As ELMER GANTRY'S VELVET OPERA (1967), Gantry (vocals), Colin Foster (guitar), Richard Hudson (drums) and John Ford (bass), were fixtures on Britain's ‘underground’ circuit. Their reputation was enhanced by regular appearances on BBC Radio 1's Top Gear, presented by John Peel. In 1967, the group recorded its debut album which contained self-composed material—notably the up-tempo Flames which re-appeared on CBS as a highlight of THE ROCK MACHINE TURNS YOU ON, the first mid-price sampler album. Truncating to just Velvet Opera, the outfit disbanded in the early '70s after two more flop singles; Ford and Hudson were absorbed into the Strawbs. By 1974, Gantry was fronting a band which, until checked by litigation, accepted illicit bookings as ‘Fleetwood Mac’ while the genuine article were off the road. A year later, Gantry emerged once more as singer on Stretch's solitary UK chart entry, Why Did You Do It.
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