Wishbone Ash “Living Proof” Box Set Review: Madfish Records
Wishbone Ash, a band synonymous with dual-guitar harmonies and progressive rock, released this limited edition 10LP box set titled “Living Proof (Live Recordings 1976 – 1980) quite recently and I have just managed to get hold of a copy.” This set, limited to just 1,000 copies, is stunning and features the second classic lineup of Andy Powell, Martin Turner, Laurie Wisefield, and Steve Upton.
“Living Proof” is not just another live compilation. It includes four concert recordings available on vinyl for the first time and a newly sourced, previously unreleased recording from the band’s October 1976 shows in Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo.
The box set’s design is minimalistic yet expertly done, with a slip case housing the vinyl albums. Each album, numbered 1 to 5, features live photographs on one side and lyrics on the back. The vinyl itself is pristine, housed in non-polyline sleeves but free from any paper dust, ensuring a clean listening experience.
A highlight of the set is the lavish booklet, which includes in-depth album notes and track-by-track ‘making of’ interviews by author and Wishbone expert Campbell Devine. The booklet is filled with rare live photographs, a replica ‘Wishbone News’ newspaper from the Front Page News tour, and an individually numbered certificate, adding to the set’s exclusivity.
The set holds a personal connection, especially with the inclusion of the Tokyo album, which is exclusive to this set. My personal favorite Wishbone Ash album is “New England,” as this was my main entry point into the band’s music. Having tow live concerts from this tour included in this set makes it essential for me!
The live recordings in “Living Proof” are not just mere reproductions of studio tracks. They capture the band’s energy and improvisational skills, with extended guitar solos and dynamic performances. The set includes performances from various tours, each with its unique flavor and setlist, showcasing the band’s versatility.
With only 1,000 copies available worldwide, “Living Proof” is an essential part of the Wishbone Ash story. Priced at £175, it offers value for money, considering the quality of the pressings, the extensive booklet, and the exclusive content. The set is a testament to Madfish Records’ commitment to quality and attention to detail.
Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine