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Wishbone Ash: Access All Areas

It wasn’t all nostalgia for their 20th anniversary.

Reunited in 1987 after a 14-year gap, the classic Wishbone Ash line-up had already released a couple of albums before heading out on their 20th anniversary tour in 1989 from which this rough but ready CD/DVD set is taken.

The opening instrumental, Real Guitars Have Wings from Nouveau Calls, demonstrates that Andy Powell and Ted Turner’s signature twin-guitar attack can still bristle, and while the three tracks from the just-released Here To Hear album are more song-based they show that their style can also accommodate some surprisingly contemporary rhythms.

But the cheers that greet The King Will Come and Blowin’ Free from Argus makes it clear where the fans’ real allegiance lies.

However, those fans might have been less impressed by the first encore, a ‘medley’ of four vintage tracks crammed into less than six-minutes, particularly as the total running time here barely exceeds 50 minutes.

Fortunately the band do not mess with Jail Bait. It’s also the last chance to hear the original band together before they disintegrated again a couple of years later.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.