Samurai – Samurai (1971)

Samurai_14.5 out of 5 Stars!

In many ways, depending on which track one is playing, the lone Samurai album sounds like a cross between the Avant-Garde Prog-Rock of Gentle Giant and King Crimson, meets Psychedelic-Rock such as Amon Duul II and Pink Floyd, meets Jazz-Rock-Fusion such as Zappa (Hot Rats-era) and East Of Eden, meets Canterbury-Prog such as Caravan and Hatfield And The North, meets…well, whatever.

Yeah, as I’m sure you can already guess, this band has a wide variety of styles that encompasses its overall sound, an interesting blend of diverse sub-genres all wrapped up in a Prog-Rock blanket that—who knew?—actually seems to work! Too damned bad the group didn’t last longer to record more than this single album.

Much of the group’s eclectic style has to do with the inclusion of two woodwind players, who add sax, clarinet, and flute, plus the varied keyboards of Dave Lawson (Greenslade/The Web/Stackridge), who also handles the lead vocals. Psych guitar and fuzz bass round out Samurai’s sound, while the band’s twin percussionists steer the proceedings into Rock, Jazz, and Funk territories.

With tracks such as “Face in the Mirror,” “More Rain,” “Holy Padlock,” “As I Dried the Tears Away,” and “Maudie James,” which still sound fresh after all these many decades, Samurai’s one and only album is a masterpiece of originality hidden by decades of non-advertisement and non-accolades that the band wholeheartedly deserved.

 

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