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At first glace this compilation looks like a real cheap release trying to milk some money from the Samson name. The first sign of this is the terrible cover art which features a white picture of Paul Samson over an orange back ground. Very cheap and ugly looking. The second sign is thee title “Burning Emotion: The Best Of 1985-1990”. What kind of title is that? Best of 1985-1990? A best of covering 5 years and 2 albums? It’s gotta be a joke right? Well it’s not all what it seems.
Yes it does contain some “best of” tracks from the 1988 album Joint Forces and the 1990 album Refugee, but its also loaded with some real hidden treasure tracks that definitely make this release worth picking up for Samson fans.
The compilation opens with 4 tracks taken from the album ‘Joint Forces’. Joint Forces is actually the album which I consider to be Samson’s worst. I really don’t like that album at all. It was a bluesy sounding experiment for the band and Nicky Moore’s vocals were lousy. I do have to admit they did pick the better of the tracks off of that album.
After suffering through the first four tracks, the album kicks in gear with its collector rarities. The three tracks Stranger, Don’t Turn Away, and Tomorrow actually are three demo’s that weren’t recorded under the “Samson” name. They were actually recorded under the name “Paul Samson’s Empire”. Sadly a studio album under that name never evolved, there there was live album released under that name. The demos actually don’t sound all that different from something that would have been recorded under the “Samson” name. There are decent hard rockers that are only limited by their production value as they do have a “demo” ring to their sound. Decent tracks though.
Track 8 is where the greatness begins. Tracks 8 & 9, The Silver Screen and Too Late are taken from the ‘And There It Is’ EP, which ahs never been released on the CD format. The songs actually were re-recorded for the album Refugee with Peter Scallan on vocals. These originally versions feature vocalist Mike White. Mike White isn’t as good as the vocalist on the Refugee versions, but he’s decent in his own right. These songs definitely have an “80’s” sound to them. It’s actually quit refreshing compared to the blues experimental material off of Joint Forces. The next two tracks Don’t Close Your Eyes and Fight for Your Life. Also feature Mike White. They were recorded for an album to be called ‘Ignition’, but do to a change of vocalist, the album was never completed. These tracks make this compilation worth buying alone. Good songs that are more straight forward heavy metal.
Tracks 12, 13, and 15 are taken from the surprisingly good album Refugee, and these three tracks are great. Sandwiched in between those on track 14 is the song Don’t Tell Me It’s Over. This song was an outtake from the album Refugee and is only available on this compilations. Good song too that fits perfectly on that album and it is a shame it was taken off.
In conclusion this “best of” release is disguised to be a greatest hits compilation when in reality its not made for passive fans ore people new to Samson. It really is made for die hard fans that would like to have some of Samson’s rarest songs, for those die hard fans I recommend this compilation whole heartedly.