The Sixteen Men of Tain is the tenth studio album by guitarist Allan Holdsworth, released in March 2000 through Gnarly Geezer Records (United States), Polydor Records (Japan) and JMS–Cream Records (Europe); a remastered edition was reissued in 2003 through Globe Music Media Arts. The album’s title is a reference to the Glenmorangie distillery in Tain, Scotland. The Sixteen Men of Tain was the last recording to be made at Holdsworth’s personal recording studio, The Brewery.
“Coming on the heels of some rather mediocre efforts, The Sixteen Men of Tain is startlingly superb. Holdsworth has stripped away the distracting banks of keyboards and allowed his soaring, gliding guitar to shine through in a way it hasn’t since the 1980s. Even the Synthaxe, Holdsworth’s signature guitar synthesizer, sounds organic and immediate, not to mention far less prevalent than on previous albums. Dave Carpenter’s acoustic bass is a radical departure (check out his solo on the title track), as are Walt Fowler’s two guest appearances on trumpet. “The Drums Were Yellow,” a burning guitar/drum duet tribute to the late Tony Williams, is also a first. Gary Novak’s drumming is appropriately complex and riveting on this and six other tracks. (Holdsworth’s old compatriot Chad Wackerman sits in for “Downside Up.”) In short, this album is full of fresh ideas and unadulterated improvisational brilliance -just when it was beginning to seem that Holdsworth’s best work was behind him.” – David R. Adler/AllMusic.
All music is composed by Allan Holdsworth, except where noted.
1. “0274” 7:46
2. “The Sixteen Men of Tain” 6:26
3. “Above and Below” 3:08
4. “The Drums Were Yellow” (Holdsworth, Gary Novak) 5:57
5. “Texas” 5:44
6. “Downside Up” (Chad Wackerman) 7:07
7. “Eidolon” 4:36
8. “Above and Below (Reprise)” 4:06
Allan Holdsworth – guitar, SynthAxe, engineering, mixing, production
Gary Novak – drums (except track 6)
Chad Wackerman – drums (track 6)
Dave Carpenter – bass
Walt Fowler – trumpet
Duncan Aldrich – engineering
Chris Bellman – mastering
Released: March 2000
Recorded: Late 1999
Studio: The Brewery, North County, San Diego
Label: Gnarly Geezer
Producer: Allan Holdsworth