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Samurai - Samurai CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.71 | 83 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars I prefer calling this album The Web's fourth rather than Samurai's fist, since the group is exactly that of the Web (minus the departing wind-blower Harris), but changing names to find a new recording deal. As they did find one, they didn't last much longer than their sole album's release, whatever few concerts they played without brass players and disbanding fairly quickly. Graced with an impressive Japanese-type artwork to fit the band's new name, the album was produced by Tony Reeves (Mayall, Colosseum, Day Of The Phoenix's producer and future Greenslade) and it has a very distinctive less-muscular sound.

If the I Spider general musical direction is maintained, there are a few changes, the first and most evident being the guitar not nearly flexing its muscle as before and an overall softer jazzier feel. Harris' departure was compensated by no less than two wind-playing guests, which give Samurai a brassier (I didn't dare write hornier) than on I Spider. Lawson's vocals are also softer (the songs are in general softer here) and thus the Crimson influence is not as evident, but still present in a subtler way. More Rain even goes on the soft Oblivion Express side, while the most intriguing and the Crimsonian closing track is As I Dried The Tears Away with its unusual instrumental interplay about 2/3 of the way into the track: Lawson dubs himself as there two KB answering each other. Good stuff.

Hearing through Tony Reeves that Dave Greenslade intended to start a new band using two keyboards, Lawson would jump ship before Samurai would grind down to a complete halt, thus terminating it. Surprisingly, no bonus tracks on this reissue, despite a previous reissue sporting a bunch of them. The next Lawson chapter is Greenslade, but it's definitely another musical spectrum. Personally I find Samurai a lesser album than I Spider, but both are generally highly regarded. But I wouldn't go as far as saying that either are essential, but it's good owning them for the occasional spin.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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