12 February 2014

Black Velvet - See What You Get Out A Me/ Can't Stand The Pain

Label: MAM
Year of Release: 1971

Black Velvet have been featured frequently on this blog - I was fascinated by how such a forceful, driving group with elements of soul, funk and rock (and also, on occasion, total grit) in their performances could have remained so obscure.  They released multiple singles throughout the sixties and seventies to no avail, including the much sought-after and wonderfully addictive organ driven funk extravaganza of "Tropicana" (I've never found a copy of that I can afford) and my personal favourite, "African Velvet".

The reader Fairydust was kind enough to leave a comment here a while back filling in the blanks.  It would seem that they began life as the Coloured Raisins in London in 1966, with Brandis on vocals, David and Keith Gamport on guitars, Peter Nelson on organ and London Steel on drums.  All were from the West Indies originally and eventually added three other vocalists to their line-up - Honey Darling, King Ossie and Earl Greene.  By 1969 they became Black Velvet and by that point had become a hugely in-demand act on the capital's live circuit, and if the force apparent in some of their recordings is anything to go by, that's no big surprise.

"See What You Get Out A Me" perhaps isn't one of their strongest efforts, but is suitably hook laden.  The low bass piano notes riff here to remain firmly lodged in your mind, and the whole thing swaggers along nicely.  It doesn't have the sheer compelling adrenaline of some of their best work, but it also doesn't deserve to languish unheard.  

An ex-employee of their former label Beacon Records sent me a small photo of the band not too long ago as well, so their appearance is also no longer a complete mystery.  Thanks to everyone for all their detective work on this lot, it's hugely appreciated.  I almost never DJ these days without playing "African Velvet" at some point in my set, and the response to it is so positive it's hard to understand how it bombed at the time.  If a top-flight DJ or somebody from an advertising company is reading this and fancies trying to revive it in some way, they won't be disappointed. 

No comments: