The self-titled debut from Steamhammer has been issued under a number of titles -- the most famous of which is Reflection (1969) -- all of them including an identical track list and in essence, are one and the same. The numerous and short-lived incarnations of the band began on this long player and spilled over onto a subsequent 7" single with an edit of "Junior's Wailing" b/w the non-LP track "Windmill". [Note: Interested parties can find both cuts among the "bonus tracks" on the CD reissue of MK II (1969).] For these sides Steamhammer features the talents of: Kieran White (vocals/harmonica/acoustic guitar), Martin Pugh (lead guitar) Martin Quittenton (guitar), Steve Davey (bass) and Michael Rushton (drums). Like Chicken Shack, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Ten Years After and a plethora of other late ‘60s British rock groups, Steamhammer had been influenced by the mostly American-made R&B. However, a conspicuously high ratio of original material separated them from many of their more prominent contemporaries. They also included a few somewhat obligatory covers, such as the seven-plus minute workout on Eddie Boyd's "Twenty-Four Hours" as well as a high and mighty rendition of B.B. King's "You'll Never Know". Other standout sides come from within the band and include the trippy and slightly progressive "Even The Clock" as well as the jazzy syncopation of "Down the Highway" -- with Harold McNair (flute) of Donovan fame making some notable contributions to the latter. The previously mentioned "Junior's Wailing" should not be missed as it sports a heavy-duty and otherwise propulsive blues shuffle. Every subsequent Steamhammer long player was accompanied by a personnel change that yielded a tremendous stylistic vacillation from release to release. Their subsequent effort, MK II, would venture farther out into a progressive and jazz-fusion style akin to that of Egg or Gong than to the electric blues-based heavy metal found on this platter.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer