280:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Edition, UK 1971. Bra progressive rock från 1971. Mini LP'n släpptes 2006 och är nu mycket svår att hitta.)
Samurai was previously known as Web. Web released three albums, Fully Interlocking (1968), Theraphosa Blondi (1970), and I Spider (1970). The first two featured American singer John L. Watson, and were released on Deram. I Spider was released on Polydor and Watson was replaced by future Greenslade vocalist/keyboardist Dave Lawson. The Deram albums are said to be more pop/psychedelic offerings, but I've not heard them (a little hard to come by and apparently neither reissued on CD). I Spider is considered the best and where Web's reputation in progressive rock circles rests on. But for some odd reason, when Tom Harris left and they brought in two new wind players, Tony Roberts and Don Fay, they were now called Samurai. Legal reasons? Did Tom Harris have the rights to the Web name? I really can't say, since finding info on bands like this is often very difficult to come by.
Samurai is truly another great, lost gem of early British progressive rock. I really like the jazzy feel that goes with it, and this is one progressive rock album you can't call "pretentious" (and we all know every prog rock detractor out there calls this kind of music "pretentious"). It's nothing but a collection of great songs with interesting use of instruments (organ, wind instruments, and the way the vibraphone is integrated in the music, rather than using it during jazzy solos like many other bands did at the time). I really highly recommend this album!
In 1971, British band Web abruptly changed its name to Samurai and released this self-titled set, its sole contribution to the prog rock canon. Adding a second brass player and somewhat lightening its sound, the band still continued down many of the same jazzy pathways as its predecessor. However, across seven tracks Samurai meanders down rather diverse byways. "Saving It Up for So Long," for instance, bundles along like Caravan, its bluesy guitar inflections offset by the brass' improv jazz stylings. Even more R&B-inflected is "Give a Little Love," boasting wah wah guitar, a stomping riff, and some quite sassy sax. In contrast, "More Rain" is as soft, warm, and shimmering as a summer drizzle, and gives credence to the group's inclusion in the Canterbury scene. Its polar opposite is the bustling "Holy Padlock," which trundles down a rural road with the farmland flying by, until the song's shifting time signatures shake up the ride. But it's the eight-plus-minute "As I Dried the Tears Away" that's Samurai's centerpiece, a constantly mood-altering and style-twisting extravaganza that brings to mind King Crimson on acid making a regal procession around a breathtaking musical realm. Thoroughly unique, Samurai apparently committed hari-kari after this album was released. Singer/keyboardist Dave Lawson would eventually rise again with Greenslade, his restrained vocals on this set barely hinting at what was to come. This digipack reissue features this savory album's original artwork, and its reappearance will well please all prog rock fans.
01. Saving It Up for So Long (03:45)
02. More Rain (04:27)
03. Maudie James (04:55)
04. Holy Padlock (04:44)
05. Give a Little Love (03:40)
06. Face in the Mirror (06:44)
07. As I Dried the Tears Away (08:13)