‘Igginbottom was an English jazz-rock band that released the album ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench on Deram in 1969. Guitarist Allan Holdsworth did subsequent stints in Tempest, Soft Machine, UK, and Bruford. Drummer Dave Freeman surfaced in symphonic-rockers First Aid.

Members: Allan Holdsworth (guitar, vocals), Steve Robinson (guitar, vocals), Mick Skelly (bass), Dave Freeman (drums)


‘Igginbottom formed in 1968 in Bradford, Yorkshire, where guitarists Allan Holdsworth (guitar, vocals), and Steve Robinson teamed with bassist Mick Skelly and drummer Dave Freeman.

Holdworth (then 22) hailed from a series of local beat groups (Jimmy Judge & The Jurymen, Margie & The Sundowners) and modeled his style after swing-era jazz guitarist Charlie Christian. In rehearsals with Robinson, he formed polychords (eight notes combined) inspired by the harmonic nuances of saxophonist John Coltrane.

Robinson’s friend, Love Affair bassist Mick Jackson, notified Soho jazz impresario Ronnie Scott, who booked the new group upstairs at his Jazz Club on 47 Frith St. Jackson named them ‘Igginbottom, an elision of the English surname Higginbottom.

‘Igginbottom signed with Deram, the progressive division of Decca.

‘Igginbottom’s Wrench

‘Igginbottom released their singular album, ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench, in August 1969 on Deram. It contains five compositions by Holdsworth, who co-wrote “Is She Just a Dream” with Skelly. Robinson wrote “Blind Girl” and “The Donkey,” the album’s lengthy closing piece. Side One contains a group-written number (“Out of Confusion”) and their adaptation of the Mamas & Papas standard “California Dreamin’.”

1. “The Castle” (2:55)
2. “Out of Confusion” (2:09)
3. “The Witch” (3:03)
4. “Sweet Dry Biscuits” (2:52)
5. “California Dreamin'” (4:00)
6. “Golden Lakes” (5:12)
7. “Not So Sweet Dreams” (5:00)
8. “Is She Just a Dream” (4:33)
9. “Blind Girl” (3:46)
10. “The Donkey” (10:42)

Decca Studios soundman Dave Grinsted engineered ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench in sequence with 1969 titles by Ashkan (In From the Cold), Martha Veléz (Fiends & Angels), Sam Apple Pie, and Savoy Brown (A Step Further).

The front features a group upshot by photographer Terence Ibbott, whose distinct imagery also appears on the Ashkan and Veléz covers and 1968–69 albums by Fleetwood Mac (Mr. Wonderful), Chicken Shack (100 Ton Chicken), and Web (Theraphosa Blondi).

The back cover features liner notes by Ronnie Scott and Mick Jackson. Scott writes “They may well be the first group that has, completely naturally and unselfconsciously, evolved out of the ever converging directions of good pop and jazz.” He describes the Holdsworth–Robinson interplay as “beautifully executed filigree runs and unusual voicings.” Jackson concurs, declaring ‘Igginbottom “the only group of musicians to authentically fuse Pop and Jazz.”


  • ‘Igginbottom’s Wrench (1969)


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