Samson, passed away at his Norfolk, England home during the afternoon of Friday,
August 9th 2002 following a lengthy battle with cancer.
Samson - Survivors (Sanctuary) 1979
1. "It's Not as Easy
as It Seems" (3:07)
All the songs on Samson's debut were co-written by guitarist Paul Samson and Gillan bassist/songwriter John McCoy. Also making a guest appearance is Gillan's Collin Towns on keys. It is also interesting to note that while Bruce Bruce (Bruce Dickinson) is listed as vocalist and is pictured on the cover, he didn't actually do the vocals on this disc. Apparently the album was recorded before Bruce joined. The band started off as a trio, with guitarist Paul Samson taking on the vocal duties as well. Also on board was bassist Chris Aylmer and the masked drummer "Thunderstick'" (Barry Graham). The music is certainly comparable to other New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands that were beginning to rule the world around this time (Judas Priest, Saxon, Iron Maiden, etc.) with a slightly bluesier Deep Purple type sound. This could be the influence of the Gillan members. I also wonder if this where Bruce Dickinson first met future Maiden guitarist Janick Gers, who was with Gillan around the time of this recording in '78-'79. The cover art on this disc is quite pompous. The cover features a painting of the band standing on top of deceased personalities such as Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Adolf Hitler, Al Capone, Samson, Cleopatra and a host of other well known individuals. The re-release features a nice 8-page booklet with a bio and some live photos. The photos of Bruce sporting a mustache are rather amusing.
Samson - Shock Tactics (Sanctuary) 1982
1. "Riding With the
From every review I have ever read, this is Samson's best album. Having only heard two other of their discs, I can only sort of agree. 'Shock Tactics' was the last Samson album to feature Bruce Bruce on vocals. The music was still in the NWOBHM tradition mixed with Deep Purple, but Bruce's vocals just bring this album to life. The man can sing! Certainly this is what makes this album stick out over contemporaries like Diamond Head and Tygers of Pan Tang. AC/DC produced Tony Platt also helped make this album scream. The album starts off with one of the band's finest songs, which happens to be written by Russ Ballard, but continues to stay strong throughout. It's no wonder Maiden snapped this guy up. He had the singing lungs of Ian Gillan and the scream of Rob Halford.
Samson - Live At Reading '81 (Sanctuary) 1990
1 "Big Brother"
An electrifying live album from early NWOBHM favorites Samson. As is clearly seen on the front cover, this concert featured vocalist Bruce Dickinson, known at the time as Bruce Bruce. This was actually the last show that Bruce did with Samson and it was also the show that convinced Steve Harris and manager Rod Smallwood to hire Dickinson to sing for Iron Maiden. As great as Bruce sounds on this CD, the entire band is actually quite tight. Many of the bands best early tracks appear here including blinding versions of "Big Brother," the furiously heavy "Take It Like a Man," and the melodic, Maiden-esque "Riding With the Angels." The recording here isn't perfect, but is very listenable and captures an energy that cannot be found on the band's studio releases. Fans of the NWOBHM scene, Samson, or Bruce Dickinson scene would do themselves well to check out this CD. I actually prefer it to the band's early studio releases.
Samson - Refugee (Communique/Rough Trade) 1990
Samson, a name associated with the NWOBHM movement, albeit one that never saw the success of bands like Raven, Iron Maiden or Def Leppard. Still, Samson were a force to be reckoned with, having spawned one of metal's greatest singers in Bruce Dickinson. However, after Bruce Bruce split to join Maiden, Samson's albums were spotty. "Refugee", however, is a strong album. Unlike the "heavy metal" tag put on Samson, however, this disc slips more into the hard rock mode. Vocalist Peter Scallan is a very good vocalist and really helps this disc to shine. His high, clean pipes really shine on songs like album opener "Can't Live Without Your Love", "Look To The Future" and "Stage of Emergency." The only exception might be "Good to See You" which sports a completely different vocalist (Gary Owen), which is a bit odd since this is the album's opening track. Some of the music on this disc reminds me of the classic metal sounds of bands like UFO and Victims-era Gary Moore. Paul Samson is in fine form on this disc. His axe weilding reminding me at times of Micheal Schenker on this disc. "Room 109" in particular features some stellar guitar work. This particular song was later re-recorded for the band's self-title 1993 CD.
Samson (Progressive) 1993
1. "Hey You"
Samson circa 1993 sounds a bit like Robin Trower circa 1976. Being a fan of Trower's style of heavy blues rock, I can certainly appreciate this Samson disc as well, but it was a bit surprising hearing it coming from a band that started out as a NWOBHM band with a masked drummer named Thunderstick. Paul Samson takes on the vocal duties for this disc, and while he does a commendable job, he is a far better guitarist than vocalist. However his Joe Perry style vocals works better with this style of music than it would with straight forward heavy metal. This disc was an unexpected gift from a friend. (Thanks Kurt)
Samson - Burning Emotion/The Best of 1985-1990 (Magnum) 1995
1. "Burning Emotion"
Ahhh, a surprise disc from a trader friend in Norway. (Thanks kmorg) I have actually only familiarized myself with the band's first three albums, so listening to this disc was quite a surprise in itself, as Paul Samson and his band strayed far from the original NWOBHM sounds that they helped to build in the early 80's. The sound is much more commercial hard rock than any of those releases. What else is surprising is that the material is quite good. Paul is a proficient player, but I imagine he must have had a large attitude due to the fact that he went through band members with each and every album. This best of package takes tracks from four different albums and features a different vocalist on each new album. I would imagine this may be why the band never developed a larger following, as Sampson became more of a Paul solo project than it did an actual band. Still, like I said, the music is quite good. May have to investigate some more of Sampson's material.