Sunday, November 12, 2006

Samurai - "Samurai" or "Green Tea" {Japan} [1970] (Heavy-Progressive)

"Samurai" or "Green Tea"

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.

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.

1 - Green Tea (5:37)
2 - Eagle's Eye (5:50)
3 - Boy With A Gun (5:07)
4 - 18th Century (1:02)
5 - Four Seasons (9:52)
6 - Mandalay (6:22)
7 - Daffy Drake (2:50)

- 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

1 - Green Tea ...
2 - Eagle's Eye ......
5 - Four Seasons ...

Link for download "Samurai" in comments ...


isabelbc said...


Anonymous said...

Does anybody know which Japanese city they came from?

Alex said...

Hello from Russia!!!
Thanks! I liked it but 'd like to listen to "Kappa" more. Could you please post it???

Anonymous said...

Japan used heavy machinery supplier said...

I would really like to listen "Kappa" once more.

isabelbc said...

Kappa here

Gligor said...

thank you for sharing, you are wonderful. Greetings from Belgrade.

greenlight said...

Thanks a lot

Anonymous said...

Can you upload the 2LP version of Green Tea, please?
I would like to listen the songs Intermediate Stages and Five Tone Blues.
I love this album.

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