Saturday, August 15, 2015

Allan Holdsworth - 1983 [2014] Road Games

Road Games is an EP (or, according to its vinyl sleeve, a "specially-priced 6-cut mini album") by guitarist Allan Holdsworth, released in 1983 through Warner Bros. Records originally on vinyl only;[1] a CD edition was reissued through Gnarly Geezer Records in 2001, although to this day Holdsworth claims to have received no royalties from either release.[3] He has also named it as one of his least favourite recordings, due to numerous creative differences with executive producer Ted Templeman.[4] Road Games nonetheless received a nomination for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 1984 Grammy Awards.

John W. Patterson of AllMusic gave Road Games four stars out of five, describing it as "fusion-rock bliss" and Holdsworth's guitar work as "amazing". He also praised Wackerman's "tastefully poised" drumming and Jeff Berlin's "killer" bass work.

Short but sweet: this 24-plus-minute re-release of an '80s-era solo effort originally appeared as a vinyl EP, and has never before been issued on CD. It is a unique mix of great vocals with a more rocking, bluesy, and jazzy quasi-mainstream song-themed balladic thrust. This release showcases Allan Holdsworth playing less "out there." Don't misunderstand -- the guitar is amazing: multi-voiced, fusion-fired, ethereally chorded, delightfully crystalline clear, note-flourished, and swooningly embellished. Add in the vocals of Jack Bruce for that Cream flashback or the I.O.U. band feel of Paul Williams' crooning, back to back with killer bass by Jeff Berlin and tastefully poised drums by Chad Wackerman, and you have fusion-rock bliss.Holdsworth addicts have waited a very long time for this to appear in the CD format. So go for it. It sounds great all over again. The original album cover graphics and notes are included.

Influential guitarist Allan Holdsworth's "Road Games" is the compact disc re-release of the most coveted Holdsworth release ever! The album features the original six tracks with Jeff Berlin on bass guitar and Chad Wackerman on drums, with special guest Jack Bruce on vocals. Paul Williams also provides guest vocals on one track, making this a three instrumental, three vocal release. three instrumentals, and three vocal tracks. Nevertheless, many critics and fans call 1983's "Road Games" one of Holdsworth's finest (and definitive) recordings, and essential listening for any fan of the electric guitar, legato playing, and jazz/fusion in general. Nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance.

Track Listings
1. Three Sheets to the Wind
2. Road Games
3. Water on the Brain, Pt. 2
4. Tokyo Dream
5. Was There?
6. Material Real