Saturday, February 18, 2017

Steamhammer - 1970 - Mountains


01. I Wouldn't Have Thought (5:40)
02. Riding On The L&N* (10:12)
03. Hold That Train* (5:46)
04. Levinia (3:23)
05. Henry Lane (3:54)
06. Leader Of The Ring (2:55)
07. Walking Down The Raod (3:44)
08. Mountains (5:37)

* recorded live at the Lyceum Theatre, London

- Martin Pugh / guitars, vocals
- Kieran White / guitars, harmonica, vocals
- Mickey Bradley / drums
- Steve Davy / organ, bass, vocals

guest musicians:
- Keith Nelson / banjo (on Henry Lane)

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!