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STEAMHAMMER

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Steamhammer biography
Blues-rock band STEAMHAMMER was formed at the end of 1968 by Martin Quittenton (guitar), Kieran White (vocals, harmonica, guitar), Martin Pugh (guitar), Steve Davy (bass) and Michael Rushton (drums). Their first album, "Reflections" (AKA "Junior's Wailing") was released in 1969. After this first album, Quittenton and Rushton both quit the band to be replaced by Mick Bradley (drums) and Steve Joliffe (sax, flute), who gave a jazzy influence to the band in their second album, "Mk. II" (1969). Shortly after this release, Joliffe left the band, wich continued as a 4 piece in their third album "Mountains" (1970), which was a returning to the blues-rock of the first album. After a major turnover, Pugh and Bradley invited Louis Cennamo (bass) and, along with special guest Garth Watt-Roy (vocals), recorded "Speech" in 1971. This last album was released posthumously, after Bradley's death in 1972. Kieran White released a solo album; both Pugh and Cennamo formed Armageddon with Keith Relf in 1975. Martin Quittenton went to play with Rod Stewwart.

For blues-rock fans, "Reflections" and "Mountains" should be STEAMHAMMER's best albums. Progressive rock fans will find "Mk. II" more interesting. This is a highly recommended band to everybody interested in the late 60's British blues-rock scene, along with SAVOY BROWN, BAKERLOO or JOHN MAYALL'S BLUESBREAKERS.

: : : M. B. Zapelini, BRAZIL : : :

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Buy STEAMHAMMER Music


Mk 2Mk 2
Extra tracks · Import · Remastered
Repertoire 2006
Audio CD$8.15
$8.93 (used)
SteamhammerSteamhammer
Import
Bellaphon Germany 1991
Audio CD$9.00
$8.00 (used)
Riding on the L & N: AnthologyRiding on the L & N: Anthology
Import
Repertoire 2012
Audio CD$8.13
$8.12 (used)
MountainsMountains
Import
Repertoire 1990
Audio CD$7.73
$4.59 (used)
ReflectionReflection
Import
Repertoire 2010
Audio CD$9.41
$9.40 (used)
SpeechSpeech
Import
REPERTOIRE 2009
Audio CD$7.84
$7.83 (used)
Junior's WailingJunior's Wailing
Import
Repertoire 1999
Audio CD$8.53
$6.55 (used)
ReflectionReflection
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$7.97
$6.17 (used)
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STEAMHAMMER Junior's Wailing CD European Repertoire 1999 16 Track (Rep4797Wg) USD $12.48 Buy It Now 1 day
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Steamhammer II Steamhammer vinyl LP album record UK REF.L12 REFLECTION 1971 USD $75.75 Buy It Now 2 days
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Mountains by Steamhammer (CD, Jul-2016, Esoteric Recordings) USD $11.64 Buy It Now 2 days
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Sodom by Sodom (CD, May-2006, Steamhammer) USD $20.13 Buy It Now 2 days
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Evil Dead - Underworld CD 1991 Steamhammer USD $21.53 Buy It Now 3 days

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STEAMHAMMER discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEAMHAMMER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 23 ratings
Reflection
1969
4.04 | 37 ratings
MK II
1969
3.84 | 34 ratings
Mountains
1970
3.07 | 31 ratings
Speech
1972

STEAMHAMMER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

STEAMHAMMER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

STEAMHAMMER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.22 | 8 ratings
Junior's Wailing
1999

STEAMHAMMER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

STEAMHAMMER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Speech by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.07 | 31 ratings

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Speech
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by steamhammeralltheway

5 stars Finally, finally after 45 years is this album is starting to be given its just due. For me it's the most underrated album of all time. I first heard it in about 1987 (I was in kindergarden when it came out) and thought, "wow." Well I am still going "wow."

The reason I feel that Steamhammer didn't get the attention they deserved was that they were actually three bands, they evolved so quickly. This is highly unusual for a rock band and inhibits acquisition of a loyal fan base. Steamhammer started out bluesy, then moved into the "Passing Through"/ "Johnny Carl Morton" phase of spacy, melodic material. Then in their most mature period, they release the burst of intense genius known as Speech. I'm sure fans didn't know what to think. New fans had little place to turn after the drummer Mick Bradley's untimely death soon after the Speech recording. In the ashes guitarist MartinPugh formed supergroup Armageddon with what was left of Steamhammer, basically bassist Louis Cennamo. Singer on Speech Garth Watt-Roy was not a regular band member. Drummer Bobby Caldwell of likeminded Captain Beyond and rock veteran Keith Relf, singer of background vocals on Speech, round out Armageddon. Then Relf dies and Armageddon is history. Double tragedy strikes Pugh and Cennamo!

Speech is so special, the kind of record that comes once in a listener's lifetime. Words here, especially from no great poet like myself scarcely do it justice. Go to youtube and listen to it full album. Yet I think Speech deserves a detailed paean to its greatness; I will attempt it. My favorite track "Penumbra," is 22 minutes of pure glory. My friends ask me how my favorite song needs to be five times as long as their faves. Well as engaging as it is, it could have even been longer. Really it transcends time. The listener is so enraptured, rational attributes like clock time don't enter the picture. The composition starts out with an atmospheric dungeony vibe with a single stringed instrument. I thank the other reviewer for ID'ing the instrument as a bowed bass. Then wild lead guitar work takes over. Pugh is an extremely accomplished and unique guitarist. The guitar solo backed by Bradley's expert drumming is about a minute. This gives way to a dramatic section with a haunting vocal. Next comes truly psychedelic guitar and tom madness. I would imagine any of you acid takers out there would be freaking in a very positive way. Certainly for us non-indulgers, it is the pinnacle of Nik Turner's definition of pyschedelic music: something to emulate or replace the chemical trip.

But "Penumbra" is only getting underway, into what I call the tribal fiesta section. This gotta be the best acid trip in the world, and no-one necessarily has ingested anything! The guitar is caressing, though pretty shreddy, and the drum-work like what you'd find in "Magic Carpet Ride," but ten times better. Things quiet down for a bit, getting atmospheric. Then guitar with a very forceful, tone(don't ask me how these sound are created-- I have minimal guitar experience) launches into another melody. An equally forceful vocal comes on, then echoey, droning instrumentation and a grand finale full of mesmerizing echo and what sounds like sitar, perhaps just the guitar pedal-dunno. All the while those drums just won't let up. You feel like you have been transplanted to Haight Ashbury in its heyday.

The next track, "Telegram," almost half the length of "Penumbra," starts with jazz chords not unlike your classic prog --Yes, Genesis, what have you. But it's far more guitar oriented. Pugh goes into high gear, a gong sounds and some fairyland-like strumming ensues. Hard proggy guitar blasts this away. The second vocal begins. There is a lot of vocal on this track, in contrast to "Penumbra" 's vocal sparseness, but the singing is on equal amplitude with guitars, not either in the foreground or background. Next comes a riff rounded out by a chorus and toms. The riff is then set to spacy sound effects. This is an extremely complex song with many different guitar and vocal sections. The writing dwarfs even prog's assumed greatest.

At about eight minutes, arrives sparser but crescedoing guitar accented by Bradley's trademark drumming. Then there's an outpouring of guitar and drum intensity. Being exposed to stuff like this may explain why I stopped listening to those three minute, formulated 1960s "nuggets" and really any music that has no development.

"For Against," a track of about equal length as "Telegram" opens with a guitar melody built of jazz chords but hard rock in delivery. Bradley gradually assume center-stage with the drum solo to end all drum solos. It is never for a minute boring because Bradley was obviously one of the world drumming greats. (It also is very beneficial to listen through headphones; disclaimer: I'm a drummer) So tragic his loss at only age 24!! He must have been conducting drum clinics to the angels for the last 45 years.

At 10:10 the boisterous jazz chord melody resumes and soon thereafter best album ever comes to its close.

 MK II  by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 37 ratings

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MK II
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

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!
 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.84 | 34 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by ALotOfBottle
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This album is top of British blues rock excelence! A perfect crossover between stealthy, classic blues rock sounds and a hint of prog rock flavor. Steamhammer produced some fascinating and breathtaking material during their short-lived career in the British underground.

Wonderful songwriting, musical know-how, tasty moods - these terms perfectly define this album. Featuring excellent playing from one of the most underrated guitarists in the history - Martin Pugh. I can easily say he had his own style and his screaming signature tone, you know it when you hear it!! Kieran White supplies this album with robust, veteran blues vocals and rhythm guitar playing, which sits perfectly in the band mix, at times sounding like a Rhodes electric piano. Steve Davy, a young bass player with a strong jazz influence and a new drummer Mick Bradley provide a strong rhythmic fundation for the band's own sound.

My favorite tracks from the album... Every track is my favorite, but if I were to choose just one, a cover of a New York swing-blues classic "Riding On the L&N" leaves you speechless. This track has it all. An essential track in British blues history. A sign that blues is getting modern, that the new age for blues is comming. As an interesting fact - "Henry Lane" features something of a rarity in those days - a banjo! This gives the track a pleasant, folky feel.

Overall, I didn't even think about any other rating than 5 stars. This album is a must for progressive rock fans, showing boundaries of what the genre was and how interesting it could be. That said, hail Stemhammer - a criminally underrated band!

 MK II  by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 37 ratings

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MK II
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by Jeff Carney

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 admirable level of musical focus. Here, while the great production and excellent, disciplined playing continue, the band become somewhat lost in an endeavor to expand into areas of jazzy blues, a sort of darker bubblegum psych and progressive rock arrangements. And I just don't think the result is a cohesive musical statement.

While Steve Joliffe seems to have a lot of praise heaped on his contributions to this album by the prog crowd, I find his sound within the context of Steamhammer to be somewhat unconvincing. It almost comes off like they didn't want to be compared to Cream and the blues-rock giants of the day, so they quickly changed their identity. And perhaps too much. Add to that the harpsichords and some psych flavors which rear their heads on Side 1, and the album projects an unfocused feel. By the time of "6/8 For Amiran," they are in territory which I don't think juxtaposes well. Adding bluesy harmonica to a repeated, odd-time synchronized riff is innovative, but doesn't make a lot of sonic sense here. Krokodil might be one of the few groups who were able to texturally combine harmonica with progressive arrangements as they moved through their career, but here is doesn't come off as well thought out. Just attempted.

Side 2 really saves the record. The Steamhammer established on the first album is back at the wheel instead of riding shotgun. Steve Joliffe adds some flute which I think works well and is done with a subtle flare. His sax work seems out of place to an extent on Side 1 , but here it begins to merge more impressively. Still, it sort of appears and then disappears. It's not fully integrated into the twin guitar sound. The flute, however, begins to really convince as it weaves its way into the proceedings.

"Fran And Dee Take A Ride" is an absolutely gorgeous closer. Acoustic guitars gently pick through a wonderfully moving set of chords, as Leslie guitar drops delicate notes into the mix with beautiful results.

3.5 stars.

 Speech by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.07 | 31 ratings

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Speech
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

3 stars Steamhammer's fourth record "Speech" was a different thing for me to review. It was released in 1972 and has a cool and artistic cover, presumably taking place somewhere in space. And it was space I got some thoughts about when I heard this form of music. I located it somewhere between blues rock(for example Jimi Hendrix) and Pink Floyd. An interesting mixture I guess.

The music began with an interesting and different track called "Penumbra" which lasted the whole side. Beginning with crying cello(it sounds like that) and voices and then overtaken by excellent guitar play this record welcomes us for this nice song which also consists great vocals and keyboards. The remaining tracks is not as good as this first one. "Telegram" do not make a success because of the song's low volume. But there are very groovy guitar and bass that play solos with perfection and towards the end we can hear some form of medieval march. "For against" has short intro and outro and in the long middle there is a drums solo. The drummer Mickey Bradley did a very good job in this song. Even if it's just drums it's like they were telling us a story. It was too long thought and not as interesting that I will praise it.

Mostly the first song was interesting in my eyes and something to explore more from. This was different music in all ways. It was like a common rock band which had to do a progressive effort in their lives and that was a good idea of course. As not overwhelmed three stars would be a fair rating.

 Speech by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.07 | 31 ratings

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Speech
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by ralphcat

5 stars How it is that this indescribably PHENOMENAL quintessential prog-rock album has only been reviewed by 4 other people is absolutely astonishing, especially considering that this site is taylor made for prog-aficianatos. What's even more bewildering is that 3 of these individuals who DID actually take the time to review this album gave it SCATHING REVIEWS!!!....REALLY??...Did you three actually LISTEN to the album?? Perhaps you guys were flat-out hallucinating?? Anyways, this 1972 album is absolutely brilliant and downright massive. There is nothing else like this recording. The opener, "Penumbra" is 22 plus minutes of pure sonic intensity and is infallible from beginning to end. The dynamically fierce guitar playing, the superb and intermittently strident and cacophonous (in a very, very good way) bass playing (implementing a bow), percussion that is just plain other worldly, and spacey effects make for one bohemoth of a composition. It most certainly merits a spot in my top three favourite pieces of music that I've ever experienced. "Telegram" is also a spectacular and totally unique piece of heavy progressive rock that demands maximum blasting. "For Against" is unadulterated drumming divineness and yet another piece of indisputable evidence that Mick Bradley was one of the all time greatest percussionists ever. It is beyond unfortunate that this supreme talent passed away at 24 years old, for god only knows what this amazing man would have continued to accomplish had he lived. "Speech" was consequently the last album Steamhammer created and to say that they finished on a high note is the understatement of the millenium. This masterpiece has no equal.
 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.84 | 34 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I've always had a soft spot for Steamhammer. There's something inexplicably nice about their music. Their albums MK II, Mountains and Speech are all very, very enjoyable indeed, though I personally prefer Mountains above them all. I guess that's because it was the first album I bought of Steamhammer's. I wouldn't say it's prog but I would not say it's not either. I guess a fair judgement would be progressive blues-rock and that isn't bad, I'll tell you. At times I get the feeling of Jethro Tull bar the flute. The music on Mountains is folky, bluesy, progressive and quite brilliant. The musicianship is excellent and really, the album leaves little to miss. I heard or read somewhere that Steamhammer set out making the best album EVER with Mountains. Now, I can't say it's the best albums ever made but it's really worth the effort, money and time if you like proto-prog (which isn't too far off the mark, when I think about it) with rough edges and both feet stuck in bluesy hard rock. Good'un!
 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.84 | 34 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by Rivertree
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4 stars STEAMHAMMER came out of the Blues (the first steps were made as a backing band for Freddie King) and attracted my attention due to the forerunner 'MKII' from 1969. Now this album, simply called 'Mountains', saw them underway on progressive rock paths at the latest. Generally noted as the definitive band effort it was recorded by Kieran White (guitars, vocals), Martin Pugh (guitars), Mickey Bradley (drums) and Steve Davy (bass, organ). They have been a very inspired quartet at that time, with live performances standing for wide excursions of improvisations. Sadly though the commercial success failed to appear and when Kieran White decided to quit in 1970, this actually signified the end of the band unfortunately, even though the others tried to continue for a couple of years.

I've purchased 'Mountains' sometime in the 1970s (vinyl of course), where you have to consider that original and re-issue are offering different tracklists. Not a problem at all, I would say, because this only affects the track order. Anyway, two live recordings are given here which left me flabbergastet immediately. The masterpiece couple Riding On The L&N and Hold That Train was recorded at the Lyceum Theatre, London, is showcasing their excellent jamming qualities in the vein of Cream or The Byrds, provided with just that typical twin guitar approach also known from bands like Wishbone Ash and Man for example.

So besides the excellent guitar interaction, a driving groove is remarkable, groundbreaking harmonica and bass solos inclusively. Definitely danceable, thus highly recommended for your alternative party. This stuff is worthwhile alone ... but furthermore you will find high quality studio songs all the way through, outfitted with wonderful melodies to sing along, offering a balanced appearance of acoustic and electric guitar. Something outstanding .... especially when considering the year of recording in 1970. It was a real pleasure to put this into the player again after some time (years).

 Mountains by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.84 | 34 ratings

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Mountains
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by imnotfashioned

3 stars Nice but non revealing record, I would say that this is an example of typicall blues rock. "I wouldn't have,thought" typicall rhythm with great guitar solo, played with an open and clear sound which breaks the composition arrangement. Nice work by Kieran White and the best moment of the record for me. "Riding on the..."starts with hard march bass, gradually turns on percussion and some dripping guitar. Vocal is attached, after 4 minutes of bluesy melody we got small bass sollo which goes smoothly to White's solo. That and another number "Hold that train" were both live recorded. "Hold..." starts with some harmonica stuff - just like slow version of Black Sabbath "Wizzard" but finished like some of a Canned Head number. rest of material is not worth mention - nothing appeared no different. Blues rock impregnated of progressive connotations but clearly an irresistible.
 MK II  by STEAMHAMMER album cover Studio Album, 1969
4.04 | 37 ratings

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MK II
Steamhammer Crossover Prog

Review by stefro
Prog Reviewer

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
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