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Samson – Riding With the Angels
Ah, Samson – one of my earlier NWOBHM obsessions – these guys are of course, most well-known due to their being the springboard for Bruce Bruce’s joining legendary British metallers Iron Maiden. But don’t dismiss ‘em so quickly; Samson rocked hard, albeit with a different style than any of Bruce’s other musical projects (especially Maiden), and this single features my favourite all time track by these working class hard rockin’ heroes from London. ‘Riding with the Angels’ is great NWOBHM – catchy and enjoyable; very good-timey sorta party music, while ‘Little Big Man’ is another pretty well-known favourite from this NWOBHM stalwart. Good times and good tunes to be found on this fairly hard to track down single. In any case, the lyric “Banshee Wails” makes an appearance!
Your title track revolves around the strong and forceful performance of Bruce Dickinson. On first listen to this track, or indeed the full-length it contributed to, you’ll realize that Bruce’s great vocals didn’t just happen as soon as the recording sessions for ‘Number of the Best’ – indeed, several years earlier, Bruce’s voice sounds as great as ever. However, Samson’s style is very much more hard rock/traditional NWOBHM sounding, so you don’t get the same number of soaring highs you do from his latter efforts. Anyway, awesome hook in the chorus here featuring those superb vocals. Riffs are simplistic and dirty – kinda remind of Motorhead around the time they recorded (not released) ‘On Parole’ (late 70’s). ‘Little Big Man’ doesn’t quite have the awesome chorus that the a-side does, but the verse vocals are superb, and the chorus isn’t no slouch either. In fact, it’s almost as catchy. The way the vocals are twinned sounds great – more Bruce for the masses. The upbeat, almost boogie-ish one of the track almost reminds me of a good ZZ Top track (check the guitar tone in the solo section) very fun, catchy stuff. The formula here is simple, simple, simple – just great hard rock sounding stuff, easy riffs, and an upbeat attitude. For comparisons I’d say Saxon, maybe Girlschool. Either way, there’s no better starting point to the Bruce era of the band (they became pretty shit after he left – the vocalist replacement was not good) than these two nifty little tracks.