. If you like early Whitesnake you should like this.


The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer
The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer
by Mimi Spencer
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Worked up to a point, 14 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Tried this diet. Lost a couple of stone in 6 months up to my daughter's wedding. Very pleased but then no more weight loss despite continuing so gave up. Have now put the weight back on! Won't try this again because the Fast Days are not very pleasant.


Waterproof Anti-shock DSLR SLR Camera Case Bag with Extra Rain Cover for Nikon D3300,D3200,D3100, D5500,D5300,D5200, D7200,D7100,D90, D810,D750,D610, Canon EOS 1300D,1200D,750D,700D 650D, 70D 60D 7D 6D 5D 100D.
Waterproof Anti-shock DSLR SLR Camera Case Bag with Extra Rain Cover for Nikon D3300,D3200,D3100, D5500,D5300,D5200, D7200,D7100,D90, D810,D750,D610, Canon EOS 1300D,1200D,750D,700D 650D, 70D 60D 7D 6D 5D 100D.
Offered by BV-electronics
Price: £19.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Very pleased, 14 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A great value and very sturdy camera bag. I am able to keep my camera, a spare lens and the charger and instruction manual inside, but if I left out the charger and instruction manual it would accommodate two spare lenses.


Eyes Wide Open: True Tales Of A Wishbone Ash Warrior
Eyes Wide Open: True Tales Of A Wishbone Ash Warrior
Price: £7.99

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read...... but with an undercurrent of nastiness, 13 Oct. 2015
First things first, I will admit that, in the Andy Powell vs. Martin Turner debate, I come down firmly on the side of Martin Turner. This is mainly because I prefer to hear Wishbone Ash music played in the style that Martin performs it. The truth about any personal differences between the two former bandmates is only really known to themselves. So when I read this book (having already read Martin Turner’s autobiography No Easy Road) I tried to do so with an open mind.
I will start, then, with the positives. First of all, this is the only account of the history of Wishbone Ash that covers all 45 years of the band’s existence. This is because, as Andy is keen to point out often in the book, he alone has been in the band from Day 1. The previous books written about the band, Blowin’ Free by Gary Carter and Mark Chatterton, and the aforementioned autobiography of Martin Turner, covered only the first 30 years and only the period when Martin was in the band, respectively. So if you want a complete history (at least through the eyes of Andy Powell), this is the book for you. Secondly, Powell’s strong work ethic, plus his love of touring and performing, come through strongly in the narrative. There are also some interesting stories of life on the road, and for the technically-minded, descriptions of guitars and amps that he has owned. Finally, the appendix contains lists of all the major Wishbone Ash line ups and albums, plus a complete list of gigs spanning 45 years.
So, why does Eyes Wide Open leave such a bitter taste in my mouth? The answer is that I get the strong impression that, if you keep on Andy Powell’s side you will be rewarded with praise, but if you have fallen out with him, he will have very little good to say about you. Sadly, Andy appears to have fallen out with all of his bandmates from the 1970s line ups, but chiefly with Martin Turner. It is for Turner and some of his associates that Powell has reserved most of his ire. This is illustrated well in Powell’s account of his audition in 1969, the first time he had met Martin Turner, Steve Upton and their manager Miles Copeland. Powell’s first impression of Turner is “a wannabe rock star with a big ego and a loud mouth.” Upton is summed up as a quiet man in Martin’s shadow, whilst Copeland is a person who “knows nothing.” Remember that Powell at this point was being auditioned by the other three for a band THEY were putting together out of the ashes of Martin and Steve’s previous band. In other words, they were the ones who gave him his big break – and yet all he can do now is disrespect them all. At least Martin Turner, in No Easy Road, states his admiration for Powell’s musical talents on more than one occasion. I can find nothing analogous about Turner in Powell’s account. Powell goes on to describe Turner as difficult to work with, someone who has a higher opinion of his own songwriting ability than is appropriate, and a disruptive influence who he was glad to be rid of. Others don’t fare much better. Ted Turner left the band in 1974 for (in Powell’s words) “his own private and some would say self-interested reasons.” Ted’s replacement Laurie Wisefield was “forever chasing the ghost of Argus.” There are also character assassinations of Martin Turner’s current manager, his webmaster Gary Carter, and a fan who is unnamed (but everyone who has been around WA forums know who he means) who Powell describes as “the ghoul from Goole.” Nice! On the other hand, Powell’s current bandmates and a group of close friends from his fanbase are painted in gushing terms. Very sad.
Other comments – there are some basic errors of fact in the book. I found two instances where a song was attributed to the wrong album. Now I can understand an artist making such a mistake on stage, but when you’re writing it down you really should check your facts before publishing. Also, in the first chapter, when describing his family history, Powell says that his grandfather died in 1930, aged 21, when his daughter (Andy’s mother) had been born in 1921. In other words, his grandfather was 12 when his daughter was born! I’m sure that can’t be correct. Also, what you won’t find in this book is a detailed chronological account of events in the band’s history. The story is condensed in places, and sometimes skips backwards in time. There is no detailed account of how various songs were written or what they mean. Those things you will find in Martin Turner’s book, so it’s a good idea to read both.
In conclusion, Eyes Wide Open is an interesting read, but if you’re a supporter of Martin Turner then you will need a strong stomach at times.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2015 11:07 PM BST


Black dog days: Life is an emotional rollercoaster
Black dog days: Life is an emotional rollercoaster
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, 4 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Duncan Keith is quite a character. Admittedly I know him more from his Facebook postings than in real life - though I have met him a few times at gigs, and I once bought a guitar off him. In this book he lays his feelings bare as he battles with a mental breakdown/depression. As he travels on his motorcycle through Wales and Eire he meets people who help him get his head together and recounts some amusing stories both from that journey and others from his past. Black Dog Days will make you laugh in places, sometimes smile at the political incorrectness, and above all feel for Duncan as he tries to come to terms with the problems that have led him to this point. A good read at a bargain price.


Written In The Stars
Written In The Stars
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £8.12

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wishbone Ash In All But Name, 4 Sept. 2015
This review is from: Written In The Stars (Audio CD)
Ever since Martin Turner, in 2005, put a band together to recreate the sound of classic Wishbone Ash, his fans have been asking for new music, whilst his detractors have claimed that he has lost his songwriting mojo. With the release of Written In The Stars, the former have had their patience rewarded whilst the latter have been proved totally wrong.

This album sits very comfortably alongside the albums released by Wishbone Ash during the 1970s and late 1980s, when Turner was an integral part of the band. It has all the hallmarks of the music - not only the twin lead guitars but also Martin Turners upfront, melodic basslines and emotive vocal style, plus some excellent vocal harmonies. There are tracks that remind me of the 1980s albums Nouveau Calls and Here To Hear, and others that hark back to Argus and Pilgrimage from the early 70s.

All eleven tracks are great, and every reviewer will probably have different favourites. My picks would be Lovers, Vapour Trail and Pretty Little Girls. I will also mention three fantastic extended guitar solos at or near the end of Vapour Trail, Falling Sands and Interstellar Rockstar.

Well worth the long wait.


The Garden Party - A Celebration Of Wishbone Ash Music
The Garden Party - A Celebration Of Wishbone Ash Music
Price: £13.47

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Record Of A Fantastic Day, 27 Oct. 2014
Back in August 2012 I was privileged to be invited to an invitation-only concert by the band which at that time was known as Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash. The concert was to be held at the home and recording studio of the band's manager, Martin Darville, and was organised as a "thank you" to the fans who had supported the band since its formation in 2005. When I arrived the stage had been set up outside (it being a fine summer's day) and there was a sense of excitement amongst the crowd because original Wishbone Ash guitarist Ted Turner had been spotted during the soundcheck. Ted had guested with Martin's band on a couple of previous occasions so it wasn't a huge surprise to see him - however he lives in America so it wasn't a foregone conclusion that he'd be there. As the concert progressed someone spotted another former WA guitarist, Laurie Wisefield, amongst the crowd - again not a huge surprise as his current band, Snakecharmer, is also managed by Martin Darville. But then an even bigger air of expectation developed when the elusive Steve Upton, original WA drummer, was seen standing at the side of the stage. Steve hadn't been seen at any Wishbone Ash -related event since he left the band in the 1990s and moved to France, so this was a huge surprise. So everyone was now wondering, would these three be playing? As it turned out, Steve Upton didn't pick up a drumstick, but he did come on stage to rapturous applause, but we were treated to seeing Ted and Laurie pick up their guitars and join in.

So, what is the CD like? Well, first of all, Martin's band have always made a good job of sounding like the original band did in the 70s, and this performance was no exception. The setlist was deliberately chosen to be a "connisuer's Wishbone Ash" so there was no Phoenix or Blowing Free and only one song from Argus. Most of the songs were ones which hadn't already appeared on other live recordings by MTWA. The two CDs generally reflect the two sets that were played, with a couple of exceptions. First, The Way Of The World appears on CD 1 although on the day it was played immediately before the encore in the second set, and the Ray Hatfield composition "Mystify Me" which was premiered at this show before being added to the bands 2014 setlist, is omitted. The first CD and the first two tracks of the second are performed by Martin and his regular band of Ray Hatfield, Danny Willson and Dave Wagstaffe, and include such gems as Haunting Me, Lady Jay, The Pilgrim and even two songs which were from Martin's solo album "Walking The Reeperbahn." Then from the third track on CD 2, the beautifully performed "Valediction" the show becomes something even more special. As Hatfield and Willson finish their harmony vocal section (a great performance, by the way) there is a cheer from the crowd. That was the moment Ted Turner walked on stage, plugged in, and played along for the rest of the song. Ted stayed on stage for The King Will Come, In The Skin (where he played lap steel guitar) and took lead vocal on Why Don't We. He then took a break and the band were joined by Laurie Wisefield for Living Proof. It was so good to hear these guitar heroes of my youth performing together again, but the best was yet to come. The encore song, Jailbait, is usually performed with two duelling lead guitars in the middle section. Occasionally it's been done with three, but today we were treated to Messrs Hatfield, Willson, Turner and Wisefield playing a four part duel. An amazing end to an amazing show.

There's only one thing to add - the recording quality of these CDs is excellent, in fact on the day there was a "gremlin" in one of the speakers which kept cutting in and out, so it's good to hear the show without that little annoyance.

Highly recommended for any long term Wishbone Ash fan (or indeed any lover of good music).


Flying Colors [Limited Edition]
Flying Colors [Limited Edition]
Offered by MLG Merch
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year?, 8 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've been an admirer of Mike Portnoy/Neal Morse collaborations such as Transatlantic and Neal Morse's solo albums for some time now. So when I heard about this new band featuring both of them, I knew that I had to buy it as soon as it was released. And I'm so glad I did. Though anyone expecting a prog album should be warned that (apart from the last track) it's doesn't really fit into that genre, this CD is certainly an excellent melodic rock/pop album. The standout things for me are Steve Morse's guitar solos and Casey McPherson's vocals. Portnoy's drumming is not as flamboyant as his other work, whilst Neal Morse's keyboards are in the background more often than not. As for standout tracks, it's difficult as I like them all - though as I'm not a fan of heavy metal there are a couple of songs that I'm not so keen on. The opener, Blue Ocean, is a bass-driven jazz/pop song with a catchy chorus. Love Is What I'm Waiting For could have been written for Queen and if Brian May had been invited to guest on the track it wouldn't have sounded much different. Better Than Walking Away is a lovely ballad with moving lyrics, whilst Fool In My Heart gives Mike Portnoy a chance to sing. Finally, the last track, a 12 minute piece called Infinite Fire, is where all the prog influences are let loose. I can detect Yes, Camel and Transatlantic in there,and the song comes complete with an instrumental middle section where the two Morses trade guitar and keyboard licks over a funky bass and drum backing.

Quite probably the album of the year for me.


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