04.I Was Cool
05.Walter Sly Meets Bill Bailey
07.Lookin' for a Happy Life
09.What's the Point of Leaving
10.Long Nights of Summer
12.Reaction of a Young Man
13.Now She's Gone
This is the acclaimed 1967 debut album of this combo from Coventry, UK released shortly after the successful single “Flames”.
Led by vocalist / guitarist Elmer Gantry, the band features John Ford and Richard Hudson, later with the Strawbs, plus guitar virtuoso Colin Forster. A colourful blend of hard-psych rock, Motown sound and pop á la Beatles.
Contains the cover version of Oscar Brown’s, “I Was Cool”, the melodic “Long Night Of Summer” and the Indian oriented “Air” with its massive use of sitar.
This Coventry band are best remembered for hard rock single, Flames, a cut from their first album which narrowly missed the charts in 1967.
Featuring Richard Hudson and John Ford of The Strawbs and Hudson-Ford fame the album was full of variety spanning Motown, pop-psych and harder rock genres.
Other tracks which catch the ear include the laid back Oscar Brown song I Was Cool, the instrumental Walter Sly Meets Bill Bailey, the Eastern-influenced sitar-based Air, the Beatlesque What's The Point Of Leaving, the melodic Long Nights Of Summer and two tracks - Dream Starts and Reactions Of A Young Man - which veered towards psychedelia.
For the later single, Volcano, they shortened their name to Velvet Opera and also recorded a second album under that name. Although a popular underground band, commercial success eluded them.
Ford and Hudson joined The Strawbs when The Velvet Opera disintegrated. In the seventies Elmer Gantry was in Stretch