Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Steel Mill - Green Eyed God (1971)

Steel Mill are one of the most mysterious groups to have existed (or not!). The sleeve-notes of the CD re-release of their one and only album detail how the author tried in vain to track down some historical information about the band. All roads were however dead-ends, to the extent that even the British Musicians Union has no record of the any of the band members. The band released two singles in 1971, followed by one album. “Green eyed god” in 1975. Quite why there was such a gap in between is not clear. Their debut single, also called "Green eyed god", now changes hands for princely sums. The version of that track included here is considerably longer than the single, but it would have been good to have the single edit as a bonus track. In this case, less really is more. The track “Green eyed god” is a superb mix of styles, starting with a gentle flute solo similar to some of Focus’ early work. A brief vocal section is introduced over the flute, before all hell breaks loose as the track becomes a rocking guitar piece. The album version simply toys around with these themes more, the single version being more concise and hard hitting. (The producer of the album does recall that the flute parts for this track were recorded in the toilet to get the right effect!)The other single released by Steel Mill is included here as a bonus track, having been inexplicably left off the original album. “Get on the line” is a more orthodox pop rock track, with a highly infectious chorus. Alan Freeman (enlightened UK DJ) rightly described the track at the time as having a “mighty sound”, The remainder of the album is in truth generally fairly average guitar and flute driven rock (but not particularly Jethro Tull like). "Summer's child" is a fine if naïve soft ballad, with some nice flute. "Mijo and the laying of the witch" has shades of Audience to it when John Challenger, the "wind instrumentalist" of the group, adds sax. Iron Butterfly's "In-a-gadda-da-vida" is another good reference point. ProgArchives

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

teel Mill “Green Eyed God”

"As is common knowledge among most fans, one of the earliest bands Bruce Springsteen played in was a four-piece, Led Zeppelin-esque hardrock outfit called “Steel Mill”, which existed from 1969 to 1971. Probably less known is the fact that the Jersey-based quartet shared its name with an obscure English progressive rock group that seems to have been around at the same time and, in 1971, released an album entitled “Green Eyed God”; with the title track issued as a picture sleeve 7-inch single. Since Bruce’s popularity (and thus, the collectability of his records) reached its peak in the mid-80s, many a dealer has tried to sell said discs as Springsteen-related rarities, which they are definitely not, as the hardrock Steel Mill never got as far as signing a recording contract and had their legacy spread through bootlegs only."

That's why Steel Mill were never registered with the British Musicians Union - they never had a recording contract. Their "popularity" and the collector's item status of this recording is because they are being mistaken for one of Springsteen's early bands.

Lisa Sinder said...

great comment! never thought 'bout Steel Mill in Springsteen's way! ;)