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Creative force behind legendary Wishbone Ash album Argus brings live acoustic set to Hornchurch stage

PUBLISHED: 10:03 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 31 May 2017

Martin Turner play hit tunes from the 1970s and his most recent album Written in the Stars. Picture: Manny Manson

Martin Turner play hit tunes from the 1970s and his most recent album Written in the Stars. Picture: Manny Manson

Manny Manson/MannyTography

It’s been 45 years since Argus, Wishbone Ash’s third and most popular album, was released and fans of melodic rock music will have the opportunity to hear it live on Saturday, June 3.

Martin Turner, 69, founder of the legendary band is bringing his 33-date The Beauty of Chaos tour to Fairkytes Live, Billet Lane, Hornchurch.

But as a special treat to fans in Havering, the show will be unplugged.

“We will play mostly Wishbone music from the 1970s, the whole of the Argus album,” said Martin.

“Please come along. It’s an acoustic show, acoustic guitars rather than full-on electric.

“It’s stripped back and intimate.”

A vocalist and bassist, Martin was the main composer, lyricist and creative force behind the critically acclaimed album, which remains one of the most enduring works of the classic rock era.

“I was into The Who and did gigs with Led Zeppelin,” continued Martin.

“We [Wishbone Ash] supported The Who when they came to Torquay Town Hall and Led Zeppelin in the civic hall in 1967 or 1968 – they were great.”

Martin helped form the band in 1969 and says he was inspired by the folk music scene that grew in the 1960s. He notes acts such as Pentangle, John Renbourne and Fairport Convention as inspirations.

Rather than produce hit singles, Wishbone Ash made hit albums with Argus containing classics Warrior, Phoenix and Throw Down the Sword.

But like other legendary acts, following its most popular music the band came under pressure to produce more commercially successful work.

This created division and band members decided to go in a different direction from Martin, who wanted to remain true to their roots.

“The band left me. I had steam coming out of my ears.

“It was a really difficult decision. The band shot itself in the foot. They were frustrated over a lack of commercial success but we weren’t that kind of band. We made albums, and good ones at that.”

In the 1990s Martin came off the road to raise a family and concentrated on recording music with different people.

“I recorded with Paul Young’s backing vocalists the Fabulous Wealthy Tarts, [singer-songwriter] Judy Tzuke, and [Jamaican-British dub poet] Linton Kwesi Johnson.”

In 2005, Martin returned to the road with his own band and a version of Wishbone Ash.

“We were playing a lot of music from the 1970s and then we did some recordings of our own.

“We put out an album in 2015 that was all new material and people liked it. It’s called Written in the Stars.

“In a cosmic sense the whole future of our planet, I think, is literally written in the stars.

“I’m into astronomy. When you look through a telescope at deep space, an event like a supernova explosion from 100,000 light years away looks beautiful but if you were there it would be like hell.

“That’s what I mean by the beauty of chaos [tour title], it’s a construction but it has meaning.”

Tickets for the concert cost £17.60.

“My band – Danny, Tim and Misha – and I are looking forward to the upcoming tour,” he continues.

“This time around we will also be including a full performance of Argus.

“I’m constantly being made aware how this album still resonates with people and holds a special place in their hearts, some 45 years after its release.

“This, I believe, is due to the strong melodic content of the music and the universal themes – everyone can relate to the lyrical references to time, space, war, etc.

“The album marked a creative peak for the original band, with inspired contributions from all.

“In 2017 I feel my band has a great empathy for the music and the ability to reproduce the album faithfully onstage in a way that is fresh and exciting.”

For more Fairkytes Live information email lucy.shadwell@havering.gov.uk or click here to buy tickets.

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