You don’t get much closer to vintage Wishbone Ash than this.

Label: Dirty Dog Discs
Time:   11 tracks / 52 mins

There has been a bit of a legal spat between Turner and his former band, meaning that he can no longer use their name and now is officially called ‘Martin Turner – Founding Original Member of Wishbone Ash’.

It is a shame, because this album embodies the Wishbone spirit and sounds better than much output from the current official line-up. Turner may be a bassist and singer, but you can easily tell that these musicians (essentially his touring band) have been earning a living by playing the best Wishbone tracks. The six-minute “Vapour Trail” could have been an outtake from Argus and “Mystify Me” a bonus track on Wishbone Four.

The title track contains its fair share of twaddle (“The sun and the planets controlling from afar / Writing the story of who and what we are  / Some would say that we’re only survivors from Mars / But the truth is written in the stars”) but it is the guitar work that we are looking for on this release. The words are incidental.

Instead of the legendary twin guitars, Turner employs a trio, and they have their own roles to keep the sound crisp and clear.

“The Beauty of Chaos” has the guitars both using twang and having a Steve Hackett-like chime, and interweaves between two sounds and styles. The mellow “Lonely Star” moves with a bluesy sway. Closing track “Interstellar Rockstar” adds strings behind the duelling guitars for extra gravitas.

“Lovers” and “For My Lady” are very weak songs, both in writing and singing, but even here the guitar work is enjoyable.

Overall, there is a great variety to flavour the melodic songs:  a balance of instrumental playing with vocal passages, some twang, some light material, some metal riffing on the title track and a few American touches. But mainly this continues the band’s legacy well and freshly – whether officially Wishbone or not.

Derek Walker