STEAM

Personnel:

(Na Na Hey Hey) Kiss Him Goodbye was originally designed to be an inferior B-Side so that DJ's would be forced to play the the A-Side. Paul Leka -- of Green Tambourine fame -- co-wrote this perennial athletic event anthem. The musicians didn't have lyrics so they sang "na na" and "hey hey" during rehearsals until they came up with something better (which they never did!). It was an unexpected hit and the songs they recorded that were meant to be hits never did become so . . . so singer Garrett Scott refused to sing any more songs with Steam and did not help with full-length album.

ALBUM:

STEAM (Mercury SR 61254) 1969

Side 1
Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye (4:12)
I've Gotta Make You Love Me (3:27)
It's The Magic In You Girl (2:30)
Come On Home Girl (3:03)
Love And Affection (3:28)
Side 2
Come On Back And Love Me (2:11)
I've Cried A Million Tears (3:44)
I'm The One Who Loves You (2:31)
One Good Woman (3:35)
New Breed, Now Generation (3:28)

All songs written by Gary De Carlo, Dale Frashuer, Paul Leka, and Garrett Scott

45s:

Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye/It's The Magic In You Girl (Fontana F-1667) 1969

One Good Woman/I've Gotta Make You Love Me (Mercury 73020) 1970

I'm The One Who Loves You/What I'm Saying Is True* (Mercury 73053) 1970

Don't Stop Lovin' Me */Do Unto Others* (Mercury 73117) 1970

(Contrary to the album credits listing four writers for each song, the I'm The One Who Loves You single omits Garrett Scott on both songs. Curious. Did Garrett know about this? What I'm Saying Is True seems to use some of the basic tracks utilized on Na Na Hey Hey and charts the same lyrically steamed waters.)

*Non-LP track

 

REVIEW of "STEAM" album by Steam:

The story goes that after singing Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye for the group Steam, Garrett Scott wanted very little to do with the group. "Musical differences" usually gets the nod in these situations but personality conflicts may have played a part. The back cover of their only album has a small picture of Scott with his arms folded looking a bit um . . . steamed. You do the math.

In some sort of arrangement that only the 70's could produce, Scott stuck around long enough to co-write all 10 songs on the album. The new story that I submit is that Scott missed out on singing some great tunes. It was his loss because he wasn't needed anyway. Four unknown singers add the required blue-eyed-soul readings of this collection of great tunes. Sitting somewhere between the Grassroots, Grand Funk (!), and the Left Banke (all good!), Steam certainly performed well under the pressure.

One thing they tried was creating a theme album based on the "Na Na, Hey Hey" refrain. This sounds silly on paper but three songs -- including the hit that leads off the set -- utilize the refrain to great effect. A casual listener may think there is simple duplication scattered throughout the album but it appears to be part of a greater attempt to tie the diverse songs together. Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye is bubblegum but I've Gotta Make You Love Me is reminiscent of The Parliament's Testify and I've Cried A Million Tears is an affectionate ode to The Temptations. Love & Affection would have made a great single as well . The song structures in all the songs are fairly complex for pop but well worth the effort I suggest you put into it. This is a lightweight pop collection that demands deeper scrutiny.

Now the pressure is on for me to decide if Steam is bubblegum or not. Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye is classic gum simply because so many people have said it is. Steam is a blue-eyed-soul review that traveled the same road as Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Amazing Rhythm Aces, and so many others. And although Steam ended up having the most well-known and used song of all these like-minded groups, they were forced off the road before they had a chance to gather up more Steam. Maybe it was unfair to label them bubblegum. In hindsight it certainly seems that way.

This is where I come in and profess a sense of loss that Steam ran out of itself after one great album. Of course, I'm the guy who likes the "real" Ohio Express, so why listen to me? If you love great 70s pop, you'll work up a bit of this group and hit your local record store and buy a copy of this great album. Otherwise, hit the showers. - Andrew Bergey