SAMURAI — Samurai (review)

SAMURAI — Samurai album cover Album · 1971 · Jazz Related Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Miler72
For some reason Web was renamed Samurai after the release of I Spider in 1970 on Polydor, perhaps one of the members left and had legal rights to the name, as two new members came in with Tony Roberts and Don Fay, both on wind instruments. The band seemed unaware of a Japanese band (residing in the UK at the time) featuring Miki Curtis calling themselves Samurai, and that also went for the record company. Web's I Spider already brought in future Greenslade vocalist/keyboardist Dave Lawson, and of course he stayed during the name change and performed and sang on this album too. Honestly I find Dave Lawson's voice so much more easy to take than on those Greenslade albums (my big gripe with Greenslade was his vocals, which seemed so much more strained there). Samurai is by far the best thing I have ever heard with Dave Lawson, if he sang this way on those Greenslade albums, then I'd probably just have a gripe with Dave Greenslade's frequently cheesy approach in keyboard playing (I often wondered why he played like that in Greenslade, when he didn't in Colosseum, which was more blues-based organ playing). This album is full of nothing but great jazzy prog, with vibraphone being of the dominant instruments. I have always loved the sound of vibes, but unhappy I don't hear it on more rock recordings. "Saving it Up For So Long" is a great opening piece, with lots of nice organ work. "More Rain" is more calm, with nice jazz-style vocals from Lawson. I particularly like the acoustic part with flute. "Maude James" has a bit of a Lizard-era King Crimson feel, probably in the jazzy arrangements and drumming (which are similar to Andy McCulloch's). "Give a Little Luck" has a more rock feel to it, particularly in the guitar playing, but the sax playing gives it that jazzy undercurrent, as well as Dave Lawson's voice. "As I Dried the Tears Away" is the lengthiest piece on the album, and what a great closer.

I have to say, this album is nothing short of amazing, and even if you have an aversion to Greenslade, or perhaps you felt the weak link to Greenslade was Dave Lawson's singing, don't let that put you off, this album is totally required in your collection.
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