Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Ash Wednesday

Wishbone Ash - The King Will Come

No... it's not a religious holiday of penitence, nor shall it be Lent an air of guilt or regret.

That's why it's called Nowbodhi's Blissness, you know. I feel no shame taking dodgy things that exist, rightly or wrongly, in the world and trying -- even occasionally succeeding! -- in making them the best they can be. Or at least better than they were when I found them.

There's no need to explain things to a world where willful obtusion is a religion unto itself, but I do anyway.... take this concert, for instance.

These guys are legendary in their own right, with some folks calling them the best band that never became superstars or whatever.

I think of them as the dream weavers who were first to that precisely harmonized, warmly distorted twin-guitar attack that took over the 1970s once they laid the template.

Other groups kind of discovered it simultaneously -- The Allmans and Swedish progtrancers Träd, Gräs och Stenar come to mind -- but Wishbone Ash took it to a refined level at the outset of the Seventies and honed it into a fierce weapon as well as anyone.

So yeah, this concert. Ashthusiasts will know it well, as it's one of if not the best sounding boots of them. But it circulates missing an official track that was released on a compilation, in a way that sonically differs from the BBC transcription reels I have it sourced from here.

Reintegrating it from that release -- which contains a myriad of performances from different Ash eras, all crossfaded together and EQ'd/remixed to sound like one thing -- would have been OK, but a noticeable deviation to the ears.

So what's a ROIObsessive to do with these kind of quality control issues? Luckily for all of us, there was an HD file of whaddaya know? just the one song! on YouTube that went all the way to 20 kHz just like the pre-broadcast reels I spoke of. Which sound as great as any bootleg I've ever heard by the way, and I've heard a few... some of which I wish I never had!

No one might care or notice what I did, but smashing it back into the show from that file worked seamlessly, raised to the power of perfect. Don't tell anyone, OK? It will be our secret.

I dunno what secret has enabled me to do this work and have this page for 10 years, yet here we are somehow, a decade into it on my 57th birthday.

The flakes are on the cake and the 'bone is on the phone, so make a wish! Mine is that all bootlegs could sound as incredible -- and as sonically polished -- as this one does.

Wishbone Ash
Hammersmith Odeon
London, UK

01 BBC introduction by Brian Matthew
02 The King Will Come
03 Warrior
04 Errors of My Way
05 You See Red
06 F.U.B.B.
07 Front Page News
08 The Way of the World/BBC outro

01 BBC introduction by Brian Matthew
02 Phoenix
03 Anger In Harmony
04 Time Was
05 Runaway
06 Lady Whiskey
07 Jailbait
08 Queen of Torture
09 Blowin' Free/BBC outro

Total time: 1:39:57

Andy Powell - guitar, mandolin & vocals
Steve Upton - drums & percussion
Martin Turner - bass, keyboards & vocals
Laurie Wisefield - guitar, banjo & vocals

BBC Rock Hour #48 & #49 pre-broadcast transcription reels
some of these tracks may come from the October 27th show at the same venue
microgaps between tracks fixed by EN, October 2023
711 MB FLAC/direct link

I even took out the microsecond-long gaps between the tunes with which this had made the rounds for years, so's they won't be the source of eye-gouging irritation for you that they were to me. Come on folks, this is the kind of meticulous, no-holds-barred quality control that would make Consumer Reports proud! Somewhere, a reminiscing Ralph Nader eats a gummy and spins The Argus.

Anyway enough of my sense-free babble... this unbelievable concert is 45 today and I'm 57, and this page has made it to 10, so I gotta thank you for reading. Or at least wading through my useless yakking to get to the music, which is (as far as I can distinguish) the only thing that makes the psychotically miserable experiment in profligate apathy and confirmation bias we call the human species a trillionth tolerable.
And of course, a special kudos if you've been around a while with me on this journey. I hope what I try to accomplish with this project brings something worthwhile to your table... or at least reorients your inner track markers to begin at the precise moment the tunes start.
OK? Now that's what I call Ash Wednesday... and you didn't even have to repent, or send unheard fantasy wishes up to invisible, anthropomorphically vengeful Sky Daddies! No ablutions needed, no lifetime commitments required... just 98 minutes to dig these Devonshire dervishes slinging stinging, singing harmony guitars on the BBC!--J.


  1. So great. Happy Birthday & Happy Anniversary!

  2. Many thanks for this. They were very popular in New Orleans, starting in the early-mid 70s, for about 10 years. Frequently played at The Warehouse (one of the photos you posted was taken from there, and one of the guys is wearing a t-shirt that was given to bands that played there).