Strange Affair - Comments

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Strange Affair - Personal View

Wishbone Ash without Steve Upton! That was a tough lump to swallow. Now the only ever present member of Wishbone Ash is Andy "the Trustworthy" Powell. Two drummers (and a drum machine!) were used during the making of this album: Robbie Francis and Ray Weston. The latter did most of the songs and did stay as an official member after the recording sessions.

This album has a strange feeling of being incoherent: some good songs and some very good ones. The overall feeling is that this is more a collection of individual works and not a collaborated album. The songs just donít sum up to something even greater (as "Argus" does).

Well, thatís just a personal opinion. Maybe itís just that the expectations for a follow-up album after the reunion albums were even higher.

Maybe my opinion is partly illogical as the personal views of the songs written below are positive.

Strange Affair

Starting with a riff that stays in oneís mind for the rest of the day. Well, thereís riffs you hate "occupying" your mind and thereís riffs you enjoy having rolling around in your head... This is one of the latter ones.

Iíve often wondered when Andy Pyle did the collaboration for this song. Was it before the reunion of the original members when Andy Pyle was a member of the group (in 1886-87) or during the time of the recording of this album (1990/-91)? Because in the late 1991 Andy Pyle did rejoin the band.

Wings Of Desire

A very melodic song with a high pitched double lead solo. Should have deserved a wider public than it did. Something of an AOR hit in it as Leon Tsilis wrote on The Wishbone Ash Web Site.

Renegade

Suitable for the collection of Wishbone Ashís "life of a musician" songs (see the comments of "Twin Barrels Burning"). The song has a nice feeling to it. Maybe it's the interaction of Andyís acoustic and Tedís lap steel guitar (so there is collaboration!).

By the way what might be the idea with the "India" in the end?

Dream Train

Hereís a very guitar oriented song. Not a heavy song, but including "millions" of overdubbed guitars jingling, soloing and accompanying each other. Gives you something new every time you listen to it. According to the credits all guitars are played by Andy and Tedís not playing at all!

Some Conversation

A total change of mood. The keyboards are in use and Martin sings the sixth cover song on an official Wishbone Ash album. Not a bad choice as it really suits Martinís voice. The final double lead solo could have lasted (a little) longer.

Say You Will

Maybe the most peaceful song on this album. Tedís solos are short but tasty.

Rollin'

As Steve Upton left Wishbone Ash, a drummerís place was vacant. Well, a drum machine surely canít replace Steveís dynamics! Thatís obvious when you listen to this song. Itís the only song with a drum machine track (in the final mix).

All isnít "spoiled"! Some tasty bluesy solos by Ted. And the lyrics seem to be the Tedís honest opinions.

You

Another song without Ted! At least I canít find his name in the credits. Maybe this is Martinís view of the same thing thatís told in Dr. Hook & the Medicine Showís / Shel Silversteinís "Roland the Roadie and Gerthrude the Groupie". This song concentrates more on Gerthrude...

A really strange affair, or not at all.

Hard Times

Sometimes I feel that a real "ränttätänttä" is the best way of letting the steam off. ("Ränttätänttä" is the Finnish name for a song in shuffle rhythm). When you say it aloud, itís sounds like the rhythm of this kind of songs). Hard times has this "ränttätänttä" feeling to it and the lyrics are something most of the people can relate to. Whoís missed the recession? If you have, then maybe youíre one of the wheelers&dealers who caused it!

Back to the song: hereís one more "wacky finale" to help you start your day with a grin.

Standing In The Rain

A "filled" arrangement with lots of overdubs. And what a sound on the guitars. Maybe Tedís aggressive guitar is telling his true opinion of the "immigration law".

The thing that makes me sad (although the lyrics arenít that happy either) is that Martin "takes a rest" with his bass guitar and uses a programmed bass. Steve cannot be replaced with a drum machine and a programmed bass is as far away from Martinís style as the two farthest solar systems in the universe. Maybe itís a signal of "good-bye" from Martin as he left the band soon after the record was released.

 

Written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Sep, 1998