This is another of Esoteric’s marvellous revisitations of a lost classic album, which they seem to be finding and reissuing on a regular basis nowadays. In my opinion, this is not a bad thing, especially when they find a real gem like this 1971 album from Steamhammer.
Steamhammer were a Progressive Blues rock band with an interesting history. Originally formed in 1968 by Vocalist Kieran White and Guitarist Martin Quittenton, who later played on Rod Stewart classics like Maggie May and You Wear it Well. At one stage Steve Joliffe, later of Cyclone-era Tangerine Dream, was a member, however, by 1970 the band were a quartet of Kieran White, Martin Pugh, Steve Davy and Mick Bradley and after being the backing band for visiting bluesmen like Freddie KIng they set about recording this, their third album, for the B and C Label.
Their sound had morphed from the earlier blues boom sound to incorporate various Jazz influences, and this album is a bridge between their earlier style and a more progressive track they took on later releases. I have to say that it is only with repeated listenings that the true worth of this album emerges, but when it does it is a thing of great value. Mainly blues-based, it has some great instrumental passages, especially on the two live tracks recorded at The Lyceum in London which are very interesting indeed, concisely capturing the power and versatility of the band and with a great bass and guitar section that is especially gripping. It is an earthy sounding disc which played loud will rattle your speakers. In Martin Pugh, Steamhammer had a strong guitarist who could seriously play some sizzling leads.
If you like early ’70s progressive blues then this album will be right up your street as it is a consistently strong and vibrant album. The booklet has an in-depth history and reminisces about the band and the recording of this particular album and features the original innovative artwork in full.
01. I Wouldn’t Have Thought That (Gopher’s Song) (5:41)
02. Levinia (3:22)
03. Henry Lane (3:54)
04. Walking Down the Road (3:44)
05. Mountains (5:37)
06. Leader of the Ring (2:53)
07. Riding on the L&N [Live] (10:12)
08. Hold That Train [Live] (5:45)
Total Time – 41:08
Kieran white, Guitar, Vocals.
Martin Pugh – Guitars
Steve Davy – Bass, Vocals
Mick Bradley – Drums
Keith Nelson – Banjo (on Henry Lane)
Record Label: Esoteric Recordings
Catalogue#: ECLEC 2549
Year of Release: 2016