WISHBONE ASH

(UNITED KINGDOM)

RAW TO THE BONE (ÉDITION DELUXE)

(2018)
LABEL:

CHERRY RED RECORDS

GENRE:

ROCK

/ HARD ROCK
TAGS:
80's, Easy-Listening
"This re-release of an average album presents in the end much more interesting bonuses than the album itself."
CORTO1809 (28.08.2018)  
3/5
(0) opinions (0) comment(s)
Cherry Red Records via its label Lemon re-released in February in a "Deluxe double CD" version simultaneously "Twin Barrels Burning" (originally released in 1982) and "Raw to the Bone" (1985) by the famous English rock band Wishbone Ash. 

After a "Twin Barrels Burning" distilling a peachy hard rock as exciting as it is unoriginal, Wishbone Ash is back with its difficulties to keep a stable line-up since its emblematic bass player Martin Turner left it. John Wetton and Trevor Bolder each marked the band with their short presence before marrying Asia and Uriah Heep in a second marriage. It is Mervyn Spence, ex-Trapeze, who takes their place to complete the squad.

A recruitment far from insignificant. Indeed, not only did the young man come with many ideas for compositions that will be adopted by Wishbone Ash, but he also took on the role of lead singer for the first time in the band's history, an idea that had been hovering for a few years and was at the origin of Martin Turner's departure.

As a result, "Raw to the Bone" sounds even less Wishbone Ash than its predecessor. It's a collection of rather lively tracks, divided between a very fashionable AOR in the mid-eighties ('Cell of Fame', 'Don't You Mess', 'Dreams'), classic rock ('Don't Cry', 'Love is Blue') and hard rock ('Rocket in my Pocket', 'It's Only Love', 'Perfect Timing'). Mervyn Spence's rather high-pitched vocals are the centrepiece of these songs, which are neither good nor bad, rather unremarkable and very conventional, with the musicians contenting themselves with being relegated to the background of the voice. The lack of conviction of a band that is visibly searching for itself is palpable and makes this "Raw to the Bone" one of the weakest albums in Wishbone Ash's discography.

A good remastering has never turned an average album into a masterpiece and the miracle doesn't happen here either. The new version of "Raw to the Bone" which occupies a large part of the first CD is therefore not unforgettable. But, whereas often the bonus tracks of re-releases are demos or alternative takes that only interest die-hard fans, those of this re-release prove to be more interesting than the original album itself.

The CD1 is completed by a new track composed by Mervyn Spence, 'She's Still Alive', as bland as the tracks that preceded it, and 4 tracks composed by the Powell/Upton pair, Mervyn Spence and Laurie Wisefield having deserted Wishbone Ash, and recorded with two studio musicians during a session in 1986. Stuck between two hard rock and a ballad, 'Valley of Tears' almost regains the lightness and grace that made Wishbone Ash famous in its early days.

The CD2 features two live recordings of the band for BBC broadcasts. The first one (The Friday Rock Show) contains 4 tracks from 'Raw to the Bone' interpreted in a much more convincing way. On the second one (Live at Hammersmith), the musicians cover some old standards ('King Will Come', 'Blowin' Free') which show if it was necessary to do so, that Wishbone Ash was a great band in its early years but also which underline the contrast between its heyday and its current period.

If "Raw to the Bone" is a relatively unremarkable album, this re-release is justified by its bonuses, as fans of the English band can't miss the 4 unreleased tracks from the 1986 session. And the second live CD shows a band much more at ease on stage than in the studio.
- Official website

TRACK LISTING:
01. Cell Of Fame
02. People In Motion
03. Don’t Cry
04. Love In Blue
05. Long Live The Night
06. Rocket In My Pocket
07. It’s Only Love
08. Don’t You Mess
09. Dreams (Searching For An Answer)
10. Perfect Timing
11. he’s Still Alive (bonus)
12. Apocalypso (The 1986 sessions)
13. alley Of Tears (The 1986 sessions)
14. Nkomo (The 1986 sessions)
15. alk To Me (The 1986 sessions)
16. Long Live The Night (The Friday Rock Show)
17. Cell Of Fame (The Friday Rock Show)
18. Love In Blue (The Friday Rock Show)
19. People In Motion (The Friday Rock Show)
20. Living Proof (Live at Hammersmith on BBC)
21. Cell Of Fame (Live at Hammersmith on BBC)
22. King Will Come (Live at Hammersmith on BBC)
23. Blowin’ Free (Live at Hammersmith on BBC)

LINEUP:
Andy Powell: Guitares / Choeurs
Laurie Wisefield: Guitares / Choeurs
Mervyn Spence: Chant / Basse
Steve Upton: Batterie
Andrew Bown: Claviers / Invité
Brad Lang: Basse / Invité
Phil Palmer : Invité / Guitare (12-15)
Simon Butt: Claviers / Invité
   
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