During the early and mid-'70s, Wishbone Ash were among England's most popular hard rock acts. Formed by West Country musicians Martin Turner and Wrexham-born Steve Upton, they arrived in London in 1969 intent on creating a musical sound based around the band’s innovative harmony-guitar hallmark.

Multi-million selling albums like Pilgrimage, There's The Rub and Argus - considered to be one of the all-time classic rock albums - quickly followed and almost 50 years later Martin is still leading a new Wishbone Ash line up who visit Buckley Tivoli in November where they will perform their 1970 debut album in its entirety.

"When we got to London it was really heavy going," remembers Martin, recalling those early days of the band. "We were starving and stealing food just to stay alive so it was very difficult those first few months. We'd met Miles Copeland who would become our manager and he lent us money to put an ad in Melody Maker for a guitar player - eight quid it cost!

"We auditioned every guitar player around and we weren't happy with any of them so we came up with a Plan B which was to have two lead guitar players who played together in harmony.

"We went back through everyone who auditioned, got two of them to audition again and that became Ted Turner and and Andy Powell and we could see very quickly it was going to work."

Cited ever since as an influence by the likes of Iron Maiden as well as Thin Lizzy and other dual guitar bands, Ted and Andy's playing catapulted Wishbone Ash into the big league and they were soon supporting the likes of The Who, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.

"It was all about melodic content for me," says Martin. "I'd been brought up on classical music and had this ability sing classical melodies which I could pump out all day long. What we did was get one of the guitar players to play a melodic line which they used to moan about because they were difficult to play. The I'd sing a harmony and we'd transpose that onto the other guitar.

"It gave us a really distinct identity - what people nowadays would call a signature sound - that's always half the battle because people can hear you on the radio and within seconds thy go 'I know that band!'"

Released in December, 1970, the band's debut album contained an eclectic mix of progressive rock, hard-rock, blues, jazz and folk influences with the band’s pioneering twin guitar harmonies resplendent throughout. Featuring stage favourites such as Blind Eye, Lady Whiskey and album-closing tour-de-force Phoenix, the album received rave reviews from the music media with legendary broadcaster John Peel proclaiming “I haven't been so impressed with a relatively new band for a long time. Their music is original, exciting and beautifully played."

"Lots of it was written about real events in our life," says Martin. "Lady Whiskey was a little story about our first landlords in London who were a pair of alcoholics who would come home drunk as skunks and end up having fights and rows.

"It was an eye opener for us because we were fresh up from the sticks. I had to leave the place in a hurry because we had an electricity meter which you could move to the side and all the money would pop out. When the landlady came to collect the money she ran out screaming saying she'd been robbed.

"We offered to pay the extra but that night her husband came home and he was smashing the door down at around 1am so I leapt out of bed completely naked and freezing cold. He was like a raging bull I thought we either had to get out and do a runner or I'd have to get a knife and stab him. We packed our bags and got the hell out of there..."

In recent years, the band have become the quintessential road band with most of their vast catalogue intact on CD, an award-winning website and a date sheet the envy of many other bands.

"It's a different millennium isn't it?" laughs Martin. "But it's the same old routine - schlepping around in a tin box all over the world and entertaining the troops.

"It's lovely some of the comments you get from people and there's an immense sense of satisfaction when you are told personally that certain songs have had an impact on their lives. They get quite emotional about it and it's a wonderful thing when your creative efforts have inspired someone or helped them through a bad patch.

"You feel like you've made a difference to people's lives."

Following two roof-raising shows in recent years at the Tivoli Venue, I ask Martin if he's looking forward to heading back to Buckley, but there's a clearly a bit of 'road-fatigue' going on.

"I can't remember it to be honest," he laughs. "Have we played there before? It sounds like a lovely gig but when you see your schedule mapped out for the rest of the year it's a bit scary.

"I just tend to look at what we're doing next week and that's about it - I get the name of the venue, bung it in the Sat-Nav and away I go."

Wishbone Ash play Buckley Tivoli on Saturday, November 3. Tickets: £20 from tivolivenue.com / www.seetickets.com / 01244 546 201