Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988
No Speak was an instrumental-only record label, founded by Miles Copeland in 1988. To complement the release of the label’s Guitar Speak album, Copeland organized a week-long “Night Of The Guitars” British tour with many of its featured artists. The line-up was truly stellar, and featured Copeland as Master of Ceremonies and the following guitarists: Randy California (Spirit), Pete Haycock (Climax Blues Band), Steve Howe (Yes), Steve Hunter (ex Lou Reed band), Robby Krieger (Doors), Alvin Lee (Ten Years After), Andy Powell & Ted Turner (Wishbone Ash), and Leslie West (Mountain). Each guitarist played a few songs of their own, backed by a “house band”. Highlights were Randy California playing “Hey Joe”, Powell & Turner with “The King Will Come”, Steve Howe performing “The Clap” and Leslie West with “Theme from an Imaginary Western”. But best of all was Robby Krieger who was introduced as the star of the show and played an impeccable version of the Doors “Love me Two Times”.
The London gig was recorded and the album contains the songs below. The show I attended featured a similar set.
Pete Haycock & Steve Hunter – Dr Brown I presume, The Idler, Lucienne
Randy California – Groove Thing, Hey Joe
Robby Krieger – Love me Two Times
Ted Turner & Andy Powell – The King will Come
Leslie West – Theme from an Imaginary Western, Never in my Life
Steve Howe – Clap Medley, Wurm
Alvin Lee – No Limit, Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’
Everyone on stage for – All Along the Watchtower and a rock’n’roll medley including Whole Lotta Shakin’ , Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Johnny B. Goode, Rock and Roll Music & Bye Bye Johnny
Archive for the ‘Wishbone Ash’ Category
Night of the Guitars Newcastle City Hall 22nd November 1988
I lost touch with Wishbone Ash for around 10 years and decided to go and see them again at a concert at Newcastle Opera House on 26th May 2001. The only remaining original member of the band was Andy Powell and they had released 5 album since I had last see them in concert; these were: Strange Affair (1991; reunion line-up without drummer Steve Upton); Illuminations (1996; brand new Andy Powell led band); Trance Visionary (1997; an electronic-based dance album); Psychic Terrorism (1998; another techno dance album), and Bare Bones (1999; an acoustic album with new versions of Ash classics, some new songs and some cover songs; and special guests including Claire Hamill). The line-up of Wishbone Ash in 2001 was Andy Powell (guitar, vocals), Ben Granfelt (guitar, vocals), Bob Skeat (bass, vocals) and Ray Weston (drums). It was great to see them and hear the old classics again. I saw this line-up once more at a concert at the Park Hotel Tynemouth on 8th October 2003. They released the album Bona Fide in 2002. Both concerts were excellent. I recall the Park Hotel being packed and giving Andy and the band a great reception.
In 2004 guitarist Ben Granfelt left the band and was replaced by another excellent guitarist Muddy Manninen. The band continued to tour, and I saw this line-up three times: back at the Park Hotel (20th October 2004), at Newcastle Cluny (19th October 2005, moved from the Park, as I recall; I have two tickets one saying the Park and one the Cluny!) and at Newcastle Academy (14th May 2007). All great gigs, although I think the Academy gig was not well attended. This line-up recorded the Clan Destiny album in 2006. The 2005 tour was billed as the 35th Anniversary Tour (see programme). in 2007 drummer Ray Weston left after being in the band for 10 years and was replaces by Joe Crabtree. This line-up has recorded three albums Power of Eternity (2007), Elegant Stealth (2011) and Blue Horizon (2014). I saw them at Newcastle Academy in 2001, which I blogged about at the time.
Andy Powell continues to fly the Wishbone Ash flag high, and tours the UK at least once a year, sometimes twice.
That concludes my Wishbone Ash memories. Writing about them has reminded me how great this band was, particularly during the 1970s. Both the Mk I and the Mk II line-ups were pure class. I’ve played a lot of Wishbone Ash this week, and those classic songs have really taken me back to those days. I’d forgotten just how many favourites I have: Blind Eye, The Pilgrim, Pheonix, Jailbait, Blowin’ Free, Time Was, The King Will Come, Warrior, Throw Down the Sword, Living Proof…all wonderful tracks. I think I’ll play a few more this morning before I move on to the next band. Happy happy days 🙂
In 1987,original Wishbone manager Miles Copeland began a new project “No Speak”, which was to be a series of albums featuring all instrumental music. Copeland asked the four original members of Wishbone Ash to consider reforming to record an all-instrumental album. For the first time in 14 years, Andy Powell, Steve Upton, Martin Turner and Ted Turner got together and recorded the album Nouveau Calls, which was released in February 1988.
The band went out on tour playing tracks from the new album, and old favourites. I saw them with a group of mates at a gig at Newcastle Mayfair on 27th March 1988. The ballroom was packed and the band were given a heroes welcome. It was great to see the original line-up playing together again. Ted Turner had only recently come over for the tour, and hadn’t rehearsed some of the songs, so for the first part of the tour the first seven songs were played with Jamie Crompton (who had been in Wishbone Ash in 1985) on guitar, with Ted Turner entering for “The King Will Come”. I remember Turner playing a lot of slide guitar at the concert.
In August 1989 Wishbone Ash released a new album (this time with vocals) “Here to Hear”. Around this time they played at Sunderland Empire (20th September 1989), which was another excellent show. The reunion lasted until 1991 when Steve Upton and then Martin Turner left the band. Ted Turner quit in 1994, leaving Andy Powell as the only original member. I’ll bring my Wishbone Ash memories to a close tomorrow, covering the Andy Powell-led line-ups which I have seen in concert.
Setlist early 1988: Tangible Evidence; Living Proof; Genevieve; No More Lonely Nights; Real Guitars Have Wings; Something’s Happening In Room 602; Underground; The King Will Come; Throw Down the Sword; In The Skin; Clousseau; Phoenix; Blowin’ Free; Jailbait; Bad Weather Blues
Wishbone Ash Spectrum Leisure Complex Willington 7th December 1985
I’d lost touch with Wishbone Ash. It had been 4 years since I saw them perform at Newcastle City Hall on the Number the Brave tour. During that time much had happened. In 1982 the band released “Twin Barrels Burning”, an album which was quite heavy metal, capitalising on the popularity of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) movement. “Twin Barrels Burning” was their highest charting album for several years, reaching No. 22 in the UK chart. Bassist Trevor Bolder left the group to rejoin Uriah Heep in 1983, and was replaced by bassist/vocalist Mervyn Spence from Trapeze. The heavy metal groove continued and in 1985 Wishbone Ash released “Raw to the Bone” on NWOBHM label Neat Records; their first lp not to make the charts.
I read somewhere that Wishbone Ash were playing at The Spectrum Leisure Complex in Willington. I didn’t know where Willington was, but a quick look at a map showed me that it lay just outside Durham city, and wasn’t too far away. So I went with a mate to see what Wishbone Ash were up to. The Spectrum Leisure complex had recently opened and was starting to host concerts. Captain Sensible appeared there the week before the Wishbone concert. The gig was held in a sports hall and was not well attended. The line-up of the band was Andy Powell, Laurie Wisefield, Mervyn Spence and Steve Upton. I remember being very impressed by Spence, who handled the front man role previously held by Martin Turner well, and took lead vocals on a lot of the songs. I think they may have started with “The King Will Come” and the set was a mix of classics and heavier tracks from their recent albums. I am pretty sure that they played “Pheonix”. We stood close to the stage, right in front of the band, and the sound was crisp and loud. It was great to see Wishbone Ash again, and the new line-up did the songs justice.
A couple of weeks after this gig, Laurie Wisefield announced his decision to quit Wishbone Ash. He was replaced by ex-Suzi Quatro guitarist Jamie Crompton. A month or so later, Mervyn Spence also quit the band, and was replaced by Andy Pyle (ex-Blodwyn Pig, Savoy Brown, and Chicken Shack).
It was three years until I saw Wishbone Ash again, and I’ll write about that tomorrow.
Wishbone Ash Newcastle City Hall 27th May 1981
Martin Turner was replaced by bassist and vocalist John Wetton, who came with excellent pedigree, having previously been with Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep and UK. The new line-up recorded the 11th Wishbone Ash album “Number the Brave’, which was released in April 1981. Wetton left shortly after recording the album and rejoined Asia.For the 1981 “Number the Brave” tour Wetton was replaced by former Uriah Heep and David Bowie’s Spiders bassist Trevor Bolder. Female vocalist, Claire Hamill, also joined for the tour. Claire had sung on both the “Just Testing” and “Number the Brave” and co-wrote “Living Proof” with Laurie Wisefield. I saw the Newcastle City Hall concert n May 1981. For the concerts, lead vocals were shared between Andy Powell, Claire Hamill and Laurie Wisefield. This was quite a different Wishbone Ash, with Hamill adding soulful, rocky vocals and the mood of the performance moving much closer to heavy rock.
Support for the tour was heavy metal singer Nicky Moore, who had been in Hackensack and Tiger, and was fronting his own band at the time. Moore would soon go on to join Samson as replacement for Bruce Dickinson. Claire Hamill left the band after the tour. Encouraged by the success of the NWOBHM, heavy metal was very much the order of the day on their next album “Twin Barrels Burning”, which became the highest charting Wishbone Ash album in years reaching No. 22 in the UK charts.
Setlist: The King Will Come; Lady Whiskey; Where Is the Love; Time Was; Living Proof; Underground; Warrior; Throw Down the Sword; Loaded; Kicks on the Street; Phoenix; Number the Brave; Helpless; Jail Bait; Blowin’ Free; Get Ready; Bad Weather Blues.
It was 4 years ’til I next saw Wishbone Ash, and the line-up had changed again. I’ll write about that gig tomorrow.
Wishbone Ash Live 1980 “Just Testing”
1980 was a year of change for Wishbone Ash. The year started with the release of “Just Testing” – their tenth studio album, which included the excellent single “Living Proof”, a great rocker which remains a live favourite to this day. “Just Testing” spent four weeks on the UK chart, peaking at number 41. On the same day as it was released, Wishbone Ash commenced a 30 date UK/Irish tour, commemorating the band’s 10th anniversary. I saw the tour at Newcastle City Hall on 21st January 1980. It was another good concert, but their popularity had peaked, and the venue was not full. And it was the old favourites that everyone had come to hear.
A review of the Oxford New Theatre concert summarised the mood of the time: “…last night they proved their famous two-pronged lead is definitely of virtuoso vintage – but the “vintage” golden oldie tag is getting too close to comfort for a band still determined to take their rightful place at the top. Despite the promotions razzamatazz of their Tenth Anniversary World Tour, it was clear the band rely too heavily on past glories that climaxed with Argus seven years ago…The tracks they took from Just Testing – were not in the same league as their other material.. the synchronised splendour of their twin lead flourished in ‘Blind Eye’, ‘The King Will Come’ and ‘Blowin’ Free’.” (Oxford Mail concert review, February 1980).
Set list for “Just Testing” Tour January 1980: Doctor; Blind Eye; The Way of the World; Living Proof; The King Will Come; Runaway; Lifeline; Insomnia; Phoenix; Blowin’ Free; Helpless; Queen of Torture; Jailbait; Bad Weather Blues; Too Much Monkey Business. I think the support at the City Hall 1980 might have been The Dukes. The Dukes were formed by guitarists Jimmy McCulloch and Miller Anderson. McCulloch passed away in 1979. The band continued, and Martin Stone and Charlie Tumuhai (ex BeBop Deluxe) were also members at one point.
In May 1980 Wishbone Ash went out on a 12 date UK tour, entitled the “Blowin’ Free” tour, which I caught at Sunderland Mayfair on 28th May.
Setlist for “Blowin’ Free” Tour May 1980: Doctor; Lady Whiskey; Helpless; I Need People; The Pilgrim; Lookin’ For a Reason; Runaway; Living Proof; The King Will Come; Phoenix; Blowin’ Free; Jailbait; Bad Weather Blues; Too Much Monkey Business
In October 1980 the band met to discuss their future and talked of recruiting a lead singer/front person, in a bid to acheive the hit single success which had previously eluded them. Frontman Martin Turner felt unable to go along with the majority decision and relinquish his lead vocalist duties, so he left the band. The last appearance of the classic Mk II 1970s Wishbone Ash line-up had been on September 20th 1980 at the Colmar Festival, France.
Wishbone Ash Newcastle City Hall 11th October 1978 “No Smoke Without Fire”
No support act “Wishbone Ash will on stage 8.00pm”
It is 1978 and Wishbone Ash have returned, making the UK their home again. Early in the year they recorded their ninth studio album: “No Smoke Without Fire”. It was the heaviest Wishbone Ash album in many years, featuring the rocky single “You See Red” and the lengthy multi-part prog-rock epic “The Way of the World.” “No Smoke Without Fire” was released in October 1978. In the same month Wishbone Ash toured the UK to promote the new lp. The UK music papers and the charts were full of punk and new wave, but classic rock fans continued to support Wishbone Ash, and they played to sold out venues across the country. The tour featured a lengthy set by the band, with no support act. New songs “You See Red” and “The Way of the World” came over well live, and we were treated to all the old favourites. “You See Red” was released as a single, with a live version of concert favourite “Bad Weather Blues” on the B side. The advert in Melody Maker read: “Over the last few years ‘Bad Weather Blues’ has been a highly popular feature of all Wishbone Ash gigs. Now for the first time, this song is available on record, as a 10 minute live version. ‘Bad Weather Blues’ was written by Andy Powell, originally recorded for the Locked In album in 1975, but although it never made that album, it went on to become a live favorite used as an encore number.”
Setlist (based on typical setlist for the 1978 tour): The King Will Come; Warrior; Errors of my Way; You See Red; FUBB; Front Page News; The Way of the World; Phoenix; Anger in Harmony; Time Was; Runaway; Lady Whiskey; Jailbait; Queen of Torture; Blowin’ Free; Bad Weather Blues.
After the 1978 tour Wishbone Ash took a year out, before returning with their next album and tour in 1980.
“Well, I’ve been away, I said I been away for so long
Tell me, have you, have you done me wrong?
Can I tell by the look that’s in your eyes?
Have you kept your loving locked away inside?
Can you shake the dust from off my shoes and
Take away these bad weather blues?”
(Wishbone Ash, Bad Weather Blues)