Changing Tracks, can be heard on season 11, episode 10 of Supernatural.
A new millennium and the band is still going strong. Andy, Ben, Bob and Ray release a "brother of" New England album. Actually, this album stands on its own feet, but I wanted to help the readers of these comments to place the album somewhere in the ever changing world of Wishbone Ash albums.
The songs vary from medieval tunes via Afghanistan and Jamaica to South of USA with spices from the Classic Rock era of UK.
My firm belief is that this album is teamwork: Both guitarists have credits for the compositions, but all band members seem to add to the arrangements. Bob Skeat is especially prominent with his tasty keyboard additions and melodic bass. Time for a Bob Skeat composition on the next album?
Before continuing with the track by track comments I have to say that I had a lot of problems trying not to write a too enthusiastic review. I suspected that my comments would be less believable if Iím raving about the album and a Finn is member of the band.
After almost four months of "cooling down", I donít care: Itís a bloody good album!
A knock out start! A driving boogie with a couple of great guitar breaks. Could be used as a powerful opener just a Runaway was used in the mid 90's.
Rayís drumming (his use of cymbals, to be exact) is tasty during the middle part.
One of my friends at work said after listening to the track that itís not a standard 12 bar blues. "Nothing is Ďstandardí when it comes to Wishbone Ash", I replied.
My absolute favourite no matter how much time goes on. Bobís bassline is really heartwarming and Andyís lyrics and singing are perfect. Ben's jingling guitar fits the song like a glove and Andy's "rhythm guitar" is just as imaginative as always.
The dual lead part is a great build up for Benís short (8 bar) solo.
A strange combination: the song is based on Ben's unfinished song from his E.G.O. solo album sessions. The title of the song is the original one, but Andy's written an "autobiographical" story around it. Yet another proof on how co-working brings out the best in songs (should it be called "The Lennon-McCartney effect"...). Bob Skeatís Hammond organ part was a pleasant surprise compared to the early live versions.
My interpretation of the song title is that itís Benís "hommage" to the town I work in (Pietarsaari). Hereís how the townís "trade mark" Christmas lights look like:
Practically every house in Pietarsaari has them in their windows during Christmas time.
So now one former member of Wishbone Ash has visited Kokkola, my hometown, (Andy Pyle together with Ken Hensley in March 2002) and the band has written a song related to Kokkolaís "sister town" Pietarsaari. I sincerely hope that some day the band will play in either Kokkola or Pietarsaari...
Seriously, I donít know how much Ben was thinking about Pietarsaari while composing and giving the song the title, but I like to play around with this thought.
A real goodie! Nice commentary on how this world keeps getting smaller but the human beings still canít understand each other. Iíve seen some comments on how the Arabic style riff "wonít last" but I like it. The repeating riff is "Haunting Me" no matter what I do.
The lyrics seem to be the albumís first hint to USA/Afghanistan relations although sometimes I think that most of the songs relate to "this Strange Affair".
Moving directly to Southern USA after the quick stint to Afghanistan. The lyrics are full of hints to US locations and musicians that have made their mark in music history. ZZ Top is not mentioned in the lyrics but the song surely does nod to that direction.
Illuminations had "Comfort Zone", Bona Fide has Shoulda Woulda Coulda. Musically the songs are far from each other, but lyrically they are very close. Shoulda Woulda Coulda is a reggae style song that invites to a lot of jamming in live environment. The lyrics tell a story of taking risks when needed and avoiding the "Comfort Zone".
Nice low vocals at the end. The low vocals that appear here and there on this album are IMHO something new for Wishbone Ash. Sounds good to me.
Bob's bass and Ray drums drives the song onwards while the two guitarists work together playing a very nice instrumental tune. For the ones that know the old stuff but haven't heard this one, I'd say, this is close to "Outward Bound".
The only song with Benís lead vocals (and some of his friends singing backup vocals). The chorus is very catchy and stays in one's mind even after the song ends. If this song had been the last track, it would have stayed in my mind just as "Diamond Jack" on Front Page News.
Again, when thinking of the USA/Afghanistan relationship, this song tells how there's a slight "phase shift" between the two countries.
The ultimate USA/Afghanistan relationship song. The medieval start makes me think how close both parties still are to the medieval "dark ages" we think is history. People still seem to think that killing the other party and retribution are justified in the name of Allah/God or whatever you want to call it.
Very Pink Floydish middle section including excerpts from news broadcasts etc. Bobís piano is great just as his "heavy" bass riffs during the "wild passage".
At the end the song returns to the medieval theme and the lyrics "preach revenge". Seems like we never learn...
An optimistic title for a beautiful instrumental finale. Hope the title will be true some day.
Written by: Rainer Frilund - Last update: Mar, 2016