Allan Holdsworth

I had the good fortune to see Allan Holdsworth play live a few times.  He was always amazing – but, then again, I was a huge fan of Tempest!

I managed to get some of his hard-to-find records / CD’s, too:

ATAVACHRON (US)
FLAT TIRE – MUSIC FOR A NON-EXISTENT MOVIE
HARD HAT AREA
I.O.U.
I.O.U. (US)
METAL FATIGUE
METAL FATIGUE (Jpn)
NONE TOO SOON
ROAD GAMES
ROAD GAMES (Jpn)
SAND
SAND
SIXTEEN MEN OF TAIN, THE
VELVET DARKNESS (US) re-issue
WARDENCLYFFE TOWER

Allan Holdsworth

Happy birthday Blue Note jazz artist Horace Silver (1928)!

Today, let’s discuss British guitarist Allan Holdsworth.

I have:

LP                ATAVACHRON                                                                    XNIGMA US             ST-73203

1986            1986 7 TRKS stereo LP

 

CD               FLAT TIRE – MUSIC FOR A NON-EXISTENT MOVIE   BELLE ANT JPN     81401

2001            2008 9 TRKS stereo CD kami sleeve, British jazz

 

CD               HARD HAT AREA                                                                BELLE ANT JPN     81398

1993            2008 7 TRKS stereo CD kami sleeve, British jazz

 

CD               I.O.U.                                                                                      RESTLESS US        72563.2

1982            1985 8 TRKS stereo CD

LP                I.O.U.                                                                                      LUNA CRACK US   AH-100

1982            1982 8 TRKS stereo LP inserts (postcards)

 

CD               METAL FATIGUE                                                                 XNIGMA US             CDE 73222

1985            1985 6 TRKS stereo CD

LP                METAL FATIGUE                                                                 WEA JPN                  P-13098

1985            1985 6 TRKS stereo LP insert

 

CD               NONE TOO SOON                                                              BELLE ANT JPN     81399

1996            2008 9 TRKS stereo CD kami sleeve, British jazz

 

12″               ROAD GAMES                                                                     WARNER JPN         P-6194

1983            1983 6 TRKS stereo 12″ with pic sleeve, insert

SHM-CD     ROAD GAMES                                                                     GEN JPN                  VSCD 4273

1983            2014 6 TRKS stereo SHM-CD

 

CD               SAND                                                                                     BELLE ANT JPN     81395

1987            2008 6 TRKS stereo CD kami sleeve, British jazz

LP                SAND                                                                                     INTIMA EU               3293.1

1987            1987 6 TRKS stereo LP

 

CD               SIXTEEN MEN OF TAIN, THE                                           GNARLY US             48082

2000            2000 8 TRKS stereo CD

 

LP                THINGS YOU SEE, THE (w/ Gordon Beck)                    JMS FR                     JMS 09

1980            1980 7 TRKS stereo LP British jazz

 

CD               WARDENCLYFFE TOWER                                                POLYDOR JPN        POCJ-1162

1992            1992 11 TRKS stereo CD

 

I saw him live, after the I.O.U. album came out, at The Roxy in Hollywood. Paul Williams was not singing for him any longer. I saw a ton of Allan Holdsworth CD’s in Japan, and I bought several – but no, I don’t have it all…yet.

 

In doing my research, I found there are more than a few Allan Holdsworth CD’s I’d really like to find:

 

Velvet Darkness

Conversation Piece

Secrets

Just For The Curious

I.O.U. Live

All Night Wrong (I’d go nuts for the Japan SA-CD of this!)

Blues For Tony (2CD)

Against The Clock (Best of)

MVD DVD (!)

With A Heart In My Song (with Gordon Beck)

Heavy Machinery

Propensity

 

…to name just a few!

Allan Holdsworth

Happy birthday Lee Hazelwood (1929) and Bon Scott (of AC/DC).

 

Allan Holdsworth – I first encountered him on the Tempest LP, about 1973 or so; I bought that album because of the Colosseum members. Holdsworth had no influence on my youthful decision. Well, surprise, surprise! He’s a damned good ‘hard rock’ guitarist!

 

Next time I encountered him was almost a decade later – the record distributor I was working for was going to carry his then-new album “I.O.U.” – and he was still working with Tempest’s vocalist, Paul Williams (the Juicy Lucy Paul Williams, not the songwriting elf!).

 

I saw Mr. Holdsworth play at The Roxy, without a vocalist. This was right about the time he got his first synthaxe. “Hey, what in hell is that thing?” he was asked – “Fucked if I know!” was his approximate answer.

 

I continued to see new Allan Holdsworth LP’s, but I had no idea he had so many albums! Recently, in Japan, I bought some new-to-me Allan Holdsworth album on CD:

 

HOLDSWORTH, ALLAN – SAND, BELLE A JPN CD kami

HOLDSWORTH, ALLAN – HARD HAT AREA, BELLE A JPN CD kami

HOLDSWORTH, ALLAN – FLAT TIRE – MUSIC FOR A NON-EXISTENT MOVIE, BELLE A JPN CD kami

HOLDSWORTH, ALLAN – NONE TOO SOON, BELLE A JPN CD kami

 

So, I’m listening as I write.

 

British jazz? Syntheaxe oddities? Instrumentals?

 

Entirely instrumental albums, those listed above. There might be some incidental talking, but no singing. And rather impressive guitar playing! The style is “jazz”, but really “progressive rock”-style jazz.

 

An Allan Holdsworth album is about his guitar / syntheaxe playing, and not about the sidemen, dexterous they do sound. They all just seem to vanish, leaving you in the dust, wondering if all of the music comes from a synthaxe?

 

It certainly seems that Allan Holdsworth coaxes some particularly un-guitar-like sounds from his guitar. Some of those runs he is playing lightning fast – Alvin Lee fast! And I cannot pretend to understand what Mr. Holdsworth does, my musical language does not extend to what he does. It just sounds so super cool!