Wishbone Ash: Argus



ON THIS DATE (40 YEARS AGO)
April 28, 1972 – Wishbone Ash: Argus is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+ 4/5
# allmusic 4/5


Argus is the third album by Wishbone Ash, released on this date in 1972. It is the most popular Wishbone Ash album and widely considered their greatest by fans and reviewers. It was named “Album of the Year” in the 1972 year-end issue of Sounds magazine. The album features a blend of progressive rock, folk, and hard rock, and is considered a landmark album in the progression of twin-lead guitar harmonization later adopted by bands such as Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. All in all, Argus is one of the best guitar albums of the early ’70s. The sound engineer on Argus was Martin Birch, who also worked with Deep Purple, later with Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and other hard rock/heavy metal bands. The bulk of the melodies and lyrics were provided by bassist/lead vocalist Martin Turner, although all members contributed to the song arrangements. With the success of Argus, the band also became one of the most popular live attractions of the day.


REVIEW
by William Ruhlmann, allmusic
If Wishbone Ash can be considered a group who dabbled in the main strains of early-’70s British rock without ever settling on one (were they a prog rock outfit like Yes, a space rock unit like Pink Floyd, a heavy metal ensemble like Led Zeppelin, or just a boogie band like Ten Years After?), the confusion compounded by their relative facelessness and the generic nature of their compositions, Argus, their third album, was the one on which they looked like they finally were going to forge their own unique amalgamation of all those styles into a sound of their own. The album boasted extended compositions, some of them (“Time Was,” “Sometime World”) actually medleys of different tunes, played with assurance and developing into imaginative explorations of new musical territory and group interaction. The lyrics touched on medieval themes (“The King Will Come,” “Warrior”) always popular with British rock bands, adding a majestic tone to the music, but it was the arrangements, with their twin lead guitar parts and open spaces for jamming, that made the songs work so well. Argus was a bigger hit in the U.K., where it reached the Top Five, than in the U.S., where it set up the commercial breakthrough enjoyed by the band’s next album, Wishbone Four, but over the years it came to be seen as the quintessential Wishbone Ash recording, the one that best realized the group’s complex vision.


TRACKS:
All songs composed by Andy Powell, Martin Turner, Ted Turner and Steve Upton
Side one
“Time Was” – 9:42
“Sometime World” – 6:55
“Blowin’ Free” – 5:18 


Side two
“The King Will Come” – 7:06
“Leaf and Stream” – 3:55
“Warrior” – 5:53
“Throw Down the Sword” – 5:55


First reissue bonus tracks
“No Easy Road” – 3:36


Bonus Tracks from their Live From Memphis Promotional EP
“Jail Bait” – 4:57
“The Pilgrim” – 10:10
“Phoenix” – 17:05


2007 Deluxe edition
Disc One
“Time Was”
“Sometime World”
“Blowin’ Free”
“The King Will Come”
“Leaf and Stream”
“Warrior”
“Throw Down the Sword”
“No Easy Road”
“The Pilgrim” (live in Memphis 1972)
“Phoenix” (live in Memphis 1972)


Disc Two
“Time Was” (BBC in concert session 1972)
“Blowin’ Free” (BBC in concert session 1972)
“Warrior” (BBC in concert session 1972)
“Throw Down the Sword” (BBC in concert session 1972)
“King Will Come” (BBC in concert session 1972)
“Phoenix” (BBC in concert session 1972)
“Blowin’ Free” (BBC session 1972)
“Throw Down The Sword” (BBC session 1972)

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