Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

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Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby SteveC » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:40 pm

A personal choice from Argustimewas:

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[color=rgb(91, 91, 91)][size=12px]Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub[/size][/color]

[color=rgb(91, 91, 91)][size=12px]Given my user name it's perhaps predictable I'd select an album from Wishbone Ash. The classic WA album is, of course, their third album: Argus which I'm sure is familiar to many. However, given this exercise is meant to open us up to slightly less well known music. The WA album I'm asking you to review is There's The Rub. It's easy to find the Wishbone Ash story on the internet and so I won't offer an historical overview of WA other than a few brief pointers. [/size][/color]

[color=rgb(91, 91, 91)][size=12px]WA are an English "melodic rock" band formed in 1969 and are pioneers of the twin lead electric guitar sound coupled with an up front style of electric bass guitar playing. Like many, my interest in hifi stemmed from an interest in wanting get more out of the music I love. Even on a budget stereo 40 years ago I found it easy and thrilling to listen to WA and to pick out the twin lead / rhythm guitars, bass guitar, drum fills and lead & backing vocals. Nearly 50 years later there are two line-ups of WA still touring and making albums.[/size][/color]

[color=rgb(91, 91, 91)][size=12px]There's The Rub is the fifth album. It came out in late 1974 at a time of change within the band. It's the first album from the Mk 2 line-up with Ted Turner having been replaced with Laurie Wisefield (ex-Home) who offered a more energetic and up front style of playing. [/size][/color]

[color=rgb(91, 91, 91)][size=12px]This album is the first recorded and produced in the USA, but it retains a very English rock feel before the Mk 2 line-up went on to develop a more AOR radio friendly style. There are six tracks (three on each side of the original vinyl LP): Silver Shoes, Don't Come Back & Hometown - while all distinctive they share a bright and breezy rocky style, Lady Jay - more folky, Persephone - for many the stand out track and still a live favourite. In fact the guitar solo on Live Dates Volume Two is one of my favourite tracks of all time.  F.U.B.B. - an attempt to replace Phoenix, the first album closer, as a longer track to include in the live set and designed for showing off when playing live[/size][/color][size=12px][color=rgb(91, 91, 91)].[/color][/size]

[size=12px][color=rgb(91, 91, 91)]I hope you enjoy this album. [/color][/size]
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby blair207 » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:51 am

Wishbone Ash  There’s The Rub

Listened to on Spotify through PC on headphones.

This is the first time of my listening to this artist. Very much of its time but very good. There are moments which remind me of Pink Floyd but they have their own distinctive sound. Great guitar playing and tone, good production. I don’t find the songs to be classics but they are good. Interesting to listen to an album with longer songs where the artists take each idea and develop it as a vehicle for some great guitar playing. The vocals are pretty average and any message the lyrics might have doesn’t come across very strongly.  An enjoyable album, I don’t think I’ll buy it but I’m going to check out Argus after listening to this.
 
Favourite track, Persephone.  I can imagine this is a live favourite, the lead guitar is sublime.

Least favourite track, None. The album is very consistent in quality.

Outstanding moment, the outro guitar solo on Persephone.

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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby SteveC » Sun Feb 08, 2015 1:06 pm

There’s The Rub is an album I must have played hundreds of times on vinyl in the past, but have not listened to for over twenty years.  I went off them after seeing them live, in Southport, in the mid-eighties.  They were appalling, certainly not a band playing in tune, or even together.

You may have seen, on a different thread, the difficulties I had find a copy for this review.  I eventually bought it as a single CD with the ‘Locked In’ album included.

Sound quality is mixed to my ears, and a little flat.  It is about time someone took out the original tapes and re-mastered it.  It is a fairly short album with, mercifully, no ‘filler’ tracks, which seem to plague modern releases.

With an album, such as this, it is difficult to evaluate what I am listening to now, and separate it from the nostalgia of re-visiting an old friend.

After the fast pace of the opening two tracks, it is good to slow the pace down with Persephone.  This is a track which is like putting on a comfortable pair of old shes.  To me, it is as magnificent today as the day I first heard it.  Many bands have what to me are ‘signature’ tracks – Supertramp with Crime Of The Century, Al Stewart – Year of the Cat, Barclay James Harvest – Mockingbird, King Crimson – In the Wake of Poseiden, to name a few.  Persephone is Wishbone Ash’s signature track.  It displays the vocals and musicianship to the best.

F.U.B.B. is a great closing track, with good bass and drive.

Thanks to argutimewas for facilitating this re-discovery.
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby julianh » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:24 pm

I suspect an upfront declaration is needed. I've been big fan of Argus since it was released and a year or so back turned down the opportunity to take a copy of There's The Rub from my sister as my memory led me to believe it was not as good as Argus. Listening again after all these years suggests my memory didn't let me down.

I bought the album on both CD and vinyl and have listened to the CD a couple of times and the vinyl once. I've also listened to an AIFF rip of the CD on my iPhone using Onkyo HF Player and my Shure SE535 IEMs.

To me, this album is a bit like the curate's egg, It's good in parts. The opening track doesn't bode too well and the second track, Don't Come Back, is probably the least persuasive of the entire album. The mix is very poor with both the lead vocals and lead guitar far too back in the mix. Persephone is much more like the Wishbone Ash I was used and then came Hometown. Oh dear, another poor track. I could understand it being a bonus track on a CD, but the opening track on side 2 of an album? It's nowhere near good enough. Lady Jay is probably my favourite track with it's echoes of Throw Down The Sword whilst F.U.B.B. is a good track to close the album.

I think there are a couple of major issues with this album. Firstly, many listeners are likely to compare it to Argus and it falls far short of that classic album. Secondly, I suspect the relocation to the US and the choice of Bill Szymczyk as producer was a mistake. According to Wiki, he's noted as the producer of choice for bands wanting to change their musical direction. Maybe the members of Wishbone Ash wanted a change of direction after the change of line up but, for this listener, it doesn't work.

As SteveC says, it may be that someone needs to dig out the master tapes, give them a clean and remix/remaster the whole thing. Whether there's enough on the tapes to justify the effort is another matter entirely.

If I had to score this album I'd probably only give it 6/10. Not bad overall, but a couple of poor tracks really spoil the album for me.
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby crimsondonkey » Sun Feb 08, 2015 9:51 pm

Oh f*** no!!!

I'll warn you now, if you're a fan of the band, look away now.

Jesus Christ do people still listen to this?  The worst kind of self indulgent wanky 70's dad-rock I've ever subjected my ears to.  The lead guitar almost made me piss myself, if it wasn't actually recorded in the '74 when people seemingly didn't know any better then I'd swear it was some kind of modern parody piss take of how to play cheesy guitar whilst men listen wearing cardigans, rubbing their beards thoughtfully and drinking mild ale from jugs.

It's that special genre of British flared jeans rock for grown up men that I just cannot f*** stand.  Its that bad my actual dad would turn his nose up at and say was 'not cool'.  A classic example of the denim jacket brigade that should never be allowed near a studio, nor women which is not a problem as this kind of noodling repels women at a hundred yards.

I can see Bob f*** Harris tapping his little pretentious fingers along to this.

It made me feel queasy, nauseous and a flight risk.

I don't say this very often but you should be ashamed if you like this.

(Obviously YMMV and all that  ;D )
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby timbo » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:14 pm

Yes, it's awful.
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby simbo » Sun Feb 08, 2015 10:16 pm

Usual listening format for an album I will never buy: Spotify 320kbs / iPhone 6 / Shure SE530

Not a band I'd ever heard of this one other than seeing the occasional entry in the 'what did I listen to... threads, and those entires only on this forum.

I'm reminded of the theme tune to top gear most of the way through the album. I hate top gear and its theme tune.

I tried to like it I really did. The best I could do was think it would probably work as a guilty pleasure driving accompaniment or the  background music to a driving montage of the top gear nature. There are hints of something (10-15% of each track's overallness) that I would enjoy listening to if it weren't for the other 85-90% overallness (apologies for the made up word, but I hope it makes sense)

The tracks are all too long and the guitar soloing, whilst demonstrating dexterity, is mostly unnecessary.

Quite liked the intro to F.U.B.B. but not heard it all the way through so can't commit to a full-on 'best track' statement in case it turns out rather embarrassing.

I guess it's just one of those 'you had to be there' bands. I'll try Argus, but I suspect it will take me further away from what I like than closer to it.

All of the above is of course only in my humble opinion apart from my statement on my hatred of top gear and its theme tune, which is a fact.

EDIT: I did listen to this numerous times (at least 5) in an attempt to get it to grow on me, but didn't make it to end due to F.U.B.B. being listed as over 9 minutes long!
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby abozo » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:09 pm

Again, I was subjected to this in my youth by older cousins, so it was quite familiar to me.

For the purposes of this thread, I listened to it again three times on Spotify.

I really don't like it.  I can't find anything interesting in it.  So I have nothing positive to bring to this party.  :(

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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby Bolts2109 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:25 pm

I hate it with a passion - this shit is why I was so ecstatic that punk arrived and kicked this crap into touch.
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby argustimewas » Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:58 am

That went well then!
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby Bolts2109 » Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:28 am

:)  :)  ;)
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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby billyray » Sat Feb 14, 2015 10:21 am

[quote="argustimewas"]
That went well then!
[/quote]

Yeah

We clearly all have different tastes.  I also saw Wishbone Ash live (early 80s I think)

I listened to this in the car.  In my opinion it isn't their best.  I have 'Just testing' on vinyl from the day. I've listened to that again to compare. 

In many ways I like it, as you like your old friends, even though they are still telling the same stories they did in their 20s.

Thank you for reminding me to listen again.

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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby peter bj » Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:47 pm

As this album came up I dug out my vinyl copy not played it for a while as although I quite like wishbone ash i never really warmed to it . I would agree it is not one of their best albums but neither is it poor . I still play argus a fair bit as I really like this album . I have seen them once in their hayday and once as above in the 80s and agree they were they put in a ppp in their later days .

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Re: Classic Albums - Wishbone Ash - There's The Rub - Review Date 8th February 2015

Postby MartinK » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:36 pm

[quote="simbo"]
I'm reminded of the theme tune to top gear most of the way through the album. I hate top gear and its theme tune.
[/quote]

Another album you won't like then, Allman Brothers "Jessica".

I quite like the Wishbone Ash stuff.  Probably because it was in the sixth form common room all the time.  I have a couple of their albums, and still enjoy the odd listening session.

I do like "There's the Rub", but I would agree that if it wasn't for the nostalgia, I probably wouldn't have bought it...
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