7 comments on “EM48 – Remembering Allan Holdsworth Part 3

  1. Part 1 was incredible, definitely listening to the other 2 parts tomorrow. Thank you for posting. Any chance you have a list of the songs that you played? I recognized a few but some were new to me. Thank you


  2. Thanks so much. I have loved your 3 part series on the untouchable Allan Holdsworth. I have one question. what was the live instrumental version of “White Line?” It was the very last musical piece in the entire series. I have a lot of live AH but that version blew my socks off. Gary Husband and Allan Holdworth were absolutely killer. Thank you so much!!!!!!


  3. Hey there! Just one of the many fans of Allan. I wanted to thank you for your 3 part tribute podcast to him (also listed to the 6 pack)! Learned a lot about him and loved the little stories people had. I had a chance to see him a few months before he passed here in Orlando, but it was a work night so I didn’t go. It breaks my heart now regretting I didn’t take the opportunity to see him play and never will again.

    He was on my radar after I picked up a copy of Metal Fatigue at a used record store, late 1980’s. You mentioned in one interview how it was difficult to find out about him in the days before internet and YouTube, but not so! I was a HUGE jazz and fusion fan and was just discovering Di Meola, Coryell, McLaughlin and the like and would spend hours upon hours scouring every used record store I came across. They had turntables there in store so you could listen first and it got to a point you’d read the liner notes as you were listening and find out who the guitarist was and what other projects they worked on, then go listen to those! Yeah… hours. My family would drop me off and leave.

    Anyway, I was big into the whole technical shred thing at the time, so when I heard Devil Take the Hindmost, my jaw probably hit the floor. Funny thing is, I was NOT a fan of the vocals or synths. I was never much for radio or the whole synthesizer thing all the 80s smooth fusion players were getting into. Just a matter of taste. But I did like where he was coming from and his unique sound and vocabulary, so I kept listening, found None Too Soon and soon after Secrets.

    I do play a bit of classical guitar and blues fingerstyle, enough to know how bad I am (and that’s not self-deprecation talking; ask anyone), and the more I got into classical (and the older I got), the whole shred/speed thing got old and my attention shifted to harmonies and melodic invention. Maybe a similar thing happened to Allan because he eventually gave up on the vocals (or at least the rock styled ones) and works like 16 Men of Tain and pure instrumental work seemed to be his direction at a time when that was exactly what I was looking for.

    I find it AMAZING he couldn’t read music! I guess he was like Hendrix that was, just so secure in his own sound world he could interpret traditional music that fast and operate within it. I’m mostly alluding to the JLP interview here. He was SO original and his way of looking at music SO his own it was really pointless to educate himself to understand music theory. He’d be better off finding a way to notate his own music his own way and let traditional musicians try to learn his concepts, like a John Cage.

    One of the other people you interviewed wondered what Debussy would have thought of his music and I reaaly think, instead of jazz standards, that would have been an interesting project, having Allan solo over Debussy’s Three Nocturnes. Without being able to read, he’d have to listen to recordings and work out sections beforehand, but I think it would have been mind-blowing to hear what he would have come up with!

    As far as his legacy goes, I’m a realist. I think Jen Batten was right on. Allan is/was all by himself on the fringes of … well…. Allan music. I mean, he could do the occasional standards cd (well, one) but his compositions aren’t standards unless you’re a guitar technician doing a Holdsworth cover, know what I mean? People today are listening less and less to what I consider music. It just a simple dance beat with spoken words or diva singing. Jazz and classical fans are dying off. All things tend to cycle around, so sure maybe a few decades from now interest will resurge, but I doubt it. And so few musicians can relate to what Holdsworth did, I think it’s tough to play his music and BE YOURSELF, as he so often said. I think his music goes up on a shelf, to inspire (or the oppostite for the aspiring shredder) for those that find him.

    If I had ANY hopes for his legacy, it would actually be a classical album. People have done McLaughlin tributes on classical guitar and put classic rock to orchestral arrangements. A lot of it is schmaltzy, but with Allan, the orchestration is already there! If someone were to break down his chordal structures and assign different instruments to it, then maybe a classical guitar to do lead work so that it FITS the arrangement, not 64th notes everywhere, I think it would bring a wider audience and appreciation to his concept of harmony and song construction, not just the metal heads.

    So, that’s my unasked for interview. If you read it through, thanks for listening!


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