Friday, November 10, 2006

Samurai - "Kappa" {Japan} [1971] (Heavy-Progressive)

This was not the British band with Dave Lawson, but a Japanese one. They moved to Britain in the late 60's, and got a contract with Philips. They were also joined by several British members and released a couple of albums. "Kappa" from 1971 reveals a band in the heavy-progressive vein and with a thing for lengthy jams and improvisations. This is especially apparent on the instrumental 22-minute "King Riff and Snow Flakes" that takes up the whole of side 2. Heavy guitar and organ dominates the sound, and literally every musician in the group is allowed to stretch out. The first side is a lot more structured and song-oriented, although the 10-minute opener "Trauma" also features lengthy improvisations. "Same Old Reason" is a strong tune with harpsichord and nice themes. The ballad "Daredatta" is sung in Japanese and dominated by the flute of Miki Curtis. "Vision of Tomorrow" is a straightforward and traditional 70's hard rock song. Overall, quite solid and enjoyable stuff if you're into early 70's heavy progressive rock with lengthy solos and instrumental passages. http://www.vintageprog.com/sss.htm

Samurai – a Japanese group led by vocalist/flautist Miki Curtis. They went to Europe in late 1967, picking up some European members and thus becoming half-Japanese. In London they recorded a single and their debut album, the double-LP [so I’m told] ‘Samurai’ a.k.a. ‘Miki Curtis & Samurai’ [German Metronome, 1970], as well as a single only released in Italy. They should not be confused with the UK group of the same name, who released a self-titled LP on Greenwich in 1971.

Their second album, ‘Green Tea’ [Philips, 1970], is as far as I can tell simply a single-LP repackaging of the debut only released in Japan, to where the band had returned. The last album that I know of is ‘Kappa’ [Philips, 1971]. The band played a varied kind of psychedelic progressive rock, occasionally a bit hard-rocking, with jazzy and exotic Asian touches. They’ve been compared by Vernon Joyson to Andwella’s Dream and early Traffic. The music on their first album [the only one I’ve heard] is fairly accessible, but without at all sacrificing quality or creativity. On ‘Kappa’ they reputedly played lengthier tracks with more of a heavy progressive leaning. ‘Samurai’/’Green Tea’ [single LP version] was reissued on CD by P-Vine. The bass player, Tetsu Yamauchi, was later in Friends [see above], Free and The Faces, as well as pursuing a brief solo career. Drummer Yujin Harada was later in the last incarnation of Far East Family Band [see above]. Graham Smith, credited on harmonica on the first 2 albums, is probably the same person who later played violin in String Driven Thing and Van Der Graaf. http://www.recordheaven.net/japan.htm

1 - Trauma (10:18)
2 - Same Old Reason (2:49)
3 - Daredatta (3:38)
4 - Vision Of Tomorrow (3:52)
5 - King Riff And Snow Flakes (22:28

Line-up
- Miki Curtis: Vocals, Flute
- Joe Dunnet: Guitar
- Yamauchi Tetsuo: Bass
- Harada Yuji: Drums
- John Redfern: Organ
- Hiro Izumi: Guitar, Koto
- Mike Walker: Vocals, Piano
- Graham Smith: Harmonica

2 - Same Old Reason ...

Link for download "Samurai - 1971 - Kappa" in comments ...

14 comments:

isabelbc said...

Link: http://tinyurl.com/yzvaso

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! Thank you!

JB

ProgLazarus said...

I can't believe how much excellent music you folks regularly post to this site, which is one of my favorite blogs that I almost every day. It's not only the excellent music, but taking the time to post information about the artists or the album also. I don't know if others appreciate how much work that takes, but I do, and thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

hello my name is joe dunnett i've just found this site i wrote ,sang and played guitar on this album brings back some great memories sad about john ,tetsu where are you .

Alex B said...

Good album fo psych/prog, but a typical first release: excess of ideas on excess of non-sense jam sessions. Green Tea is better. But it worths knows this.

Munju said...

http://prognotfrog.blogspot.com/2006/11/samurai-samurai-or-green-tea-japan.html#comments

Anonymous said...

hello Joe Dunnett ,This is Koto I met you when I was in Germany long time ago.
Are you still with Liz Long?
I remember we used to listen to this album.

Anonymous said...

Hi koto yes i rember you ,i havent seen liz for over 30 years have you seen tetsu

watamu said...

Anyone know what Yujin Harada is doing now?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting and I really appreciate your brilliant work on this blog!

Peter Swaine said...

Hello Joe Dunnett.

Please, please contact me - its with regards to my close friend John Redfern.
peter dot swaine at skynet dot be

Anonymous said...

Joe Dunnett - this is Helga. Angie (remember her?) We are still best friends and she visited me in Brighton last October. We talked about old times and you were mentioned :) ...

mike walker said...

joe dunnett....this is mike walker. how they hangin', pal? there's no dates on these posts, so it could've been 10 years ago. if you see this, e-mail me: walktalker@gmail.com

sammy bennett said...

the link is invalid now :(

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