Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by stumphead, Jun 21, 2019.
He didn’t really sell it. Bill Delap has it.
I knew many players that never heard of him, let alone non-guitar players.
I think this question can probably applied to anyone who is just an instrumentalist and works in the jazz world. Do people know about Lenny Breau? Doubt it. Or fill in the name. I think AH and his career sort of falls into the same sphere as Danny Gatton, incredibly talented, great guitarist, but worked in a niche that didn’t give him much exposure.
But I think if you play guitar, you should check him out and his music. You don’t have to love him, but to know and understand where he is in the guitar’s history is important. His playing is amazing, did it have mass appeal? Probably not, but doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know him.
I always loved his Delap guitars, I always thought it would have been cool if Delap could have used steinberger necks with his smaller bodied guitar designs.
Does anyone know how the Delap -Holdsworth guitar developed? Would be curious to hear that story
Virgil is a beast. I wish Planet X would have kept going.
I have tried to hold back from posting here because I think the premise of the thread is really strange. However, Allan was in Gong, UK, Bruford, Soft Machine, Nucleus and Tempest even if we just want to talk about prog. And loads of prog fans in loads of countries knows those bands.
Do people here really understand the music world (which is a lot bigger than just the pop market in the US) so little as to think that everyone into prog is a guitarist or musician? Allan was revered in prog circles and those bands have historic significance. And bands like ELP did 3 nights in a row at MSG back in the day. Prog was significant (to say nothing of Pink Floyd or Genesis etc) and a lot more popular than it is today.
In the jazz and fusion world, there are plenty of non musicians who know Allan. You don't get on the cover of numerous magazines, play with Tony Williams, Vinnie Colaiuta, Gordon Beck, Gary Husband, Jean Luc Ponty, Stanley Clarke, Randy Brecker, tour all over the world for decades and only get heard by a few guitarists.
So to sum it up, lots of music fans know Allan for many different reasons which is why his obit was in the NYT and the Guardian among many others. Of course he wasn't a 'celebrity' but that's just a silly idea to apply to musicians who aren't playing pop. I would have preferred he be far better known but let's not exaggerate.
Most of the players I like get the blank stare from 95%.
The average Joe doesn't have a clue who Holdsworth is.
I know about Holdsworth only because Eddie cited him in that article in the 80s.
I immediately bought Metal Fatigue. Listened to it twice. Amazing guitar player but like a lot of fusion, weak songwriting in favour of amazing note runs.
I do respect his talent and I can recognize his playing. But I would never try and emulate that stuff. Like ultra-marathon runners. Jeepers . . .
Here is a partial list of other great players who nobody knows about outside the guitar/music community
There was a time when great players were recognized for just being great guitarists, not personalities or stars: Johnny Smith, Les Paul, Wes Montgomery, Roy Clark, Chet Atkins. Those days are gone.
I imagine some of our wifes or SOs may, whether they’d like to or not...
I always think it’s sad that AH couldn’t have played in some Prog/Jam band that would have kept his profile a bit more elevated, but my guess is he had his own vision for his music and he didn’t want to compromise.
It’s always the same thought I’ve had about Gatton, wish he could have attached his genius to some country music star to pay the bills, and in off times, make his little albums for us guitar fans.
I know AH came up in prog bands, that had some stature in 60s/70s, but he wasn’t associated with that scene for a long time, and seemed to work in the Jazz/ instrumental world... which is a small market for profiles
I know some Keys/sax guys who know him from a improv/lead work point of view...and I also know some Progressive drummers and Bass players who know his music through the awesome drummers and Bass players that allan has used through the years... Think the I.O.U. stuff was pretty much required listening for those around at the time. Ground-Breaking. Maybe you need to hang with different Musicians?
One Of A Kind
I think he would be better known if he was a less sophisticated and original composer.
Because to me as a composer is one definitely one of the most interesting ones, among guitarists.
Anyway, I've recently talked with one woman who appreciated him. It was truly the first time for me seeing a woman who appreciated (and who knew!) his music.
three musicians with a very different level of fame.
Paco De Lucia was very famous for a guitarist and known also to a lot of people who aren't guitarists.
Holdsworth was quite famous among guitarists and almost unknown or truly underappreciated by other people.
Ted Greene was and still is only a cult figure (great as he was) even for guitarists...
he played a lot of fast solos, but weak songwriting... just no. It's just that his stuff is closer to avantgarde composers like Messiaen than the average pop/rock (or even jazz-rock) musician.
To me stuff like Shallow sea or Tokyo dream is musically way more interesting than anything written by Bob Dylan or Neil Young, who are celebrated as two of the most important songwriters in the last half century (and don't get me wrong, I love their music)
I only know a few people who recognize who have heard of Paco. I agree famous in his country and famous to a small demographic in the US, but I’d guess less than 1% of the current US population knows who he is.
I may be wrong, but I’m not a young guy anymore, and have lived in a lot of places and met many people. Just finding any that listened to anything other than mainstream music was rare, much less them knowing about artists like Paco.
I drove some co-workers to lunch a ways back and Albert Marcouer was playing in my car. My boss got out and made some strange noises. The other guy said, "I feel like I've just been violated".
The guy who turned me on to Holdsworth in summer '83 was not a musician, just a fan ... made me a dub cassette of I.O.U on one side and the Holdsworth stuff w/Bill Bruford on the other
AH certainly had a nice legato solo voice, and his reach allowed him to play very unorthodox runs. Very sax-like. But there are plenty of interesting soloists out there. His genius was his overall mastery of the fretboard, and more broadly speaking his mastery of music. His chord work and harmonic sense were extremely sophisticated, and would have been so were he a player of any other instrument. Outside for sure, and that sort of thing often doesn’t sit well with folks who like more straight-ahead melodies, but to me that was what set him apart, not just his soloing. It was the whole picture.
nailed it. maybe it's also that unorthodox guitar tuned to 4ths he uses that also contribute, but his tunes just have a vibe or atmosphere no one else has had