Sadly, the original tapes of Wishbone Four, the fourth studio set by Wishbone Ash, have been lost (or so I’ve been told). With a murky production, the album could have been better presented. Nevertheless, when Wishbone Four was released in 1973 and since then, it has seen more than a fair share of maligning reviews that have sought to demean the set. But if you were to ask me and other fans f the band, you’d be surprised to discover that Wishbone Four has its plane of supporting fans, of which I’m proudly one.
Having to follow in the footsteps of the defining Argus album, the band opted to go into another direction. In that forward step, they intended to create a series of Rock songs that could stand on their own. The hope was that those songs could identify the band in a stronger Rock manner rather than immerse them into the realm of Prog, which Argus had done. And that’s not belittling Argus, which is a great album on its own. But so is Wishbone Four.
Recently, Culture Factory has reissued several Wishbone Ash classics in their usual style. All reissues are mini-LP fashioned with CDs that replicate the vinyl appearance of an LP (with faux grooves, original label appearance, and black coating). The allure is the remastering at “High Definition – 96KHz/24-bit”. And although I’m told that the Wishbone Four tapes are lost, the attempt to revitalize the sound of the original album is an admirable one. If the label succeeded in a superior sound is largely up to the listener with whatever level of equipment it’s played back on. For me, the sound is acceptable and produces an easily enjoyable experience.
The Culture Factory edition of Wishbone Four is a delightful visual experience with its LP appearance, all the way done to the sleeve art, with lyrics provided and the poster art on one side. The music experience puts me in a good mood.
Their reissue of Argus is also a fun experience. The 2CD set really increases the experience with the add of a second CD that supplies eight live BBC Sessions tracks from 1972. Those tracks include: “Time Was”, “Blowin’ Free”, “Warrior”, “Throw Down The Sword”, “The King Will Come”, “Phoenix”, and two BBC repeats of “Blowin’ Free”, and “Throw Down The Sword”. This set replicates the Universal Deluxe Edition. If you don’t have that, then this is a good pick-up.