'Igginbottom, released in 1969 through Deram Records originally on vinyl only. It has been reissued a number of times (sometimes under the group title of "Allan Holdworth & Friends"), most notably on CD for the first time on 5 March 1989, as well as a remastered edition in 2000 through Angel Air Records with extensive liner notes detailing the band's history. It is one of the first recordings to feature guitarist Allan Holdsworth.
Not so much a footnote as a toenail clipping in the annals of forgotten
Deram label worthies, ’Igginbottom are known only to the privileged few
as the Ronnie Scott-endorsed quartet which provided the first sighting
of Allan Holdsworth in 1969. Their name may have led audiences to expect
a brutalist meat-and-two- veg combo in the Stackwaddy vein; nothing
could have prepared them for the preoccupied, jazzy insularity and
pin-drop quietude of ’Igginbottom’s Wrench.
In an era of Marshall stacks and Big Muffs, Holdsworth and fellow
’Igginbottom guitarist Steven Robinson favoured intelligently-arranged
tone clusters performed with no amp distortion and the treble rolled
off. At times, as in Sweet Dry Biscuits, they sound like The Magic Band
if Sun Ra had been cracking the whip instead of Beefheart.
The first revelation from this reissue is that Holdsworth patently
emerged from the womb with his unreasonable talent fully formed. A mere
21 in 1969, he was already capable of unleashing those dazzling note
flurries of dancing fluency that still make fellow guitarists lob their
Les Pauls into the Thames. The second revelation is that he had a
wonderfully appealing singing voice: check the sighing ennui of Golden
Lakes and Not So Sweet Dreams. Who knew?
This is one weird-ass album, and one that will probably become better
known as time goes on and more people discover that it's a very early
musical document of Allan Holdsworth -- he was part of 'Igginbottom's Wrench along with David Freeman on drums, Steve Robinson on the other guitar, and Mick Skelly on bass. 'Igginbottom's Wrench, their one and only album, bears about the same relationship to Holdsworth's later work that The Cheerful Insanity of Giles, Giles & Fripp does to Robert Fripp's work, and it's curious that both albums are on the same label. 'Igginbottom's Wrench also sounds a lot like GG&F,
kind of arty, theatrical psychedelia with some prominent jazz
influences weaving in and out, but none of it taken seriously enough to
be played or sung especially well, and it's easy to see how this
recording got overlooked in 1969. It's mostly notable for the presence
of "Golden Lakes," which evolved into "Velvet Darkness" and loomed ever
larger in the decades to come. This shows Holdsworth
at his least precise and pretentious, not in great form instrumentally
or vocally (but not bad, either), noodling around in a less-than-formal
setting and calling it an album. It's great fun and it will probably
delight Holdsworth's fans, and anyone into late-'60s progressive rock or jazz/rock fusion.
Released on Deram Records in 1969, ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench’ was the
first and only album from Barnsley’s ‘Igginbottom. The group consisted
of Dave Freeman on drums, Mick Skelly on bass, Steven Robinson on guitar
and guitarist extrodinaire, singer and main writer Allan Holdsworth.
Igginbottom were young lads (no older than 21) and had only formed as
a band a few months before recording this album. Despite this
‘Igginbottom’s Wrench was, and is a brilliantly complex and highly
sophisticated Jazz-Psych-Prog-Rock gem.
The album has heavy Jazz influences but could also happily sit in the
Progressive or Psychedelic Rock sections. There is a lot to take in,
song arrangements are ambitious and complex and the album really
warrants several listens. In the Liner notes, Ronnie Scott writes:
‘Igginbottom are unique and completely original and although they love
Jazz music and Coltrane in particular I can’t detect allegiance to any
particular jazz musician in their work. They may well be the first group
that has, completely naturally and unselfconsciously, evolved out of
the ever converging directions of good Pop and Jazz. Their compositions
(mainly by Allan Holdsworth) are fantastic and strangely moving – full
of unexpected harmonic twists and difficult intervals, sung, again
mostly by Holdsworth, with amazing precise intonation“
Allan Holdsworth is best known for his work in the Jazz/Fusion world.
He is a virtuoso guitar player and has been cited as a major influence
by other guitarists such as Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen, Richie
Kotzen, Alex Lifeson, and Greg Howe to name but a few. This album
however, captures Holdsworth in a less formal than normal state, his
playing is less precise and much ‘cooler sounding’ than his later stuff,
in my opinion.
While many other guitarists of the day were embracing new
amplification technology and heavily overdriven sounds, Holdsworth and
fellow guitarist Steven Robinson used cleaner, dryer and much Jazzier
Holdsworth’s voice too is soft, soulful and in places not too
dissimilar from a young Chet Baker but it’s really his guitar playing
that stands out. The solos are blisteringly fast but somehow still
remain laid back and groovy. Interestingly, ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench was
later re-issued as being recorded by ‘Allan Holdsworth & Friends’.
The popular stand-out track is the last on side 1 – ‘Golden Lakes’ as
this went on to become the influence for Holdsworth’s first solo album –
‘Velvet Darkness’, released in 1976. He went on to release a further 12
solo albums plus a range of live and collaborative records.
1. The Castle (Holdsworth) - 2:55
2. Out Of Confusion (Freeman, Robinson, Holdsworth, Skelly) - 2:09
3. The Witch (Holdsworth) - 3:03
4. Sweet Dry Biscuits (Holdsworth) - 2:54
5. California Dreamin' (Phillips) - 4:00
6. Golden Lakes (Holdsworth) - 5:12
7. Not So Sweet Dreams (Holdsworth) - 5:00
8. Is She Just A Dream? (Holdsworth, Kelly) - 4:33
9. Blind Girl (Robinson) - 3:46
10.The Donkey (Robinson) - 10:42
Allan Holdsworth – vocals, guitar
Steven Robinson – vocals, guitar
Dave Freeman – drums
Mick Skelly – bass