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Samurai Import

6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, January 13, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Repressing. Digitally remastered edition of this lost classic of the Progressive era. Released on the short lived Greenwich Gramophone label in 1972, the album was influenced by the experiments of groups such as King Crimson and Gentle Giant but was more than a mere clone of these bands. Evolving from the equally excellent band Web (whose album I Spider is a classic of the genre), the musicianship on the album was excellent and keyboard player Dave Lawson's compositions were groundbreaking and memorable. Sadly the group disbanded shortly after the release of the record resulting in limited sales. However, the influence of the album was not lost as both Dave Lawson and Tony Reeves soon formed Greenslade with Dave Greenslade, effectively taking up the musical mantle laid down by Samurai. Esoteric.

1. Saving It Up for So Long
2. More Rain
3. Maudie James
4. Holy Padlock
5. Give a Little Love
6. Face in the Mirror
7. As I Dried the Tears Away

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 13, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Esoteric
  • ASIN: B00004CO9B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,769 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By BENJAMIN MILER on August 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Samurai was essentially a continuation of Web, who in 1970 released the album I Spider on Polydor. That album marked Dave Lawson's first recordings. Web did release two albums prior to I Spider with an American vocalist John L. Watson with Fully Interlocking (1968) and Theraphosa Blondi (1970), which are said to be pop/psychedelic offerings. After I Spider, sax player Tom Harris left, and for some reason the band was now called Samurai (I suspect Tom Harris had the rights to the Web name, but I can't be certain). They brought in two new wind players with Tony Roberts and Fay. Aside from these two new guys, the lineup was the same with vocalist/keyboardist Dave Lawson, guitarist Tony Edwards, bassist Tony Eaton, drummer Kenny Beveridge, and drummer/percussionist Lennie Wright. The band was now recording for a far more obscure label, Greenwich. Original LPs are extremely difficult to come by, but luckily its been reissued on CD. I have the Italian reissue on the Akarma label, which comes in a digipak, but does not include those live bonus cuts like earlier reissues did.

Really, I have to say Samurai is by far the finest album Dave Lawson ever played on. His singing doesn't seem so strained or high-pitched as on those Greenslade albums. The album is mellower, overall than I Spider, and there's a stronger King Crimson feel. "More Rain" is a nice, pleasant number that brings to mind Jade Warrior, especially the flutes. "Maudie James" continues in that nice, early '70s jazzy prog manner, while "Give a Little Love" tends to be more rocking. "As I Dried My Tears Away" is a great closer with lots of creative passages. This is really one of the great lost gems of British prog rock. This was the last we heard from Web/Samurai. Most of the guys had simply disappeared (likely to their day jobs), with one big exception, Dave Lawson, of course, who found his fame and fortune with Greenslade.

This album comes highly recommended!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mark53 on March 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This, like the preceeding album when they were called Web was part of the trilogy of first (and last) releases on a label called Greenwich (the others were by 'open road' and 'day of pheonix'(possibly in my own opinion my favourite album of all time-find it you won't regret it!) they are all (like Web) incredibly rare and so hats off to the people that have reissued on c.d. Samurai is a prime slice of early seventies prog-rock, lengthy tracks with lots of time changes and incredible instrumental solos. The brass arrangements are top notch (must be ex-jazzers!) and well executed. Standout has to be 'maudie james' with great lyrics and keyboards from Dave Lawson. The album is one of those that i return to over and over again, finding something new each time. A pity that when Lawson joined Greenslade (his songs were always the stand outs) he seemed to give way to Dave Greenslade's compositions too much. Hence why there albums were pretty lacklustre. Any Samurai (and Web)are the ones to check out. Save a fortune by not getting the vinyl!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ on June 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
In a sense, you could see Samurai's sole album as a precursor to Steely Dan's jazz rock. This music has a mid-70s craft and polish that was ahead of its time in 1971.

Like Steely, these guys steered clear of the long jams so popular with art rock groups at the time. Samurai kept their jazzy dynamics within the structure of pop songs.

But where Brecker and Fagen eschewed prog moves in favor of subtle, but very advanced, harmonics and old school jazz mannerisms, this band did add loopy time curve balls and complex inserts to what was otherwise very high end jazz pop. Samurai also used wha wha guitars and hard rock devices you would never hear on Steely's polished, cool jazz excursions.

Most of the material here works increadibly, from the thumping insistance of "Saving it up for song long," to the complex clusters of "Sophie Padlock..

Some of the artier flurishes do seem unneeded, and somewhat flashy. But they are never extended, and barley intrude on what is otherwise high end, classy, well constructed music.

This is definately a rare find and a great buy.
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