SAMSON – Mr. Rock and Roll: Live 1981-2000
The 1984 live album ("Thank You and Good Night") shows a band firing on all cylinders with Nicky Moore’s passionate yet gritty voice sparkling like a fucking diamond. The musicianship is stellar and the sound quality leaves nothing to be desired. Just listen to how "Losing My Grip" slides into "Vice Versa" – I get the chills every time I hear that. Blistering riffs and thunderous bass lines are stacked on top of each other and there is no shortage of energy or dynamics anywhere in sight.
The "Live At Mildenhall" 1982 EP is a short 3-song release containing fist-pumping anthems such as "Driving Z.Z.!" and "Riding With the Angels". This is the kind of stuff that makes you wish that you were there when this was captured on tape in Mildenhall all those years ago.
"Live at The Marquee 1986" is a sharp and punchy romp through exceptionally well-crafted compositions such as "Stranger", "Tell Me", and "Earth Mother". It is somewhat rough around the edges and the sound is slightly murky at times, but the actual performance is vibrant and electric. The three studio recordings that have been added as a bonus are utterly solid as well.
"The Blues Nights (Slight Return) 1981-1997" features various recordings by different constellations involving talented musicians such as Nick Payn, Chris Aylmer, and Graham Walker among others. We are talking jams and recordings from various projects, tribute shows, and the likes. Not the most exciting or thrilling one of the bunch, but Samson completists will love it and it has to be said that the renditions of "Voodoo Chile" and "Love That Burns" are entertaining.
"Live in London 2000" features the excellent Thunderstick on drums, which provides the recording with a vibrant and lively feel. An epic final UK Samson show with every member of the band being right on the money is what the fourth disc is all about. Nicky Moore sounds fabolous, especially on "Earth Mother", "Turn Out the Lights", and the kick-ass "Mr. Rock and Roll".
The Samson material ranges from bluesy and laidback to raging and fierce pieces that encompass everything that makes heavy metal great. That Paul Samson had a knack for writing catchy songs that sounded wondrous in a live setting is evidenced by more or less all the different shows and performances that these four discs cover. The accompanying liner notes offer a lot of interesting perspectives and thoughts on Samson and are eloquently written. You see, the Samson story is a compelling narrative that is worth studying in detail. Is "Mr. Rock and Roll: Live 1981-2000" essential? You bet!