0 7 mins 1 mth

Martin Turner returned to the Robin 2 to play the Live Dates Volume II album in its entirety plus some additional favourites. This was a very early start for a Sunday gig, with doors opening at 4pm and before Martin and the band take to the stage there is a short set from Birmingham ensemble Small Changes. This is a slightly unusual local trio playing their versions of well-known pop, rock and folk songs along with some of their own creations. I say unusual because their weapons of choice are acoustic guitar, violin and cello. Did it work – let’s see shall we!

The trio comprises Mark Winters (guitar), Alison Bann (cello, tambourine and guiro [go look it up]) and Ursula Colville (violin) which provided an interesting take on some of the song choices.

The short set was made up of two original songs, including a bit of Americana as the opener in Rattlesnake Oil, taken from the band’s EP ‘This is us’ released in 2018. A selection of well-known rock anthems followed, including Melinda More or Less (Curved Air), All the Young Dudes (Mott the Hoople), the Man Who Sold the World (David Bowie) and more, finishing with a lengthy rendition of Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd. A nice touch was the inclusion of a tribute to the late Steve Harley of Cockney Rebel, who left us a little earlier this year.

Musically this was very good, even quite singular. Vocals were also pretty good . . . mostly; not absolutely perfect, but pretty good nonetheless and the set, as a whole, was most enjoyable. I’ll look forward to seeing them again.


Rattlesnake Oil (original song)

Melinda (More or Less) [Curved Air cover]

All the Young Dudes [Mott the Hoople cover]

Monkey Blues (original song) [with a Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin thrown in at the end]

The Man who Sold the World [David Bowie cover]

Come up and See me Sometime [Steve Harley cover]

Comfortable Numb [Pink Floyd cover]

‘Live Dates Volume II’ was released in 1980, seven years after the original ‘Live Dates’ came out. This album was to be the last one that Martin Turner had any connection with in his first chapter with Wishbone Ash with the album being released shortly before his departure from the band.

The album comprised 12 tracks, all of which were played tonight but before ‘Live Dates Volume II’ commenced the band kicked off with a very early song, Blind Eye, the first song from the first album, released in 1970.

With new-ish drummer Sonny Flint firmly ensconced in the band they continued with seven songs from the ‘Live Dates Volume II’ album, starting with Doctor. As has become the new norm the twin guitars of Danny Willson and Misha Nikolic lead the way with a steady back-beat being supplied by the bass of Martin Turner and Sonny’s drums. I did notice that MT seemed to be playing yet another new Gibson Thunderbird bass following on from his resurrected, but trusty, white Thunderbird (acquired from Pete Overend Watts of Mott the Hoople fame) and the more recent coral red Thunderbird I’d seen him use at previous shows.

As usual, the high quality music was interspersed with stories about Martin’s time with Wishbone Ash, most of which I’d heard several times before but that doesn’t make them any less interesting or fun to hear.

Doctor was followed by Helpless and then F.U.B.B. before we were presented with Persephone, which MT explained was NOT pronounced phonetically, and then Lorelei. MT’s stories about the band meeting various females from around the world (but seemingly they never met any blokes) were regaled once more as they ran towards the half way line with Runaway and Way of the World.

Time for a well-deserved break and, in MT’s case a partial change of outfit and it was at this point I asked myself whether MT and Small Changes’ Ursula Colville went to the same supplier of trousers!

With ‘Argus’ being one of my favourite all time albums I was getting withdrawal symptoms from not hearing anything from that one but all was put right as the band opened the second half of the show with Time Was, panic averted.

The remaining four songs from Volume II were interspersed with songs from other albums and these included Rock and Roll Widow from ‘Wishbone 4’, Blowin’ Free, another from ‘Argus’, Lady Jay from ‘There’s the Rub’ and finishing the show with Jail Bait, from ‘Pilgrimage’.

One of MT’s stories involved a Swedish girl that he’d fallen for and he related the story, again, to the point where he said he asked if he could kiss her. Normally, MT himself would answer this in a high pitched voice but this time it was Misha, not generally recognised for his comedic skills, that piped in in a deep baritone voice, “You Can Try if You’d like”, at which point the audience dissolved into a puddle of laughter. MT was quick to say that that was NOT what she sounded like!

So, the entire ‘Live Dates Volume II’ got played along with five spare tunes over a 2 hour two-part set but it was still early-closing at the Robin 2. A quick chat with the band at the end and I was on my way reflecting on the great tunes that had been played and the on-stage antics of Martin Turner and Danny Willson. Super stuff!


Blind Eye







Way of the World

Time Was

Goodbye Baby, Hello Friend

Rock and Roll Widow

You Rescue Me

Lady Jay

No Easy Road

Blowin’ Free

Living Proof

Jail Bait

Til next time . . .

Words & images: Reg Richardson