Steamhammer

Junior's Wailing

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This disc compiles tracks from the first three Steamhammer albums -- Mountains (1970), MK II (1969) and Reflections (1969), the latter alternately known as the eponymously titled Steamhammer. The incipient incarnation of the band was extremely short-lived, only releasing this material and a subsequent 7" single that included an edit of "Junior's Wailing" b/w the non-LP track "Windmill." The combo on these sides utilize the respective talents of Kieran White (vocals/harmonica/acoustic guitar), Martin Pugh (lead guitar), Martin Quittenton (guitar), Steve Davy (bass), and Michael Rushton (drums). Like many late-'60s British rock groups, Steamhammer had been influenced by the mostly American-made R&B. They joined the likes of Chicken Shack, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, and Ten Years After who were among the more prominent artists making a name for themselves with electric guitar driven blues and boogie. Unlike many of the others, Steamhammer included a high ratio of original material along with the somewhat obligatory covers -- including a well-developed seven-plus-minute languid workout on Eddie Boyd's "Twenty-Four Hours," and a good timin' open-throttled rendition of B.B. King's "You'll Never Know." Standout sides from within the band are the trippy and slightly progressive "Even the Clock," as well as the jazzy syncopation of "Down the Highway" -- the latter of which features some notable contributions from Harold McNair (flute) of Donovan fame. The same is true of the title track "Junior's Wailing," which sports a heavy-duty and otherwise propulsive blues shuffle. The next Steamhammer lineup ventured farther out into a progressive and jazz fusion style that is more akin to Caravan or Matching Mole than to the electric blues-based heavy metal heard here.

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