Velvett Fogg were a British psychedelic rock band. Tony Iommi was a member in mid-1968, but soon left to form Black Sabbath. Their lone eponymous album was released in January 1969, and re-released on CD by Sanctuary Records in 2002.
|Genres||Psychedelic rock, progressive rock, acid rock|
|Labels||Pye, Sanctuary, Castle, See For Miles, Past and Present, Bam-Caruso, Akarma, Seque, Rolling Stone, Metro, Pye/Esoteric|
|Associated acts||Keith Law, Jardine, Warhorse, Ghost|
|Website||Velvett Fogg Official Site|
|Past members||Frank Wilson|
Velvett Fogg were one of many new bands within the underground scene, that were formed at the end of the 1960s that would attempt to take pop music to a higher level of creativity. Birmingham also had its own flourishing underground music scene during that time with a variety of innovative groups emerging. The line up of Velvett Fogg all came from within this alternative music scene in the city.
Velvett Fogg were formed in 1968 from members of a Birmingham band Gravy Train. Up front was soul singer Ernie Handy, Bob Hewitt was lead guitarist, with Graham Mullett on drums, and Mick Pollard on bass guitar. Londoner Frank Wilson who played Hammond organ, was also on vocals, eventually becoming band leader and lead vocalist. The newly formed band spent most of the year touring Germany playing at army bases and clubs. Their stage act included a light show and a go-go dancer.
On their return to Birmingham, the band, now managed by an agency called Inter City Artists, were given a record deal by Jack Dorsey of Pye Records. It was also a time when it seemed that the more unusual or controversial a band was, then the greater chance there would be for success in the record business. The record label was looking to sign unusual underground music acts and Velvett Fogg were told to, in Jack Dorsey's words, "develop an image that would make people think you would piss on the pope!" (Keith Law).
The initial line-up of Velvett Fogg featured guitarist Tony Iommi (later with Black Sabbath). Iommi was in the line-up for only one gig before he left to be replaced temporarily by Ian Leighton. Leighton was "a great blues guitarist", said his friend Frank Wilson. It was during this time that Pye Records arranged a photo-shoot of the band for the cover of their proposed first album.
Before recording could begin in late 1968, Ian Leighton left the band and was replaced by guitarist/vocalist Paul Eastment (a cousin of Iommi). Paul Eastment contributed original compositions for the album, as did Frank Wilson, Graham Mullet and Mick Pollard.
Velvett Fogg recorded the tracks for their debut album on Pye Records under the direction of Jack Dorsey. Apparently, Dorsey aimed to get the band onto the then-popular progressive band wagon. "I was a classically trained pianist but we all had to play way below our capabilities" says Frank Wilson. The band were also allowed to record covers of a few songs they liked and these included psychedelic-sounding versions of New York Mining Disaster 1941 by The Bee Gees and Tim Rose's Come Away Melinda.
Original songs for the Velvett Fogg album were supplied by Keith Law, a local who became a friend of the band. A veteran of the West Midlands music scene, Law played with such groups as The Williamsons, Love and Understanding, Paint, and Jardine. In his initial writing sessions with the band Law came up with "Yellow Cave Woman", "Once Among The Trees" and "Within' The Night".
Velvett Fogg's self-titled album was released on the Pye label in January 1969. By far the most controversial feature of the album was its record cover which displayed the pre-Paul Eastment line-up of the band wearing garish make-up/body-paint and costume, but also included two well-endowed young women wearing nothing but strategically applied body paint. The package was accompanied by a typically obscure sleevenote by the influential U.K. disc jockey John Peel who commented that "there is a lot of good music on this record. Remember Velvett Fogg - you will hear the name again."
Along with the Velvett Fogg album, Pye Records also released a single by the group. It was a cover of The Tornados instrumental, "Telstar", which was recorded at the request of Jack Dorsey, who hoped to cash in on the publicity surrounding the American moon landings taking place at that time.
While receiving some radio play, the record did not sell enough copies to chart and a big advertising campaign planned by the record company to promote the album never materialised. The band did some touring after the single came out. Perhaps discouraged by poor sales of the album, Pye seemed to lose interest in the band so withdrew their backing. In the autumn of 1969 the group disbanded with the members going their separate ways. Frank Wilson says "I personally thought the first line-up in Germany was the best and most satisfying."
Paul Eastment started a Brum band called Holy Ghost—later to become Ghost, with whom he recorded a couple of albums. He later fronted another group called Resurrection, as well as recording with local folk singer Shirley Kent.
During the years since Velvett Fogg's demise, demand amongst collectors for copies of their (now very rare) album has increased considerably. Original albums have changed hands for high prices with bootleg copies also known to be in circulation. In 2002 the Sanctuary Records Group re-issued the album officially for the first time on CD (CMRCD619).
Keith Law stayed in the music business, is still writing songs, and is now an entertainer in South West England. Frank Wilson, now performs with his band Run VT, and performs at venues in South East England. Keith Law and Frank Wilson are back together writing as Velvett Fogg Reloaded, and recording for a proposed new Velvett Fogg album.
Bearwood is the southern part of Smethwick, Sandwell, West Midlands, England, and north of the A456 Hagley Road. Bearwood Hill was the original name of the High Street from Smethwick Council House to Windmill Lane. The border at the Shireland Brook where Portland Road (Edgbaston) becomes Shireland Road (Sandwell) is signed "Bearwood" (February 2014).
Bearwood is included in Abbey Ward in Sandwell Metropolitan Borough. In 1903, Bearwood Ward in Smethwick extended from Hagley Road to Smethwick High Street and included part of Cape Hill.The Bearwood telephone exchange area marked out by the 0121-429 numbers extends as far east as Harborne Walkway.
Bearwood, like many areas of the West Midlands conurbation, has a local sense of place, although it has become absorbed into Smethwick proper. Many locals still use the term "The Bear" especially referring to "The Bear Hotel" located in Bearwood. An old map of the 18th century mentions 'The Bear of Smethwick'.Come Away Melinda
"Come Away Melinda" is a song written by Fred Hellerman and Fran Minkoff. An anti-war song, its first release was by Harry Belafonte in May 1963, shortly after it had been performed by The Weavers at their concert earlier that month which was later issued as the album Reunion At Carnegie Hall, 1963. The song was subsequently recorded by many other singers.Fran Minkoff
Frances "Fran" Minkoff (February 5, 1915 – April 22, 2002) was an American lyricist best known for her songs co-written with Fred Hellerman of The Weavers.Great Barr
Great Barr is now a large and loosely defined area to the north-west of Birmingham, England. The area was historically in Staffordshire, and the parts now in Birmingham were once known as Perry Barr, which is still the name of an adjacent Birmingham district. Other areas known as Great Barr are in the Metropolitan Boroughs of Walsall and Sandwell.
"Barr" means "hill", and the name refers to nearby Barr Beacon.Littlehempston
Littlehempston is a village and civil parish in the South Hams District of Devon in England consisting of 83 households and a population of 207 (total parish).The village has many old fashioned cottages and buildings. Its church is on the hill within the village and is near to where a footpath begins, taking walkers through two miles of fields and woodland to Totnes.
The village has two public houses. The Tally Ho is in the centre of the village, just below the church; and The Pig & Whistle is on the A381 road to Totnes.
There is also a public phone box and noticeboard, located next to the post box just in front of a brook which eventually leads to the River Dart.Melinda
Melinda is a feminine given name.Never Say Die (Black Sabbath song)
"Never Say Die" is the title track of British rock band Black Sabbath's 1978 album.
Their first UK single to chart since "Paranoid" in 1970, it peaked at 21. The group performed the song on Top of the Pops in 1978.The song, said drummer Bill Ward, “has some good double bass drums.”Popular music of Birmingham
Birmingham's culture of popular music first developed in the mid-1950s. By the early 1960s the city's music scene had emerged as one of the largest and most vibrant in the country; a "seething cauldron of musical activity", with over 500 bands constantly exchanging members and performing regularly across a well-developed network of venues and promoters. By 1963 the city's music was also already becoming recognised for what would become its defining characteristic: the refusal of its musicians to conform to any single style or genre. Birmingham's tradition of combining a highly collaborative culture with an open acceptance of individualism and experimentation dates back as far back as the 18th century, and musically this has expressed itself in the wide variety of music produced within the city, often by closely related groups of musicians, from the "rampant eclecticism" of the Brum beat era, to the city's "infamously fragmented" post-punk scene, to the "astonishing range" of distinctive and radical electronic music produced in the city from the 1980s to the early 21st century.This diversity and culture of experimentation has made Birmingham a fertile birthplace of new musical styles, many of which have gone on to have a global influence. During the 1960s the Spencer Davis Group combined influences from folk, jazz, blues and soul and to create a wholly new rhythm and blues sound that "stood with any of the gritty hardcore soul music coming out of the American South", while The Move laid the way for the distinctive sound of English psychedelia by "putting everything in pop up to that point in one ultra-eclectic sonic blender". Heavy metal was born in the city in the early 1970s by combining the melodic pop influence of Liverpool, the high volume guitar-based blues sound of London and compositional techniques from Birmingham's own jazz tradition. Bhangra emerged from the Balsall Heath area in the 1960s and 1970s with the addition of western musical influences to traditional Punjabi music. The ska revival grew out of the West Midlands uniquely multi-racial musical culture. Grindcore was born in Sparkbrook from fusing the separate influences of extreme metal and hardcore punk. Techno's Birmingham sound combined the established sound of Detroit techno with the influence of Birmingham's own industrial music and post-punk culture.Psycho Man (Black Sabbath song)
"Psycho Man" is a single by heavy metal band Black Sabbath. It was originally released on the Reunion album in 1998, and was the first of two new singles from the album, the other being "Selling My Soul." The song reached number 3 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock chart. The song was later included in Ozzy Osbourne's 2005 box set Prince of Darkness. The music and lyrics were written by singer Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Tony Iommi. Psycho Man and Selling My Soul are the only Black Sabbath songs to be credited just to these two members. In Canada, the song reached number 24 on the RPM charts. In 1999, "Psycho Man" was remixed by Danny Saber for No Boundaries: A Benefit for the Kosovar Refugees; music critic Robert Christgau regarded it as a highlight of the album.Pye Records
Pye Records was a British record label. Its best known artists were Lonnie Donegan (1956–69), Petula Clark (1957–71), The Searchers (1963–67), The Kinks (1964–71), Sandie Shaw (1964–71), Status Quo (1968–71) and Brotherhood of Man (1975–79). The label changed its name to PRT Records in 1980, before being briefly reactivated as Pye Records in 2006.Quinton, Birmingham
Quinton is a suburb on the western edge of Birmingham, England. It is a Birmingham City Council ward within the Edgbaston formal district, and forms a part of the Birmingham Edgbaston parliamentary constituency.The Devil Cried
"The Devil Cried" is a song by heavy metal band Black Sabbath featured on the compilation Black Sabbath: The Dio Years. The song peaked on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks at No. 38. It was one of three new recordings the group did for the compilation (the others being "Shadow of the Wind" and "Ear in the Wall"). Tony Iommi has called the song, "a mid-tempo track which is... riff-based again, great vocals and I think that's really good."According to Dio on the "Heaven and Hell Road Movie" extra on the Live from Radio City Music Hall DVD, the song is about the ability to return to Heaven if a soul in Hell could succeed in making Satan cry.The End Tour
The End Tour was the farewell tour of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath, featuring founding members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler. The tour concluded Sabbath's 40+ year career. The final show was 4 February 2017, in their home city of Birmingham, UK.Tony Iommi
Anthony Frank Iommi (; born 19 February 1948) is an English guitarist, songwriter and producer. He was lead guitarist and one of the four founder members of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He was the band's primary composer and sole continual member for nearly five decades.
While working in a factory as a teenager, Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring fingers of his right hand in an accident, an event which crucially affected his playing style. Iommi briefly left Black Sabbath's forerunner, Earth, in 1968 to join Jethro Tull, after which he returned to Black Sabbath in 1969, recording their self-titled debut album. In 2000, he released his first solo album Iommi, followed by 2005's Fused, which featured his former bandmate Glenn Hughes. After releasing Fused, he formed Heaven & Hell, which disbanded after Ronnie James Dio's death in 2010.
Iommi was ranked number 25 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".
In 2011, he published his autobiography, entitled Iron Man: My Journey through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath.Totnes
Totnes ( or ) is a market town and civil parish at the head of the estuary of the River Dart in Devon, England within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is about 21 miles (34 km) south-southwest of Exeter and is the administrative centre of the South Hams District Council.
Totnes has a long recorded history, dating back to 907, when its first castle was built. By the twelfth century it was already an important market town, and its former wealth and importance may be seen from the number of merchants' houses built in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Today, the town is a thriving centre for music, art, theatre and natural health. It has a sizeable alternative and "New Age" community, and is known as a place where one can live a bohemian lifestyle. Two electoral wards mention Totnes (Bridgetown and Town). Their combined populations at the 2011 UK Census was 8,076.Warhorse (British band)
Warhorse was a British rock band formed by the bass guitar player Nick Simper.