on 23 June 2002
This is a pretty good album for a band whose strength has always been in twin lead electric guitar work. Having introduced an acoustic section into the live act, Andy Powell, Mark Birch, Bob Skeat and Ray Weston decided to devote a whole album to the format. The first three tracks provide an excellent start. "Wings of Desire" is so catchy it could have easily been a single, "Errors of My Way" is rearranged for acoustic guitar, violin and accordion (an interesting idea which is surprisingly sucessful), whilst "Master of Disguise" sounds very similar to the original version on "Just Testing." The album then dips a little in quality - the next two tracks to my ear are sub-standard, and "Baby Give Me One More Chance" is not much better. However, the rest of the album then returns to the heights set by the opening three tracks. "Hard Times" and "Strange Affair" still rock even with an acoustic setting, and although I prefer the original "Living Proof" to the laid-back version here, the song does grow on you. On the final track, "Everybody Needs A Friend", Andy Powell is finally allowed to let rip on the electric lead guitar, to conclude an album which is definately worth having as part of a Wishbone Ash collection.
on 6 November 1999
A departure for the masters of twin lead guitars, a mainly acoustic album. For a change from most of today's sounds, "real" music - no computers, drum machines etc. Just good, solid, guitars and even violins! A mix of old numbers and new. My favourite is the 1970's classic "Errors of My Ways", but all the tracks are haunting, beautiful, melodic songs. Nice vocals too. I recommend turning up the volume, laying back and listening whilst the wind and rain howl outside on a damp English Sunday afternoon!
on 11 October 2001
An unplugged album. A very logical step for Wishbone Ash. They've been "unplugging" throughout their career.
You can hear harmonica, violin, accordion etc. blended together with melodic guitars as only Wishbone Ash can.
The oldie "Living Proof" is treated very differently, which is interesting. When Eric Clapton "unplugged" his song "Layla" it was pretty different from the original, but Wishbone Ash took "Living Proof" even further from its roots. Nice one!
Another good thing is that the all-new songs are my favourites. It's a good promise for the future. Over thirty years and still going strong!
on 18 February 2016
A truly superb set from the Ash, mainly 'unplugged' as was popular at the time, but unlike most artistes who went down that route the Ash combine a selection from throughout their career with a roughly equal number of original compositions. Guest musicians provide additional flavours with harp,violin,piano and organ and former member Claire Hamill offers some harmony vocals too. Styles range across folky, country and blues influence to acoustic soft-rock.The more intimate sound offers the rhythm section of Bob Skeat and Ray Weston to come to the fore and show their considerable skills without the need to show off and much the same goes for guitarist Mark Birch, a man whose relatively short tenure has left him as something of a forgotten alumni but, as demonstrated here, a very skillful player,talented songwriter and decent lead vocalist [ thus disproving the barbs about the band being all about Andy Powell;- it's actually all about the music]. For the last track the electric guitar makes it's only appearance on a beautiful revisit to ''Everybody Needs A Friend",one of the excellent songs originally marred by the poor production on Wishbone Four. On this version AP delivers a stunning guitar line as well as one of his best ever recorded vocals. The whole album is an absolute joy and thoroughly reccomended