Cherry Red [Release date 08.04.16]
Martin Turner albums are like buses. There’s nothing, and then along come several. That’s no problem as the one-time Wishbone Ash bassist always maintains a high quality quotient and they are worth the wait even when recycled.
New Live Dates brings together two albums released in 2006/7 and featuring a guest appearance from Ted Turner. There is inevitable duplication with the Martin Turner & Friends set reviewed elsewhere which – in 2012 – brought together former Ash acolytes including Turner and Laurie Wisefield.
Ray Hatfield (who left the current band in 2015) and Keith Buck (replaced by Danny Wilson in 2008) handle the twin lead duties with aplomb and fans will lap up excellent versions of tunes from a fair cross-selection of Ash albums, not just the obvious suspects. ****
In this respect, ‘Argus’ is included in its entirety on the 2-CD/DVD set Life Begins, recorded at the Y Theatre in Leicester in 2010 and previously only available at gigs as a separate CD and DVD.
If fans might wish to investigate the earlier stop-gap – 2009′s ‘Through The Looking Glass’ - this live album also includes four tracks from ‘Wishbone Ash 4′ and the likes of ‘Vas Dis’ and ‘Phoenix’ which don’t appear on the Live Dates collection. ****
Martin Turner broke his new album silence last year with the excellent ‘Written In The Stars’ and if – like the original Routemaster bus – his studio outings remain something of a rarity, the steady stream of live releases to some extent compensates and the careful choice of material minimises duplication. Although, understandably, ‘Argus’ will always remain his defining work and – in the nicest sense – his albatross.
Review by David Randall
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