Saturday, December 8, 2012

For Purple Velvet, read... David Byron!

During an otherwise fruitless week looking out for cover version gems in East London, I spied the album below on sale at Spitalfields Market. The cover was in a "right old two an' eight", but I managed to clean it up. I don't normally go in for tribute albums to specific acts, for two main reasons. First, they just don't have the same appeal for me as those rounding up the current pop charts. And secondly, there's the issue of space in my home. It's a toss-up which will snap first - the floorboards or the wife.

Anyway, I spotted this one and noted the label - Avenue - realising that it probably contained a few selections from their main covers LPs, despite the fact that it claimed on the front, to be by a group calling itself Purple Velvet. Nonetheless, I took a chance and parted with my £2.

The album itself turned out to be exactly what I had hoped - a sprinkling of tracks from the Avenue album series, bulked out with new recordings to make up the numbers. As fans will already know, some of these Avenue sessions featured a certain David Byron (of Uriah Heep) on lead vocals, and to my delight, I found that at least three of these recordings were indeed by him - "Bad Moon Rising", "Long As I Can See The Light" and "Travelling Band".

Byron is, of course, nowhere to be seen on the sleeve or in the notes. Neither is anyone else for that matter, except the mysterious Purple Velvet, and arranger/conductor/producer Hal Carter. And the record label says 1972. But hang on a minute, the original Avenue recordings, with Byron present, were certainly not produced by Hal Carter in 1972. We know for a fact that they were from 1969-70. I wonder why Avenue were so coy about plugging their own back catalogue, particularly while the Twelve Top Hits series was still in full flow?

Luckily for me, my hunch paid off, and this LP becomes a welcome addition to my own collection, albeit slightly outside my normal collecting area.


  1. What a great find! I'd never seen it in my decades of looking for 'copycat' records! After reading this I went searching and luckily found a copy on a vinyl website, and an excellent-condition LP arrived today for under a fiver. I'll play it at the weekend!
    Thanks again, Terry!

  2. Hi, I'm from Argentina. Any chance to share the songs of this album?
    Beautiful scans and amazing site.