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Samson: Look To The Future, Refugee & P.S�

Having folded the hard rocking Samson to form the bluesier Paul Samson's Empire and then ended that band as well, guitarist and sometime singer Paul Samson decided that he wanted to head in a more AOR direction. To do so he hired keyboard player Toby Sadler (Airrace) and bassist Dave Boyce (who'd go on to form Skyscraper), while also utilising the drum skills of Charlie 'Mack' MacKenzie. With Samson's voice always a little rougher and tougher than this new setting would suit, singer Peter Scallan (Moritz) was brought on board and the quintet set about recording what was intended to be the comeback Samson album, Ignition. The band's leader would begin sending out finished copies of his new album to radio and press, before shopping it in America, where the guitarist was strongly advised that Ignition was too lightweight to have any chance of success. Release plans were shelved and instead Paul completely remixed what he had, replacing many of the bass parts and � as Sadler puts it in the extremely interesting liner notes � basically mixing the keyboards out of the album. Oddly Paul would also open this new version of his latest effort with a different song, "Good To See You", which initially featured on the 1988 EP with Mick White on vocals. However, this time he asked Gary Owen to sing it, so while Scallan features on the other vocal tracks on the subsequent Refugee album, Owen opens it; Scallan explaining in the booklet that he has no idea why this course was chosen, adding "Samson just worked like that...".

Nine of the tracks initially intended for Ignition ended up being reworked for Refugee, with the addition of "Good To See You" and a couple of guitar instrumental workouts and while this may all seem like a long way for a shortcut, Refugee was well received on its release in 1990 and is still a favourite with Samson fans to this day. However the real interest will be in the Ignition sessions, here dubbed Look To The Future and receiving their first official outing. The sound quality is a little below what you'd maybe hope for (a mix of the original masters, and Scallan and Boyce's personal recordings, combined to make for the best audio possible) but across the album the insistent keyboard-melodies and stinging guitar solos combine perfectly. What fans would have made of the bright and flashy "Someone To Turn To", the Foreigner fixated "State Of Emergency" or Tobruk like "Can't Live Without Your Love", I'm not sure. However, if you have a predilection for UK AOR from the 80s, the twelve tracks that would have made up Ignition are going to be a real discovery. "Don't Close Your Eyes" and "Fight For Your Life", previously released on the Burning Emotion compilation, are also included. The songs coming from the same sessions and also infused with the same ethos.

Refugee won't be a surprise on the same level. That is of course, unless you haven't heard it. For while this is largely the same songs from Ignition, and while they do possess a more bullish heart, the core of this album is still a guitar rich Melodic Rock monster. Four bonus tracks from a session for Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show also feature, showing how well the Refugee material would have fared in a live setting.

The Samson album followed in 1993 but then things went quiet until the turn of the century when Paul performed some shows with past members of his bands. Reinvigorated, he teamed up with ex-Samson frontman Nicky Moore, drummer Billy Fleming and bassist Ian Ellis. Tentative sessions were recorded here, there and everywhere (including a disused cow shed!), but sadly, on August 9th 2002 Paul Samson succumbed to cancer, leaving behind him a collection of part-finished recordings that he'd asked his friend John McCoy of Gillan to complete. Huge credit is due to McCoy for not only creating a good, if raw album from what he was handed but also for doing so under the most trying of circumstances. With neither Fleming or Ellis having been in Samson before, it was decided to release the album under Paul's name, rather than that of his band, the finished 2006 release taking on the fitting title P.S�

As you'd expect the results are a little disjointed, but the hammer smash of "No Way Out" is a full on rocker of some pedigree and the stinging guitar solo shows Samson's capabilities to the max. Moore's forceful vocals are perfect in these surrounds, giving "Do Right" a real authority as a judder riff breaks free, while a reworked "Brand New Day" takes the honours as the best track included.

This latest Samson boxset has a lot about it to recommend � and none less so than a previously unavailable full length album. However, with the clear links Ignition and Refugee have with the 1988 release, it might have made more sense for Cherry Red to put those three albums together and package the excellent, if decidedly different P.S... with Joint Forces and Samson. After all they do seem to have already thrown out any real sense of chronological order with the manner in which they've grouped these albums together. Still, this is an excellent collection of music and one that is a fitting tribute to the man who created it.


Track Listing
DISC ONE LOOK TO THE FUTURE (1989) TRACKS 1 � 12 PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED
1. LOOK TO THE FUTURE
2. SOMEONE TO TURN TO
3. TURN ON THE LIGHTS
4. LOVE THIS TIME
5. STATE OF EMERGENCY
6. DON'T TELL ME IT'S OVER
7. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE FOOLIN'
8. CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE
9. TOO LATE
10. LOSING MY GRIP
11. TOMORROW
12. THE SILVER SCREEN
BONUS IGNITION TRACKS
13. DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYE
14. FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE


DISC TWO REFUGEE (1990)
1. GOOD TO SEE YOU
2. CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT YOUR LOVE
3. TURN ON THE LIGHTS
4. LOVE THIS TIME
5. ROOM 109
6. STATE OF EMERGENCY
7. DON'T TELL ME IT'S OVER
8. LOOK TO THE FUTURE
9. SOMEONE TO TURN TO
10. TOO LATE
11. SAMURAI SUNSET
12. THE SILVER SCREEN
BONUS TRACKS: TOMMY VANCE BBC FRIDAY ROCK SHOW 1989/90
13. STATE OF EMERGENCY
14. SOMEONE TO TURN TO
15. LOVE THIS TIME
16. LOOK TO THE FUTURE


DISC THREE PS�. (2006)
1. NO WAY OUT
2. BRAND NEW DAY
3. MEAN WOMAN
4. DO RIGHT
5. IT'S GOING WRONG
6. BROKEN HEART
7. WHEN TOMORROW COMES
8. MURDER
9. GETTIN' READY
10. PRECIOUS TIME
11. SHOOTING FOR THE MOON

Added: May 2nd 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Look To The Future - Refugee - PS... at Ch
Hits: 757
Language: english

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