Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Steamhammer - MKII (1969)


More blues-rock than prog-rock, Steamhammer's second album would see this powerful outfit begin to accomodate more progressive elements into their rough 'n' ready sound, yet also affirm their wonderfully earthy style thanks to that rare mixture of grit and polish that is rarely found in late 20th century rock music. By now featuring their 'classic' line-up of Kieran White(vocals, guitar), Steve Davy(bass), Martin Pugh(guitar) and Mick Bradley(drums) and augmented by wandering multi-instrumentalist and future Tangerine Dream member Steve Joliffe, 'MK II' rivals follow-up effort 'Mountains' for the title of best Steamhammer album thanks to it's nicely-judged brew of ever-so-slight psychedelic ingredients, heavy riffing, old-style blues workouts and the occasional complex musical workout(evident on the superb sixteen-minute epic 'Another Travelling Tune'. Though their progressive rock credentials are rather thin, Steamhammer's muscular blues-drenched musical course makes lightweight groups such as Greenslade, Curved Air and The Strawbs seem positively feeble, especially when the group let their musical imaginations run away with them. The group's real strength lies in guitarist Martin Pugh's dextrous playing and Kieran White's gruff vocals, yet this is very much band music made by men who have obviously been playing on the road for sometime. Later albums such as 'Speech' - their ill-judged foray into prog-rock proper - would find the line- up fragmenting and the original magic slipping away, yet, for a few brief years Steamhammer were genuinely the real deal, straddling the gaping chasm between blues and prog with genuine aplomb. Highly recommended. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011 Review from Progarchives.com

PLAYLIST LINK

 Songs / Tracks Listing 

 1. Supposed To Be Free (5:59)
2. Johnny Carl Morton (4:38)
3. Sunset Chase (3:02)
4. Contemporary Chick Con Song (3:49)
5. Turn Around (3:36)
6. 6/8 For Amiran (3:04)
7. Passing Through (5:17)
8. Down Along The Grove (0:47)
9. Another Travelling Tune (16:23)
10. Fran And Dee Take a Ride (2:58)

Line-up / Musicians
 
- Steve Jolliffe / flute, harpsichord, keyboards, saxophone (Alto), vocals, wind
- Kieran White / guitar, harmonica, Jew's-Harp, vocals
- Mickey Bradley / percussion, conga, drums
- Steve Davy / bass, guitar (bass), vocals
- Martin Pugh / guitar, guitar (electric), vocals


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