Thursday, 27 May 2010

“Sometime World – An MCA Travelogue” by WISHBONE ASH. A Review of the May 2010 Remastered 2CD Set Issued In Advance Of Their Entire Catalogue.


This review is part of my Series "SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters 1970s Rock And Pop" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac (it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar). Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related publications:

                       http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00LQKMC6I

"…Hello Friend…"

Many Wishbone Ash fans will feel they’ve had to wait the guts of 30 years for a half-decent CD remaster of their favourite British band’s huge back-catalogue. Well at last - it’s here – and “…MCA Travelogue” is a humdinger, it really is. To the details first…

“Sometime World” takes its name from the 2nd track on Side 1 of their most beloved album “Argus” and features newly remastered songs from 12 LPs – 26 tracks across two fully-featured CDs. Proceedings open with their rare 1970 debut album “Wishbone Ash” and carry on right through to 1981’s “Number The Brave” – the only LP exclusion being any tracks from 1980’s “Live Dates Volume 2”.

Released Monday 31 May 2010 on Island/Universal 5326131, “Sometime World – An MCA Travelogue” breaks down as follows (full album versions used)…

Disc 1 (79:55 minutes):
1. Blind Eye
2. Error Of My Ways
3. Phoenix
4. Vas Dis
5. The Pilgrim
6. Jail Bait
7. Sometime World
8. Blowin’ Free
9. Warrior
10. Throw Down The Sword
11. Everybody Needs A Friend
12. The King Will Come [Live]

1 to 3 from “Wishbone Ash”, December 1970 UK LP on MCA Records MKPS 2014
4 to 6 from “Pilgrimage”, September 1971 UK LP on MCA Records MDKS 8004
7 to 10 from “Argus”, April 1972 UK LP on MCA Records MDKS 8006
11 from “Wishbone Four”, December 1973 UK LP on MCA Records MDKS 8011
12 from “Live Dates”, December 1973 UK 2LP Live Set on MCA Records ULD 1-2

Disc 2 (79:06 minutes):
1. Persephone
2. F.U.B.B.
3. Moonshine
4. Mother Of Pearl
5. Lorelei
6. Front Page News
7. Goodbye Baby Hello Friend
8. Come In From The Rain
9. You See Red
10. The Way Of The World (Parts 1 & 2)
11. Living Proof
12. Lifeline
13. That’s That
14. Open Road

1 and 2 from “There’s The Rub”, November 1974 UK LP on MCA Records MCF 2585
3 from “Locked In”. March 1976 UK LP on MCA Records MCF 2750
4 and 5 from “New England”, November 1976 UK LP on MCA Records MCG 3523
6 to 8 from “Front Page News”, October 1977 UK LP on MCA Records MCG 3524
9 and 10 from “No Smoke Without Fire”, October 1978 UK LP on MCA Records MCG 3528
11 and 12 from “Just Testing”, January 1980 UK LP on MCA Records MCF 3052
13 and 14 from “Number The Brave”, April 1981 UK LP on MCA Records MCF 3013

The 16-page booklet features an album-by-album appraisal by DAVE LING of “Classic Rock” and “Metal Hammer” magazines, various line-up photos and a pictorial discography of the albums featured. And the release has clearly been made with band involvement (40th anniversary). But the big news is the sound…

Remastered by ANDY PEARCE, the sound is stupendous – at last these tracks are breathing – and to use that old cliché “they’re live and in your living room”. The instruments are wonderfully clear and full, each track a ballsy revelation. I’ve waited decades to hear the wicked “Front Page News” album from 1977 with Laurie Wisefield’s awesome guitar playing in decent sound (ex CBS act “Home”) – and here it is. There is hiss on the earlier albums, but it’s neither compressed down nor trebled up – and as you listen to each song – you can’t help but feel that real care went into the working of every song. They are as they were – just sounding new – like a visit from an old friend…

Track choices – this may irritate some – “Time Was” is the fabulous opening track on “Argus” and virtually defined their ‘sound’ for 4 decades to come, but it’s missing. And speaking of that fab 3rd album - with the 2005 Erick Labson remaster and 2009 Paschal Byrne 2CD Deluxe Edition remaster (both wonderful), do we really need 4 more versions from that same LP? Those inclusions mean that the massively underrated “Wishbone Four” has only one track featured (albeit a really good one), while I would also loved to have heard the brilliantly funky “Outward Bound” from “New England” too. Having said that, it’s quietly satisfying to hear that Disc 2 is just as good as Disc 1 (and in some cases better – “Lorelei”, “Come In From The Rain” and “You See Red”).

So there you have it - if this is a taster for the individual album remasters to come – then it works. Fans will absolutely love the new and superlative remastered sound quality, while newcomers will dig some classic twin-guitar rock with tunes.

And about bloody time too.

Recommended.

PS: fans should also note that 19 May 2010 sees the CD reissue of 13 classic Wishbone Ash albums in Japan - from “Wishbone Ash” to “Number The Brave” (included the 2disc set “Live Dates Volume 2”). All feature new 2010 remastering, 5” Mini LP card repro sleeves (textured sleeves, gatefolds and inserts where applicable) and are on the superior SHM-CD format (Super High Materials). They’re available to order through the excellent www.cdjapan.co.jp website

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