Martin Turner - Written in the Stars

Martin Turner Written in the Stars cover
Martin Turner
Written in the Stars
Dirty Dog Discs
Martin Turner is a founding member of Wishbone Ash and was the lead vocalist and bassist to the band, which started out in the late 60s and went on to have considerable success in the 70s with albums like “Argus”, “Pilgrimage”, “There’s the Rub” and “New England”. After leaving the band he at some point rejoined them, twice, but since the band seemed to have difficulty to hold a line-up together for too long, he exited again sometime in the mid-90s, after which he released a solo album. He then turned into producing and about a decade later took a new version dubbed “Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash” touring around the UK and Europe. That caused a court case between him and Andy Powell, the band’s guitarist and also vocalist, came out in favor of the latter and Turner in the meantime released some live albums and a re-imagining of “Argus”, one of Ash’s most successful and iconic albums.
After several years in the wilderness he returns to the studio this year with a long overdue, new set of songs. While none of the Ash, personnel possessed a great singing voice, they could sing without feeling guilty about it afterwards and possibly Powell is the better of the two, singing wise, not that this matters greatly. Using his touring band as a vehicle for his composition, which consists of Danny Willson (guitar/vocals), Misha Nikolic (guitar/vocals) and Tim Brown (drums/vocals) Turner delivers a guitar based rock album that is instantly identifiable and relate-able to Wishbone’s Ash's classic era. Quite melodic and flexing its better qualities to the utmost extend, it tries to make up for all the wasted time, spent in the “wilderness”…
“The Big Bang (Overture)” as well as “The Beauty of Chaos” with only some choral vocals, serve as a re-introduction to the cosmos, of Martin Turner… the title track explores a nice phat riff and some nice harmonies, sounding like an insta-classic.
“Lover’s”, too which has a more withered vocal, is still very enjoyable, while “Vapor Trails” whilst based on a nice melody, seems to be a little too repetitive with the soloing saving the day, in a big way.
“The Lonely Star” is a loose, spacey instrumental jam, while “For My Lady” is quite simple and poppy, almost poignant, but suffers from the vocal being so-so…
“Pretty Little Girls” is very 60s, and somewhat better vocally.
“Falling Sands” could have been pretty good, but the whiny vocal tone, drags it down…
“Mystify Me” is probably the most up-tempo and rocking track on offer and it seems that on such tracks, Turner’s vocals sound a bit better.
Last but not least, there’s “Interstellar Rockstar”, an endoscopic track that sounds nice but again, doesn’t seal the deal because of the weak sounding vocals.
Turner’s voice is not what it used to be and it shows to a certain degree, but he can still pen a good tune, or two or three or more. It’s good to have him back in action even if he’s not part of the Ash anymore…