Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Allan Holdsworth

Jazz Rock/Fusion

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Allan Holdsworth Road Games album cover
3.78 | 83 ratings | 9 reviews | 35% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1983

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Three Sheets To The Wind (4:12)
2. Road Games (4:07)
3. Water On The Brain - Pt. II (2:43)
4. Tokyo Dream (4:01)
5. Was There? (4:04)
6. Material Real (4:40)

Total time 23:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Allan Holdsworth / guitar, producer

- Jack Bruce / lead vocals (5,6)
- Paul Williams / lead (2) & backing vocals
- Paul Korda / backing vocals
- Joe Turano / backing vocals
- Jeff Berlin / bass
- Chad Wackerman / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Tom Nikosey

LP Warner Bros. Records ‎- 9 23959-1 B (1983, US)

CD Gnarly Geezer Records ‎- GGCD001-2 (2001, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
Edit this entry


ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Road Games ratings distribution

(83 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(35%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (13%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Road Games reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is jazz fusion and the foreground instrument is electric guitar. The musicians involved here are virtuosos: Allan HOLDSWORTH on guitars, Jeff Berlin on fretless bass and Chad Wackerman (drummer of Frank ZAPPA in the 80's) on drums. The electric guitar is full of effects, and mainly it consists in swelling the chords with a volume pedal. This effect is more accentuated on his "I.O.U." album. It gives a beautiful modern sound, very atmospheric and dreamy: it almost sound as a keyboard note. But HOLDSWORTH here plays also a more conventional guitar sound, which is never dull. So it is fast or mellow electric guitars through tons of amazing drums and outstanding bass. The ensemble is never simple.
Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a great starting place for anyone wanting to Experience Holdsworth. Eddie Van Halen secured a record deal with Warner Brothers for Allan. After spending nearly twenty years in the WB vaults, Road Games finally made it to CD. This disc features some awesome bass work from Jeff Berlin, "Water on the Brain" sizzles. Jack Bruce, Cream, guests on two tracks. Chad Wackerman, former Zappa drummer, turns in a stellar performance. The star of this show, however, is Allan's pyrotechic guitar work. "Tokyo Dream" and "Three Sheets to the Wind" are firestorms of blazing fretboard magic, twists, dips, chills and pure excitement. An amazing statement from one amazing guitarist.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars I was familiar with Holdsworth in Machine and UK and Tempest and thought of him as a super guitarist but had never listened to his solo stuff. I recently heard this one but with a different cover and chose that one because otf the guests J Bruce and P Williams. Alas , deception was around the corner because this was rather unexpected calm fusion all melted into some sort of soup. I fast forwarded throughout the whole album and never found a great momentbut not finding it displeasing . Had this album come out on the great German label ECM, this would have been apropriate , but I would still prefer Pat Metheny, John Surman , Terje Rypdal or Steve Tibbetts. I am not condemning Holdsworth and maybe i fell onto a weaker album.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Allan Holdsworth has been everywhere; starting his career at young age, from Tempest to Tony Williams' Lifetime, Gong, Jean-Luc Ponty, Gordon Beck, Jack Bruce, Bill Bruford, UK and Soft Machine. I was not quite sure when I herd his guitar playing at first time - it's probably when he joined Bill Bruford with "One of A Kind" album. For sure, after that I chased whatever album he contributed as I really like his guitar playing style. In the mid- 1970s, he began showing some solo albums with "Velvet Darkness", "I.O.U" and "Road Games".

"Road Games" is an album that characterizes the music of Allan Holdsworth. The music style is slightly different with his contribution with other musician's albums or bands he contributed to. In here I can see the combination between soft guitar work that sounds like a keyboard and nice riffs. Some tracks featured here show the jazz-rock fusion style and some of tracks like "Road Games" blend the jazz-rock music with classic rock style - it's a bit odd but it's nice. The bass guitar player for this album is no stranger at all: Jeff Berlin who also collaborated with Bill Bruford's early albums. To me personally, enjoying this kind of music is good for a change - especially when I want to hear how the music turns from simple fusion to a complex arrangement with dynamic drumming by Chad Wackerman during transition.

If you love jazz-rock fusion music or you like varieties of guitar styles, you may enjoy this album. Composition-wise, this is an album with neat arrangement and good songwriting. Each individual song forms the album in cohesive way. Keep on proggin' .!

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Road Games is comprised of what could be thought of as a 'supergroup', with veteran bassist Jeff Berlin providing his unshakable foundation to Allan Holdsworth's confounding music, Jack Bruce and Paul Williams on various vocals, and the great Chad Wackerman drumming. This is also one of Holdsworth's quieter offerings with lots of bright light generally not found on his other albums and though rhythmically intricate, it isn't as eager to impress or exhibit. Consequently, the impact is gentler and understated, making Road Games one of this extraordinary player's most unique sets. And hats off to Eddie Van Halen for his pull with Warner in getting this released, a project that likely would not have had support from a major label. The full album appears to remain unfinished though the original EP was Grammy nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Holdsworth's tactile influence on Mr. Van Halen has always been evident (especially when hearing this record), and it was a fitting toast to a Grand Master.

He had not begun recording with a synthaxe yet, and the feathery quality of these cuts is contrasted by Allan's sharp-edged lead guitar with very few layers, extras or unnecessary effects, just clean and pure expressions of his special gift. As a young man, he had been a saxophonist enthralled by Coltrane and others, and that deep connection to the sax comes through in a way that must be heard to fully appreciate. The contemplative 'Three Sheets to the Wind' with its chordal swells reaches a fat solo packed with this player's fluid and furious pattern-making.

Former Tempest colleague Paul Williams handles the singing on the title track which features Holdsworth's own closed-voice chords and a squealing lead. 'Water On the Brain Pt. ll' just rocks, another little structural wonder of rhythmics with a nearly-perfect bass solo from Jeff Berlin and 'Tokyo Dream', though a bit frivolous, is pleasant enough and is rescued by another cutting guitar performance. Finally, Jack Bruce is up on voice for the halcyon 'Was There?' and two blistering but brief noodles from Allan, as well as the dreamy 'Material Real'. Looking back, this was one of A.H.'s more interesting and revealing sessions, and one of his very best for soloing.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Short but sweet . . . This 24:17 length re-release, never before on CD, 80's era solo effort originally appeared as an EP, (extended play), vinyl release. It is a unique mix of great vocals with a more rocking, bluesy jazzy, quasi- mainstream, song-themed, balladic thrust. This release showcase ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581949) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝘁𝗮𝗿 𝗚𝗲𝗻𝗶𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗱𝘀 Yes yes I know, the ti ... (read more)

Report this review (#2409455) | Posted by Zoltanxvamos | Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Road Games may very well be my favorite album that is 24 minutes long. I can't think of another album in my collection around that length (though Wikipedia classifies this as an EP), so I suppose it wins by default. Allan has assembled quite a lineup with Jeff Berlin on bass and Chad Wackerm ... (read more)

Report this review (#228221) | Posted by Stooge | Friday, July 24, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Forget guitar heroes! Forget prog-rock! Forget fusion or jazz-rock! "Road Games" (as well as "I.O.U.", "Metal Fatigue" or "Secrets") is something DIFFERENT. No one plays guitar like Allan Holdsworth. OK, you may listen to some tapping or guitar-races by other guitar heroes, but Holdsworth has ... (read more)

Report this review (#86655) | Posted by Jordi Planas | Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of ALLAN HOLDSWORTH "Road Games"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.