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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera

1968

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera
Album Summary

This album has been submitted by a user and is not included in any edition of the book.

Elmer Gantry's Velvet Opera, at various times also known as "Velvet Opera", was a British rock band active in the late 1960s. Members of the band, Richard Hudson, John Ford and Paul Brett, would later become members of The Strawbs, Hudson Ford and Stretch. The group emerged from a soul/blues band called 'The Five Proud Walkers'. After supporting Pink Floyd on tour, they were inspired to change their approach and become a more psychedelic outfit. The band consolidated as Richard Hudson on drums, John Ford on bass, Colin Forster on lead guitar, Jimmy Horrocks (Horovitz) on organ and flute (who left early in the band's history), and Dave Terry on vocals and harmonica.[3] Initially just calling themselves Velvet Opera, they developed their full name when Terry took to wearing a cape and preacher's hat in the style of the title character in the 1960 film adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' novel, Elmer Gantry. They started to make club appearances in London, using electronic backing sounds, and secured a record deal with the short lived Direction Records subsidiary of CBS Records in the UK. Their first recording was the single "Flames" (November 1967) which also featured on the CBS sampler record "The Rock Machine Turns You On", and was later covered on stage by Led Zeppelin.[4] Further singles and a self-titled album followed, including the track "Mary Jane" which was taken off the BBC playlist after they realised its drug connotations, although the band continued to make regular live appearances on John Peel's Radio 1 programme 'Top Gear', and other BBC radio shows. Around this time, Terry, as lead singer of the band was regularly being approached as "Elmer." The band found this amusing and joined in and the name stuck, Dave Terry became (and remains) Elmer Gantry.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.03

Votes

72

Genres

  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock

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Reviews

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Fri Feb 16 2024
4

Bandstand introductions earn quite a few points by default. As for the rest... There really was a time when you could slap the opera label on anything. Gantry's is seamless, but a rather bluesy set, light on characters, further into the garage.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Semi-obscure psych! I like these little neat finds and moments of time that never panned out but had a time where they were active. It all sounds just as competent as most psych around that time. 3.5 up to 4 just cause I enjoyed the discovery.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
4

Oh yes, I'll have another helping of psychedelia please. The cover of "I Was Cool" was a bit unexpected, and entertaining I suppose, but perhaps best kept to a B-side. Other than that, I'd say this could go toe to toe with most other psychedelia of the era. Rhythm section kicks ass, and is what would set them apart from their peers. That bass tone! Oooeee!

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Wed Feb 21 2024
4

Another interesting band from this era and strata of English rock I'd never heard of. There was a lot of it in this album and I thought it was a little patchy and all over the map stylistically, but the best of it was very good.

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Fri Mar 08 2024
4

Yeah, I could see why someone might want to include this, protopunk and psych at the same time is quite intriguing.

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Mon Mar 11 2024
4

7/10. Listened to this, was pretty good, forgot to rate it and now I forget what it was like. Maybe I'll give it a relisten some time.

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Thu Mar 14 2024
4

I'm always on board for some 60's psychedelica. Something about the sound of these bands that instantly grabs me. If I could play bass - this would be my sound. This is a band I'd never ever heard of, but they do what they do well. Not much I haven't heard already from other bands from that era, but still a very pleasant listen. Thanks for introducing me to Elmer G!

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Mon Mar 25 2024
4

Interesting one. Never heard of this group before, but it holds up well compared to other music of the time. Started out seeming a bit like a novelty act, but got better as it went along. I Was Cool reminded me a bit of Tom Waits. Too bad they weren't able to hold it together for more than two albums, would have been interesting to see where they would have gone. 4 stars.

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Sat May 18 2024
4

I was a bit hesitant to listen to another psychedelic album from the late 60s, but this one was quite enjoyable. It comes out strong with the blues rock and moves into more typical psychedelic rock. There is a touch of early garage rock here was well which gives the album a bit of an edge leaning into almost proto-punk. There were parts that blended into each other, but overall, it was a great listen.

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Sun May 19 2024
4

Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Mother writes, Lookin’ for a happy life, And I remember

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Wed Feb 14 2024
3

Not bad at all. I'm not familiar with this band at all. At times the bass lines were killer. However, for the most part, it was sort of familiar pseudo-psychedelic Britpop that this book was already full of. Cool to be introduced to, though.

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Thu Mar 07 2024
3

Those kooky 60s folks at it again

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Mon Mar 11 2024
3

Obscure psychedelic album from the late sixties. Not bad, but deserves its cult work status only for fans of the genre

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Fri Apr 26 2024
3

Ohhhh 1968! Let me just get out my "this sucks" stamp. Not sure why you'd choose this when the original list was already full of this stuff, but eh. I don't like it, I don't hate it, but in the absence of 2.5 I'll give it 3/5.

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Tue Apr 30 2024
3

Elements of Who, Kinks and Beatles. I preferred the New Orleans and more traditional blues songs. Not bad for an obscure late ‘60s group, but better represented by the more famous bands.

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Tue May 14 2024
3

The Beatles meets Jon Spencer’s Blues Explosion in the best way possible. Felt a bit long for the ideas it had to share, but still a great take on older rock that felt new to me.

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Thu Mar 07 2024
2

The Beatles sure made it look easier than it was, eh?

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Thu Mar 14 2024
2

I find this practically unlistenable, due to all these messy passages. And that this goes on for more than an hour, doesn't help either.

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