Wishbone Ash’s self-titled debut album is a triumph of early seventies rock. It successfully merges elements of hard, folk and progressive rock to form an original compound. The album starts with the rocking but somehow stuttering “Blind Eye”. The effect is almost teasing. Next up is the harder, more progressive “Whiskey Lady”. This particular track is like Atomic Rooster in some ways: the singing, some tasty, catchy, heavy riffs, longish instrumental sections and great soloing. But then it’s not as dark as most Atomic Rooster and doesn’t feature Vincent Crane’s Hammond organ. Still, it’s an excellent track and one of my favorites from these guys. This is followed by another progressive piece, “Errors of my Way”. This is altogether much gentler with harmony singing giving it a distinctly folky feel. It’s a lovely track, and another favorite.
The second half is devoted to just two tracks. “Handy” is an almost completely instrumental track at over 11 minutes ling. It hints at some of their beautiful, gentle compositions that were to appear on the next album. This is followed by “Phoenix” another long track (over 10 minutes). This again is an almost all instrumental track. Some of the guitar playing here reminds me of early Fleetwood Mac.
“Wishbone Ash” is a great achievement for 1970. —Jim