- Audio CD (March 5, 2002)
- Rmst Exp ed. edition
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: Extra tracks, Original recording remastered
- Label: Geffen
- Run Time: 77 minutes
- ASIN: B000062X90
- Average Customer Review: 180 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,728 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Argus Expanded Edition
Rmst Exp ed.
Audio CD | Extra Tracks, Remastered
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Argus (Deluxe Edition)
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording remastered, March 5, 2002
Vinyl, Original recording, Original recording reissued, January 1, 1972
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This LP only reached #169 on the charts but is now renowned as a prog-rock classic. This 30th-anniversary reissue is remixed, remastered and expanded with the debut release of the entire promotional EP Live in Memphis , recorded during the Argus tour!
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The cover was designed by Hipgnosis who designed the Dark Side of the Moon cover for Pink Floyd. It depicts a medieval warrior and a UFO. The Argus sleeve prompted Jimmy Page to invite Hipgnosis to create artwork for Led Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy (1973),
Argus is a typical early 1970s rock album. It has a medieval theme and lyrics. The music was composed by the entire band and is a combination of rock and folk. The twin lead electric guitars of Andy Powell and Ted Turner became highly influential. The guitarists were only 21 when the album was recorded. Martin Turner (no relation) was the main lyricist and singer. He also played bass. Steve Upton was an excellent drummer.
Powell still keeps the band going and is the only original member. Martin Turner has his own version of the band. Upton now lives in the south of France. Ted Turner is now living in the UK,
I loved Argus in the 1970s, but unfortunately it has not aged as well as some other albums from that era.
I'm very curious why Mark Powell, who did such a fine job compiling and producing other reissues (Camel, Nektar, Man), would allow such a frustrating compilation to grace the Wishbone Ash market. This 2CD set sounds wonderful, thanks to Paschal Byrne, who performed similar duties for the first two of the just-mentioned reissues. It was remastered from the original mix and the original master tapes. Powell's liner notes continue to be excellent. But, unlike in the other reissues, the proofreading is bad--a first sign of something out of focus, something missed.
Proofreading? Who cares? Well, sometimes bad proofreading suggests other problems (cf. Budgie). In this case, random punctuation seems connected to questionable compiling judgments.
The "Argus Deluxe Edition" comprises "Argus," "Live in Memphis" (minus one track, 'Jailbait'), a stereo version of the previously released "BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert" (minus two tracks, 'Jailbait' and 'The Pilgrim'), the B-side of a single ('No Easy Road' from 9/72), and two mono tracks previously released on "Wishbone Ash Live at the BBC" ('Blowin' Free' from the BBC Radio 1 Bob Harris show 5/31/1972 and 'Throw Down the Sword' from the Pete Drummond show 5/10/1972).
The expanded edition of "Argus" was nearly perfect. Remixed by an original and highly important band member (Martin Turner), remastered by a pro (Erick Labson)--all of which supervised by an expert in the reissue business (Andy McKaie) and someone well-versed in Wishbone Ash (Leon Tsilis)--its only flaw was its somewhat hagiographic liner notes by Tsilis.
This deluxe edition, however, makes little sense. The B-side, 'No Easy Road,' for example, was recorded in between "Argus" and "Wishbone Four" and has a lot more in common with the latter. It actually appears on "Wishbone Four" but with a brass section; otherwise, the single and the album version are the same. Why include it on "Argus," especially when a remastered version of "Wishbone Four" is sorely needed? (In my experience, "Wishbone Four" shares the title of Worst Major Label CD Issue with Bruce Springsteen's "Darkness on the Edge of Town.")
And that's perhaps the best news. An incomplete "Live in Memphis"? "BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert" is in stereo, to be sure, but what about the missing tracks?
Powell could have made the "Live in Memphis" addition complete by adding 'Jailbait' to Disc One and either eliminating the unnecessary 'No Easy Road' or putting it on the second disc. Disc One would then have repeated the track listing of McKaie and Tsilis's edition, but so what--why mess with perfection?
Powell could have included the two missing tracks ('Jailbait,' 'The Pilgrim') from the original "BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert" CD on the second disc, ignored the other two BBC tracks, and added 'No Easy Road' at the end of the second disc to indicate the new direction Ash was taking.
Or, for the second disc, Powell could have avoided previously issued material altogether and focused solely on something unissued, such as a live concert.
Instead he decided to cut songs that were originally on "Pilgrimage" ('Jailbait,' 'The Pilgrim') because, I think, of CD time constraints and because he might be using them on a possibly forthcoming deluxe edition of "Pilgrimage." Yet, if so, the second rationale seems strange to me because it ignores context and concert-set-list thinking. I'd rather have a live performance presented "as is" instead of cut and parceled out according to the original studio album sources. I'd rather recognize history and the musicians' decision making than a shoehorned, Procrustean fit.
Collectors will have to ask themselves if an original mix remastering, the B-side 'No Easy Road,' and a stereo version of a truncated "BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert" are worth the price of this new edition. Non-collectors would do best, I think, to stick to the previously released CDs.
I just hope that problematic sales of "Argus Deluxe Edition" aren't in a position to compromise the remastering and reissuing of other Wishbone Ash albums, such as "There's the Rub" and "Pilgrimage" as well as "Wishbone Four"--not to mention "Live Dates Volume Two."