Dirt Jake Replicas
- Anyone heard these guys before?They are a 5 piece band based in Portland, Oregon but I just finished seeing them 3 nights out of 4 whilst on their UK tour (Which they booked and organized all by themselves) - absolutely phenomenal stuff. The intensity of their music and performance completely blew me away. Difficult to say who they sound like too because they don't really sounds like anyone in particular. Maybe a little bit of Tool, a slight touch of TMV but they don't really sound like either. They've got this great male/female vocal thing going on and the voices both intertwine with each other to great effect.The songs stretch out past the 10 minute mark on several occasions- this is not music to listen to when you want something as a background, it demands your attention - it's like becoming totally engrossed in a great book or a movie- once it grabs you, you don't want it to end!!Amazingly, they were giving all their merchandise away for free at all of their shows- including both their full length debut CD and the recently released EP plus T shirts stickers badges posters.We sat talking for ages after last nights gig - great band, nice people, not an ego in site!They are looking to get out all over the U.S. over the course of this year- either as a support or playing their own shows-if you see them coming to a town near you, make the effort, go and see them!! They are also planning a return to Europe around this time next yearTheir website has 4 full songs to downloadand there are links to buy their stuff from there too. Alternately there are shorter clips on their myspace pageCheersAndy
- 871. THE WHO – ENDLESS WIRE – 2007After a 25 year hiatus the Who finally came back with a new studio album. The band were now down to two members after the death of bassist John Entwistle in 2002. Having seen this version of the band shortly after Entwistle’s death I was still very much enthused that Townshend and Daltry could pull off another great album. “Endless Wire” was one of my most anticipated albums to come out that year, but unfortunately the results were quite a bit less than my expectations. I have given this album dozens of listens hoping that it would grow on me more, but it just never has. I don’t think that it is terrible, but it is by far the weakest Who album in my collection. Much of this album is mellow and acoustic in nature which in itself is not a bad thing, but there just seems to be some fire missing in the instrumental work here. Vocally both Daltry and Townshend are not what they used to be, which again could be overlooked if the material was better. The mini-opera “Wire And Glass” is….well it just is not very good when compared to the other operas (both mini and maxi) that Townshend has done over the years. Probably the best song on the disc is Townshend’s “A Man In A Purple Dress”, but even it would not stand up against the Who’s top older material. Being a fan of John Entwistle for me his quirky songwriting that usually contributed a couple of tunes is sorely missed. I have really really tried to like this album and it just refuses to click with me and was a huge disappointment to my ears.0A872. WISHBONE ASH – WISHBONE ASH – 1970I had never heard a Wishbone Ash album prior to their booking at ProgDay several years ago. I had always been curious about them, but had never checked them out. Since I was going to see the band at ProgDay I decided to look into their music and have since become a huge fan. This was their ver y first album from 1970 and it is probably second in quality to their classic “Argus” album that would come a few years later. Wishbone Ash practically invented the twin harmony lead guitar concept that was later adapted and probably made more famous by bands like Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden. Some of their music would fit right in with today’s jam bands as well. This album sounds very much a product of it’s time in retrospect, but there really is not a weak track on it. My personal favorites are “Errors Of My Ways”, the bluesy guitar workout of “Handy” and one of the band’s all time classics the 11 minute “ Phoenix ”. “ Phoenix ” would foreshadow the material that was to come on the “Argus” album and remains a concert staple to this day. If all you have heard from Wishbone Ash is “Argus” you need to check this one out as well.873. WISHBONE ASH – PILGRIMAGE – 1972“Pilgrimage” happens to be placed in between two of Wishbone Ash’s greatest accomplishments with their first debut album and their 3rd effort the classic “Argus”. Unfortunately it is not as good as either of its book ended discs. “Pilgrimage” seems to be a lot more blues influenced than the two albums mentioned above, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I think this album comes across as=2 0a bit more pedestrian in nature. Wishbone Ash has always been a bit of a conundrum writing long guitar epics like “The Pilgrim” on this album, and rather sophomoric cock rock like “Jailbait” also from this album. Personally I prefer the more epic minded Ash which is why this album gets a rather mixed review from me. There are no classics like “ Phoenix ” to be found here, but there are some good tracks like “Valediction” and the live “Where Were You tomorrow”. “Pilgrimage” is worth owning, but it is not on the same level as either “Argus” or “Wishbone Ash”.874. WISHBONE ASH – ARGUS – 1972“Argus” was and still is Wishbone Ash’s ultimate statement. Part progressive rock, part blues / boogie rock and a bit of fok rock thrown in, this album really put all of the band’s strengths together to form what is in my mind one of the classic guitar albums of the early 70’s. The band actually had a hit single from this one with what is in my opinion the weakest track “Blowin Free”. Even though it is my least favorite it is still a good song. The move towards more progressive material with “Warrior” and “Throw Down The Sword” was a great one and both tracks provide some of the best twin harmony guitar jams of the 70’s. Tracks like “Time Was” and “Leaf And Stream” r etain a folk consciousness and “The King Will” come remains a cool mini-epic song. If you have never explored Wishbone Ash this is the album to start with. Some of their other discs are very good, but this is the band at their high water mark.875. WISHBONE ASH – WISHBONE FOUR – 1973After the band’s brilliant 3rd album Argus” it was going to be difficult to put something out at the same level. So instead of trying to capitalize on Argus they put out an album that was quite different. With “Wishbone Four” the band changed direction quite drastically with shorter songs and moving away from the progressive rock leanings of the albums predecessor. There are several songs on this disc that remind me of early Blue Oyster Cult. Unfortunately although similar in style the Wishbone Ash tracks are not quite as good. There are a few of the band’s trademark guitar workouts here in songs like “Ballad Of The Beacon” and “Everybody Needs A Friend”, but there is also a lot of fairly mediocre 70’s boogie rock as well. In my mind Wishbone Ash would never again scale the heights of “Argus” or the band’s debut disc, and “Wishbone Four” seems to be the beginning of a bit of a slide in quality from here forward. The album would also be the last of the original lineup.876. WISHBONE ASH – NEW ENGLAND – 1976“ New England ” was Wishbone Ash’s 7th album in less than 6 years. By this time original member, guitarist Martin Turner had left the band to be replaced by Laurie Wisefeld. The Wisefeld / Powell version of the band would produce a slew of albums of varying quality, but none of them would achieve the level of “Argus” or the band’s debut. “ New England ” is a decent enough album. It never blows me away when I pull it out, but I like it alright for the most part. Most of the band’s prog tendencies are gone, and they rely a bit too much on boogie rock, but most of the songs are at least decent. There are plenty of patented Wishbone twin harmony guitars to be found although no extended jams. Overall this is a good album, but probably not essential ash.877. WISHBONE ASH – FRONT PAGE NEWS – 1977Like a lot of Wishbone Ash’s albums from this era I find a mix of pretty good songs and a few real clunkers. In many ways the band often seemed to be in search of a direction and “Front Page News” is a prime example of this. The music is all over the place with ballads, bluesy numbers, rockers, singer / songwriter type stuff and even some 70’s style dance groves. Some of the better tracks include the title track, “Surface To Air”, “714”, “Come In From The Rain” and the catchy “Diamond Jack”. There are also some real duds like “Heart Beat”. It just seems like a strange mix to me, and I find this with several of their albums. Like “ New England ” and “Four” there is quite a bit to like here, but I would not say it is an essential album.878. WISHBONE ASH – NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE – 1978.Now this is more like it. “Smoke” is in my opinion one of the most underrated Ash albums. After putting out some really inconsistent material through much of the mid 70’s the band came back artistically in a big way for this album. I don’t own all of the Laurie Wisefield era releases, but of the ones I have, I like this one by far the best. There is no filler to be found here as the band courts a more generally rocking sound with the Twin Guitars in the spotlight much of the time. Ash even goes back to doing epics with the album’s two part finale “The Way Of The World”, and the 7 minute plus “Stand And Deliver”. These two tracks will remind fans of just why they got into this band in the first place. The shorter songs are mostly strong too with “You See Red”, “Baby The Angels Are Here”, the science fiction rocker “Ships In The Sky”, “Anger And Harmony”, and “Like A Child” all solid tunes. From a sales perspective Wishbone Ash had fallen way off from where they were early in the decade and had practically disappeared in America , which is too bad, because this album should have been a big comeback for them. Of the Ash albums I own I rank this one only behind the band’s debut and “Argus” for quality. If you are an Ash fan and don’t own this one, I would say it is an essential purchase.879. WISHBONE ASH – LIVE DATES III – 2001Wishbone Ash is one of those bands that thrive in a live environment and this album shows that they have not lost a beat over the years. The 2001 version of the band featured original member Andy Powell, longtime bassist Bob Skeat, guitar phenom Mark Birch and drummer Ray Weston. This is the 3rd in the “Live Dates” series with the first being released back in the 70’s. The set list is great, spanning the band’s whole c areer, and there are plenty of guitar jams which is the trademark of Ash. The album closes with a 13 plus minute version of the classic “ Phoenix ” which harkens back to the band’s very first album back in 1972. When if first discovered Wishbone Ash a few years ago this was the album I started with and it hooked me on with the first listen.880. WISHBONE ASH – BONA FIDE – 2002Wishbone Ash celebrated their 30th anniversary with the release of this new studio album in 2002. It is not a classic Ash album, but has some nice material that makes it worth picking up. Guitarist Ben Granfelt is on board for this one as Andy Powell’s co-songwriter and guitar duelist. The material is a nice mix of more blues rock, folk rock and a little progressive rock just like the band’s classic stuff. Highlights include the powerful opener “Almighty Blues”, the instrumental title track “Bona Fide”, “Come Rain Come Shine” which is the band’s take on September 11, and final cut “Peace” which kind of sums it all up. “Bona Fide” proves that Andy Powell’s vision of Wishbone Ash is still alive and well 30 years later, as this is a very nice album.