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.
AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene