Archive for the ‘Glencoe’ Category

Wishbone Ash Live in 1972

Wishbone Ash Live in 1972
wishboneashtix72I’ve been putting off writing about Wishbone Ash, partly because I knew this was going to take some organising (I have seen the band 20+ times), but also because I wanted to be sure to do as good a job as possible, as the band and their music mean a lot to me. So this is going to be a bit of a marathon, but I promise to combine some of the concerts. It will still probably take me a week or so.
I was, for some reason, slow in getting into Wishbone Ash, and missed some of the early chances I had to see them. The first real memory I have is of a group of friends coming into school one Monday morning, raving about this new up and coming band that they had been to see at Newcastle Mayfair the previous Friday night. It was late 1971, and that band was Wishbone Ash. We were all aspiring guitarists, so guitar bands were “our thing”, and they were telling me how Wishbone Ash had twin guitarists, who played carefully worked out guitar parts which complemented each other. I was so jealous, and from then on I made it my business to listen to their music, and committed to go and see them the next chance I got. That chance came in early 1972 when Wishbone Ash next played the City Hall.
Roll on to 12th February 1972, and I was at the City Hall to see Wishbone Ash. The venue was probably around 75% full, and support came from the excellent Glencoe who featured Norman Watt Roy on bass and John Turnbull (from Newcastle) on guitar. I’d see John before in Bell and Arc, and he and Norman went on to be members the Blockheads, with Ian Dury. Tickets were 50p. Wishbone Ash had just finished recording their third, classic, album “Argus”, which was released in April 1972, and their set featured new songs which were to feature on that lp. Seeing Wishbone Ash around this time was watching a band at the peak of their creativity, and with a set of classic rock songs which no-one could match. They would start with “Time Was” which was the perfect opener, starting quiet and melodically and slowly building into a rockier song, Martin Turner centre-stage, Gibson Thunderbass bass hung low, singing the lead vocal, and the others adding those gentle harmonies. wishboneandysoundsThey would, of course, always play “Blowin’ Free” with its intricate (and tricky to play, at least for me 🙂 ) twin guitar opening riff and its catchy singalong, almost pop, chorus. The first time I heard “Jail Bait” I thought its thumping beat and screaming guitar riffs sounded so fresh and so different; in concert it was a great rocker, often reserved for later in the set. New tracks “The King Will Come”, “Warrior” and “Throw Down the Sword” usually featured and remain prog-rock classics. “The King Will Come” is classic Wishbone Ash from that period. And then they might play the “The Pilgrim” with its duelling guitars, and the epic “Phoenix” building to a crescendo as the mythical bird is reborn, rising from the ashes and the flames. At first I found “Phoenix” too long, with too many twists, but over time it too has become a favourite. There were also straight rockers like “Lady Whiskey” and “Where were you tomorrow”. My favourite at the time was the jazzy “Blind Eye” from their debut eponymous album. Andy Powell would have his signature Gibson Flying V and stand stage left, while the longer haired, quiet Ted Turner would be stage right with his Fender Strat. They were excellent, and musical perfection.
wishboneashprog71The next time I saw Wishbone Ash was on 27th May 1972. I was standing on a rainy Saturday afternoon, in a windswept field at the Lincoln Festival, watching them battle against poor sound, and an audience who were cold, wet and tired. The Sounds poster of Andy Powell which I have on my wall, and which is pictured here, was photographed at Lincoln.
I saw once more in 1972, when they called at Sunderland Locarno on 16th September. By now everyone had heard and bought Argus, and the placed was packed. Everyone I knew went, and Wishbone Ash were excellent. Support came from American folk-rock group FF & Z (Fishbaugh, Fishbaugh and Zorn). Pete Zorn from the band is now a longstanding member of Richard Thompson’s touring band and was also a member of Driver 67 who had a 1979 UK Top 10 hit with “Car 67”.
Thanks to Mitch for sending me a photo of his Wishbone Ash programme which comes from an earlier gig, with a great line-up, although Mitch tells me that only Stackridge supported, and Renaissance did not appear. Note the price of the programme: 10p!
Newcastle February 1972 set list (thanks Mitch): Time Was, Jail Bait, Warrior, Throw Down The Sword, The Pilgrim, The King Will Come, Phoenix.
Encores – Blind Eye, Where Were You Tomorrow.
More Wishbone Ash tomorrow.

Glencoe: an under-rated early 70s band

Glencoe: an under-rated early 70s band
Blogging on the Deep Purple gigs that I attended in the early 70s, has made me think a little about Glencoe, who supported Deep Purple on their 1972 UK tour. I remember Glencoe well and saw them a few times. They featured Norman Watt Roy on bass and John Turnbull ( from Newcastle ) on guitar, who had been in Bell and Arc. Both of them went on to be part of Ian Dury and the Blockheads. Norman is now bass player for Wilko Johnson. One particular gig comes to mind. I went along to see Stray and Glencoe at the Mayfair, with a friend who was heavily into Stray. It was a midnight to 4am gig; it may have been Easter Sunday or something like that. We got the last train through to Newcastle and arrived at the Mayfair. The queue was massive, and I remember being worried that we might not get in, and would be left stranded in Newcastle all night. We did get in and the place was packed to the walls. Glencoe played, and then they announced over the PA that Stray weren’t coming and would be replaced by a local band. My memory is hazy here. I have vague memories of both Lucas Tyson and Brass Alley playing. I think Lucas Tyson may have been on first, before Glencoe, and then Brass Alley replaced Stray (or was it the John Miles Set? Who nows….). We were also told over the PA that in compensation we could come along and see Edgar Broughton free of charge the following Friday. We didn’t think that was very fair, as we had come especially to see Stray, so we went along and spoke to a bouncer. I said I  wanted to see the manager to ask for our money back. The bouncers weren’t the most understanding of guys in those days. He slapped me across the face, and told me to b***** off or he would throw us out. We decided it would be wiser to accept his advice. We stayed in the Mayfair until the gig finished at 4am. We then went to Bowers all night cafe which was opposite the station, had a cup of coffee and stayed there until the first train back to Sunderland, which was around 6am. Happy Days….Glencoe were a good band, who were a mix of funk and rock. Norman Watt Roy was the stand out as bass player, and John Turnbull was also great on guitar. I had their album at one point, and still have a single of theirs, called Friends of Mine. I also remember a song called Airport, which was a highlight of their live set at the time.

Deep Purple Newcastle City Hall 1972

Deep Purple Newcastle City Hall 1972
Support from Glencoe
Deep Purple were back at the City Hall in 1972 and this was the band at its peak. This was the Mark II version of the band, which most people regard as the ultimate and classic line-up of Deep Purple. In 1972 Purple had world-wide success with the release of their album Machine Head, and in the same year they recorded the superb live album Made In Japan. They started with Highway Star, which is just the perfect set opener; it kicks off with a great riff, its fast and up-tempo, and there’s a wonderful solo from Blackmore. They played all their best known songs, including the now classic Smoke on the Water which was then new to the set. Other songs which featured in the set at that time were Child in Time; The Mule; Strange Kind of Woman; Lazy; and Space Truckin’. All great. It didn’t get any better than this at the time. The encores will probably have been one or two of Black Night; Speed King and possibly Lucille; I can’t be certain. Its difficult to put into words just how great Deep Purple were at that time; they were easily on a par with Zeppelin and Sabbath. Jon Lord’s swirling organ and the unbelievable vocal range that Gillan had in those days gave them something unique, which set them apart from any other band. And Blackmore was amazing, so confident, so flashy in his guitar technique. For this gig I was lucky enough to be sitting in the third row, right in front of Ritchie, and I just couldn’t keep my eyes off him. And Purple were so LOUD; my ears were ringing for days after. My hearing isn’t so good these days, and I reckon the main culprits are Deep Purple, the Who and Motorhead! I remember support act Glencoe well and saw them a few times around that time. They featured Norman Watt Roy on bass and John Turnbull on guitar, who I’d seen in Bell and Arc. Both of them went on to be part of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, and Norman is now bass player for Wilko Johnson. They were a good band, who deserved more recognition. Tomorrow I’ll bring together my memories of the 1973 Deep Purple tour, which was the last time I saw the classic line up in the 70s. Things were not great in the Purple camp, and sadly the band was about to disintegrate.