SAMSON – Joint Forces: 1986-1993 [Expanded Edition remastered] (2017)
Specialized British label Cherry Red Records / Hear No Evil has started a reissue campaign of SAMSON albums, fully remastered into expanded packages. “Joint Forces: 1986-1993 [Expanded Edition remastered]” features 3 Samson albums appeared between these years, and all quite musically different ranging from hard rock to ’80s AOR.
The band founded by Paul Samson are mostly known for being one of the pioneer acts of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal, an being the first vehicle for future Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson.
They released two albums, “Head On” and “Shock Tactics” to critical acclaim, touring with Rainbow, Robin Trower and Uriah Heep. Dickinson was replaced by ex-Hackensack and Tiger powerhouse vocalist Nicky Moore for a run of albums on Polydor records.
By the mid-Eighties, Samson as unit, disbanded.
In 1986, Paul Samson released the solo album “Joint Forces”, including anyway ex Samson members bassist John McCoy and keyboard player Colin Towns (ex Ian Gillan Band).
So after recruiting ex- Sinner drummer Edgar Patrik, along with Moore on lead vocals, and with guest appearances from Colin Towns, Rock Goddess, and drummer Chris Sharley, the album was produced by Jo Julian, who had produced Samson’s Before The Storm album in 1982.
Mainly written by Samson and Moore, the album included the single ‘No Turning Back’, which showed a lighter side to Samson, and was released as a single.
Overall, the “Joint Forces” album sounds like the commercial ’80s Rainbow, both with J L Turner (melodic) and Bonnet (edgy hard rock). It’s arena hard rock with that mid-80s clean, polished production.
Moore, often a divisive voice in the view of critics, turns in a fine display on what is a solid and in places cracking set of songs, the likes of “Tramp” (also featuring Rock Goddess’s Jody Turner on co-vocals – the rest of her band providing backup singing), “Tales Of The Fury” and the strangely commercial Blackfoot like “The Russians Are Coming”, all making a strong impression.
As was the way with Samson, things didn’t last, McCoy and Moore leaving to form Mammoth, and Samson hitting the road with Iron Maiden to promote “Joint Forces” under the new banner of Paul Samson’s Empire.
For his next project, Paul retained Samson’s Empire vocalist Mick White, and recruited Toby Sadler on keyboards (ex- Airrace), Dave Boyce on bass (ex- Ore), and Charlie Mac on drums (ex- Emerson).
Paul decided to go back to using the name Samson for this band, with a younger image, the group followed a much more commercial direction.
The original release was a five track mini-album titled ‘And There It Is’, but when the mini-album was given a CD later, re-titled “1988”, Paul added six previously unreleased tracks from that period.
If ‘Joint Forces’ had been a surprise for the band’s long term followers, “1988” were a shock, a collection of Melodic Rock sheen that verges into out and out AOR.
This is Samson full-on the second half of the ’80s sound, and while his signature guitar riffs & solos are still there, the keys / synths are all over the songs.
“Reach Out To Love”, “Good To See You” and “Tomorrow” are all classy commercial AORish rockers, unheard by most fans of the genre, and very recommended.
When the 90s began, Paul Samson decided that he was ready to go back to a trio and return to lead vocals, reforming the 1977 band with Chris Aylmer and Clive Burr, but after Clive joined Praying Mantis, Paul invited Rogues’ drummer Tony Tuohy along to record the self-titled “Samson” album.
The material was definitely back to blues-based hard rock. The lyrical subjects were a departure too, reflecting on Paul’s life, friendships, relationships and even the religious fanatics that used to knock at his door.
Produced by Paul and Arthur Anderson, this album really captures his guitar sound, probably more so than any other release, and Paul’s voice is ideal for the material, with a solid backing from Chris and Tony.
Subsequent reissues saw this album re-titled as “Nineteen Ninety Three”.
Paul Samson guitar playing is always interesting, and whether hammering out NWOBHM barnstormers, Hard Rock anthems, AOR attention grabbers, or intense Blues workouts, the one thing you can be sure of is that Paul Samson mastered them all.
Grouped together in this great remastered reissue, and across only two discs, “Joint Forces”, “1988” and “Nineteen Ninety-Three” really showcases Paul’s many sides.
You have ’80s hard rock in “Joint Forces”, ’80s AOR / Melodic Rock in “1988”, and bluesy hard in “Nineteen Ninety-Three”.
That said, with an interesting essay from Malcolm Dome that gathers the thoughts of many of those involved in all the three albums – all who reinforce what a talent and a gent Paul Samson was – and some vintage magazine clippings in the booklet in the Rock Candy fashion, this is an excellent set and one that again highlights how much more recognition Paul Samson deserved.
You’ve seen it first here, at 0dayrox
“JOINT FORCES” (1986) Remastered
01. THE CHOSEN FEW
03. BURNING EMOTION
04. NO TURNING BACK
05. TELL ME
06. TALES OF THE FURY
07. THAT AIN’T ALL
08. POWER OF LOVE
09. THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING
10. REACH OUT TO LOVE
01. TOO LATE
02. THE SILVER SCREEN
03. I MUST BE CRAZY
04. DON’T TURN AWAY
05. GOOD TO SEE YOU
07. I’M NEVER GONNA TO LOSE CONTROL
08. DON’T TELL ME IT’S OVER
09. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU’RE FOOLIN’
11. ONE DAY HEROES
NINETEEN NINETY-THREE (1993) Remastered
01. HEY YOU
03. BACK TO YOU
04 THE WORD
05. ROOM 109
06. SLIP AWAY
07. CAN YOU IMAGINE?
08. IT AIN’T FAIR
09. USE IT BEFORE YOU LOSE IT
10. THE EDGE
11. WHEN WILL I SEE YOU AGAIN?
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