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Allan Holdsworth - Velvet Darkness CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.07 | 43 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
3 stars I was fortunate and found the vinyl in a sale in the early 80's, but I had to take it back thinking I had a faulty pressing, because of inferior aural quality. Then armed with a new copy I discovered it was not the pressing, it was the recording! (This has subsequently been reinforced by the less than prefect aural quality of remastered CD - but for roughness of a studio recording, check the remastered Lifetime "Emergency" CD). This album has it moments but it was clearly done in a rush, for instance "Kinder" (the acoustic version of an electric track now available on the reissued Lifetime "Believe It") and also the best track on Gary Husband's 2001 Holdsworth piano tribute album "Thing You See" - by the way Husband pronounces"Kinder" as the Germans do the word meaning child). There are some good compositions and considering the lack of real preparation, some pretty good playing - Alphonso Johnson's bass playing on a couple of tracks is amongst the best he's done. However, we have to get back to the fact that Holdsworth was unhappy because of record company pressures to cash in on him, which were to haunt him again with his next solo outing putting "Road Games" together (i.e the dilemma of costs v artistic merit/control). Not surprisingly you have a man most cynically about signing to major record labels over the next 20 years. ["All Night Wrong" was his first release in that period with a major label - but when the record was listed in Amazon's top 400 records for a couple of weeks, then some benefits can be seen by utilising a big label's marketing machine].

After this Holdsworth played with UK and then Bruford, before spending time with Gordon Beck (check out "Things You see") and John Stevens (three German albums under Steves' name with Holdsworth on most tracks - playing some free jazz). BTW John Stevens plays some amazing drums on John Martyn's "Live At Leeds" album.

Dick Heath | 3/5 |


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