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Steamhammer MK II  album cover
4.04 | 57 ratings | 8 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1969

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)

Total Time: 49:30
Additional Tracks:
11. Junior's Wailing (single version) (3:30)
12. Windmill (4:28)
13. Autumn Song (4:09)
14. Blues For Passing People (6:26)

Total Time: 69:33

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

Releases information

LP Abraxas - AK243
CD Repertoire - REP 4236
CD Akarma - AK243 (bonus tracks)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
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STEAMHAMMER MK II ratings distribution

(57 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(68%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars Easily Steamhammer's crowning achievment (certainly as far as progheads are concerned) , although many rockers will prefer Mountains. The main difference with this album and other Steamhammer albums is Steve Joliffe who is not unknown to progheads since he went through Tangerine Dream , albeit on their controversial Cyclone , the only TD album to have acoustic instruments and yes! Vocals!!!!

Hardly controversial Mk II album, though as it is simply their most refined album , much thanks to the afore-mentioned Joliffe who playds KBs but also flutes and saxes. B ut howeever progressive this effort may be , don't look here for CTTE or SEBTP, as the general resulting music gives a very pleasant proto-prog but hardly anything groundbreaking or earth-shattering. Martin Pugh and Kerrian White make a solid duo on guitars but clearly the addition of KBs and winds is the difference.

Easily the highlight is the 16 min+ Travelling tune but also noteworthy are the bonus tracks which are non-album rarities except for the single version of Junior's Wailing (present on their debut album). A real classy album and a must for early 70's loving progheads.

Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is another surprisingly elaborated record of the 60's. Sometimes, the tracks are blues, hard rock and jazzy with excellent sax parts. There are also some psychedelic elements revealed by the harpsichord and the typical fuzzy guitar notes a la early Pink Floyd. The omnipresent hard rock/bluesy electric guitar has a pretty conventional sound: there are some good solos, but the sound is a bit subdued. Steve Joliffe, who contributed for the Tangerine Dream's Cyclone album, plays here the flute & the harpsichord parts: I cannot recognize his typical expressive voice present like on the Cyclone album, but some of his flute parts are identifiable, slightly approaching the PFM's and the Ian Anderson's styles. The tracks are not particularly catchy. There are very good fast and complex drums parts.
Review by stefro
4 stars 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 by ALotOfBottle
5 stars Steamhammer's excellent sophomore effort came out in 1970 - a magical year for progressive rock. That was when most bands created their debuts. Something was being born. Something new was comming. "MK II" marks (a little pun for you there) the time when most blues rock bands started including elements from outside blues to their music. Steamhammer was no exception. And even though it is largely based on blues, a lot more influences are visible. An outstandingly talented flautist Steve Jolliffe (later of Tangerine Dream) joined, giving the group a much more eclectic taste. Martin Pugh's great guitar-playing taste gives you goose bumps. Kieran White's amazing voice once again doesn't disappoint. This work goes from "6/8 For Amiran", an Arabic-inspired music with great singing, guitar, flute and haunring rhythm, through folk-influenced "Sunset Chase" to full-on modern blues "Contemporary Chick Con Song". A unique work and a masterpiece that always seemed to stay in a shade of better known projects. It's a shame that it did. 10/10 without hesitation!
Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars Listening to their first album "Reflection" and then putting on "MK II" you are quite amazed to hear the steps that have been taken in just a short while, seeing both albums released the same year. The debut album by Steamhammer sees a blues rock band with a jazzy inclination but their second effort shows a band that matured rapidly and had begun fusing together elements to what can rightly be called progressive rock. On this album they adopt a style that sees comparisons with the likes of Colosseum, adding brass and horns. Thus fusing folk, jazz, blues, rock and then some into a handsome and stylish prog album.

The change is evident on the opener "Supposed to be free" which is a real gem but it doesn't stop there. It just keeps on going. "Johnny Carl Morton" is the second track and the first one that, I think, really shows some genuine complexity. A forceful, cembalo driven piece with a sometime Comus-esque vocals, if that makes sense. "Sunset chase" is hauntingly beautiful little instrumental piece preceding the great and magnificent blues number "COntemporary chick con song". Although that track isn't particularily progressive it's still one hell of a song. "Turn around" is flute heaven and here tou get flowing jazzy stuff with a great folky bottom.

I dislike all comparisons to Jethro Tull as soon as there is a flute around but the song "6/8 for Amiran" sounds alot like something from "Stand up". It would not surprise me one bit if Steamhammer had been listening to Tull. I mean, who wouldn't? "Passing through" is great song with a wonderful melody line. "Down along the grove" is a short instrumental piece that sees them exploring a folky, almost medieval path. And then it hits you, the 16 minute long "epic" of the album. Wonderful flute opens the whole thing, before a great guitar riff and then you're off. It's very much a jamming sensation to the proceedings but what a jam! It's one of those songs that just keeps you going, wanting it to last forever.

Apart from the superb musicianship, the progressive steps taken and wonderful vocals I have always been struck by the enormous warmth and love that pours out of the speakers (or headphones) when I listen to this album. It is gentle, it is rough and always warm and inviting. There is something very special about Steamhammer that I find not very many bands can or have been able to provide. What that is? Hard to say. It lies hidden in the performance, a subtlety, a je ne sais quoi.

Anyway, a great album and a certain must for anyone who has any interest in early progressive rock, from a time when the genre barely existed as an entity. A time when genres was mixed, fused and blended and perfected into something very unique and exciting. If Colosseum, Jethro Tull and that sort of bands are to your taste I will bet that you'll find a whole lot to discover and cherish here.

Latest members reviews

4 stars STEAMHAMMER were a British Blues-Rock band with four albums to their credit. Their first self-titled album, released in 1969, was firmly rooted in the blues, but the album under review here, "MK II" (1969), contains more progressive Jazz-Rock influences. They released two further albums, "Mounta ... (read more)

Report this review (#2299422) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Tuesday, December 24, 2019 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm all for progress when it comes to musicians expanding their sound, but while this album is ultimately fairly successful, it plays a little too closely with serious misstep. The debut album had such a warm, inviting sound. Beautifully produced and executed with real care, but also an admir ... (read more)

Report this review (#1411256) | Posted by Jeff Carney | Saturday, May 9, 2015 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Steamhammer's second album shows great evolution: their first album was rooted exclusively in blues. This album is more jazzy than the first, thanks to the addition of saxophonist/flutist Steve Joliffe. Mr. Hugues Chantraine got it right: prog-rock fans will probably enjoy this album and will ... (read more)

Report this review (#42012) | Posted by M. B. Zapelini | Monday, August 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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