Allan Holdsworth: Water on the Brain Pt. II

Track

Water on the Brain Pt. II

Artist

Allan Holdsworth (guitar)

CD

Road Games (Globe Music GMMA 2100-2)

Buy Track

Musicians:

Allan Holdsworth (guitar),

Jeff Berlin (bass), Chad Wackerman (drums)

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Composed by Allan Holdsworth

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Recorded: Los Angeles, early 1983

Albumcoverallanholdsworth-roadgames

Rating: 88/100 (learn more)

"Water on the Brain Pt. II" is a short statement that on most fusion records of the day would be part of a larger piece. (Perhaps the title suggests it was meant to have other parts!) But Road Games, the unfinished album Holdsworth made for Warner Bros. at the behest of Holdsworth fan Eddie Van Halen, was targeting a different audience. Van Halen wanted Holdsworth to gain well-deserved widespread recognition. The album contained only five 4-minute cuts and this piece, which is less than 3 minutes. The thinking had to be about trying to get some radio airplay. To that end special guest Jack Bruce even raised his voice on a couple of cuts. As often happens with Holdsworth, things didn't work out in the end. The music was originally released briefly only as an EP in 1984. It was somehow nominated for a Grammy. But it wasn't until the EP was released as an unfinished album on CD in 2001 that the music was made available to at least part of that wider audience Van Halen had envisioned.

Despite its brevity, "Water on the Brain Pt. II" is great fusion number. Holdsworth does his usual thing. He spins the catchy melody from side to side, throws it up and catches it. But the highlight of the tune is the outstanding bassist Jeff Berlin. The few minutes he is given to take the lead are as fine a display of electric bass playing as one is likely to hear. He is all over this tune like white on rice. Berlin, to this day an under- sung figure, is one of the best jazz and fusion bass players of the last 25 years.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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