None at the moment.
The long awaited Bare Bones project is finally reality. When Neil Young released his Unplugged album, some Finnish critic said that it's no surprise. Neil Young's been "unplugging" all his life. This description applies to Wishbone Ash too.
I'm really pleased with this CD. The only "complaints" that I have are:
A perfect starter because of the upbeat tempo and the positive vibes. Andy's mandolin playing suits the song like nothing else. The new ending is also suited for this acoustic version. Seems like everything clicked when this song was stripped to its bones.
An obvious single in my opinion.
Two instruments replace Ted Turner's electric guitar solos in the original version: accordion and violin. The solos need to be played with an instrument capable of "holding the note" (I believe it's called sustain) and I think the choices made were good ones.
The vocals of Andy and Mark are perfect, which makes this an enjoyable remake.
A song that had acoustic guitar in it when it was originally released (Just Testing in 1980). This version is obviously even "barer" than the original version with some sprinkles of organ and violin.
Another interesting thing is hearing Andy sing his own composition. Mart sang the vocals on Just Testing ...but please don't ask me to say which one is better. Both arrangements and vocalists have their good sides and I don't want to "sort" them in any way.
Sorry Mike Bennett! I had a prejudice of people who make music using computers: They can't compose themselves, so they "steal" bits and pieces from existing songs. Like some people who cut headings and pictures from magazines and glue them on a large sheet of paper. They try to "compose something new" by associating things from different sources. In some cases you get good results, but mostly the paper just contains bits of paper glued together. There are no original ideas based on the clippings, just mishmash.
Mike Bennett puts me in shame. He composed You Won't Take Me Down and what a song it is! The atmosphere of the song is a strange combination of sadness and positive feelings and I really like it. Mark's singing fits like a glove to the song. And the guitars: once again they excel themselves. This is one of my favourites on this CD.
A 1993 live version of this song is on Archives III (see Unique Material Section). I prefer this version because it's more laid back. The additional spices created by Claire Hamill (backing vocals) and Giles Hedley (harmonica and "heavy breathing") are really nice.
The only "borrowed" song (in my opinion, Mike Bennett is part of the Wishbone Ash team). Nice harmony vocals and a catchy tune, so this one is another obvious single.
An all new songs that promises good for the future. I really like the positive feeling of this song. Maybe Andy and Pauline should start a marriage counselling company. This song certainly proves that the foundation of their marriage is on solid ground.
If it weren't for the lyrics and the title of this song I'd say this is an all-new song. A remarkable change for a song that's well known. I thought Eric Clapton's Layla was the song that had the biggest deviation between the electrical and the acoustic version. Well, Wishbone Ash outdid Eric...
A bluesy version, somewhat similar to the one heard on Archives III. Good backing vocals by Mark and Bob. Yet another version of the funny finale this song is known for.
Although this has nothing to do with the song itself (except for me, of course), I have to tell this story too: The first notes of this CD were written during a bus tour to Helsinki. The personnel of the company I work for were on their way to see the Finnish version of "Les Miserables". To travel from the west coast of Finland to Helsinki takes about six hours, so the bus started early. The weather was just above the freezing point (typical Finnish weather in November).
When we reached the inland (we'd travelled just as long as it takes to get to "Hard Times" when you start listening to Bare Bones at the beginning of the journey), the temperature was a little below the freezing point. The road was covered with a thin layer of ice that's almost invisible. In Finland we call it "black ice". The bus driver slowed down and in a few minutes we could see that a small car had collided with a traffic sign and a lorry had skidded from the road.
The driver of our bus had anticipated the problems and slowed down in time, or that's what we thought. A car in front of our bus reacted on what he saw by stepping on the brake pedal. A small car slows down quickly, but the same thing for a bus takes a lot longer. All passengers saw how the small car kept coming closer although the bus driver stepped on the brake as hard as he could. The bus advanced partly sideways and we thought that we'd end up ramming the small car or skid from the road just as the lorry had done.
The bus driver was skilled (and lucky) enough to manage to keep the bus on the road and to avoid ramming the small car. A sigh of relief could be heard inside the bus but we never came to know whether the driver of the small car even noticed what was happening behind his/her car. Did he/she have a rear view mirror or if there was, did he/she happened to look at it? No reactions as far as we could see.
During a coffee break, the bus driver said that we came very close to the small car. Although he sits in the front of the bus, even he couldn't see the rear part of the car just as he managed to slow down the bus. It was a question of inches/feet more than yards...
When I hear the Bare Bones version of Hard Times, I still see the small car getting closer and closer...
Another bluesy song with a cosy countdown in the beginning. The slide guitar part of the original song is played with a dobro in this version. Not bad, but the dobro part could have been longer.
The grand finale with electric guitar solos. Andy makes it clear that he's a fantastic soloist. Mark takes over lead vocals and he really makes this song his own.
I'm truly satisfied with this new album. I feel like all the band members were motivated to make a great album and that atmosphere can be heard on the CD.
The best thing is that the all-new songs were my favourites. This is a good promise for the future. Thirty years and still going strong!
Written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Feb, 2000