THE VELOURS

 
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THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 15.01.2014 - 11:29 Uhr  ·  #1
In 1953. Tenor Jerome "Romeo" Ramos and his next-door neighbor, first tenor John Cheatdom, both sang in the Melody Men, the chorus at Boys' High. They were always singing together, and practiced all the R&B hits of the day. Finally, they picked up bass Marvin Holland and lead tenor Sammy Gardner to form the Troubadours.

In late 1954, they entered the Apollo Amateur Show. This was, according to John Cheatdom, the last time that Nat King Cole starred there (the week of November 26, 1954, which would place the amateur show on Wednesday, December 1). "We sang the Crickets' 'Your Love' and came in second," says John.

In early 1955, Sammy Gardner left to join the army and was replaced by John Cheatdom's cousin, Kenneth Walker.

The guys practiced songs by the 5 Keys, the Flamingos, the Solitaires, and the Penguins. Singing was fun, but it was hardly profitable. In fact, "we sang for chicken sandwiches," said Jerome. They had a few gigs, but mostly did house parties.

By 1956, they'd added a fifth member: second tenor Donald Haywoode. And, since they weren't getting anywhere as the Troubadours, they changed their name to the Velours. (And why not? As they mostly sang ballads, this was a nice, soft name.)

The Velours auditioned for Sol Rabinowitz at Baton Records (and even recorded a few sides for him), but nothing ever came of it. However, when they did a show at Boys' High in the spring of 1956, in the audience were DJ Tommy (Dr. Jive) Smalls and Jerry Winston, owner of Mardi Gras Records, which was devoted to Latin music (much as George Goldner had started with Tico). Winston was impressed with the Velours and signed them for his brand-new Onyx label (which was glowingly announced on June 23, after the Velours had already held their first session).

The Velours recorded "My Love Come Back," "Honey Drop," "Romeo," and "What You Do To Me" for Winston around June 1956. "My Love Come Back" (led by Jerome Ramos) and "Honey Drop" (fronted by Donald Haywoode) became the first Onyx release, in July 1956. The disc was reviewed on July 14 (both sides "good") along with Fats Domino's "When My Dreamboat Comes Home," the G-Clefs' "Ka-Ding-Dong," the Mint Juleps' "Bells Of Love," and the Fi-Tones' "I Belong To You."

Then some more personnel changes: over the summer, Marvin Holland and Kenneth Walker left. Kenneth, who went into the army, was replaced by baritone John Pearson and Marvin by a bass named Gilbert Bampfield, who was only there a short while.

By September 1956, Gilbert had gone off to college and was replaced by bass Charles Moffitt, who had sung in a church choir with John Cheatdom. Around the same time, Calvin McClean was added as the group's piano player.

On October 12, 1956, just in time for Columbus Day, the Velours were part of the New R&B Stars Of 1956 revue at the Apollo Theater. Others on the bill were the Pearls, the Dells, the Channels, the Solitaires, the Flamingos, Ruth McFadden, and Titus Turner.

At their next session (held sometime in December), the group recorded "Can I Come Over Tonight" and "Where There's A Will (There's A Way)."
The Velours second record, "Romeo" (led by Jerome) and "What You Do To Me" (led by Donald) came out in March of 1957.
Can I Come Over Tonight" was released in June 1957, paired with "Where There's A Will (There's A Way)."
The Velours' fourth record was "This Could Be The Night"/"Hands Across The Table," issued in October 1957 (they had probably been recorded in June).
The last Velours' Onyx release was "Remember" (which I always considered a great cha-cha), backed with "Can I Walk You Home." Cut in February, they were released in early March 1958. "Remember" had been written by Arthur Crier and Gary Morrison of the Mellows.
The Velours had a dubious honor: they had both the first record on Onyx and the last. In fact, Onyx went out of business only days after releasing "Remember."

That same month, M-G-M started Orbit Records and purchased some of Jerry Winston's Onyx masters, including "Remember" and "Can I Walk You Home" (which became not only the last Onyx release, but the first one on Orbit). Thus, the record-buying public could either pick up "Remember" on Onyx or on Orbit. M-G-M also hired Jerry Winston as a producer for Orbit. He was tasked with producing at least 15 records a year, "using the artists and materials that he controls." The label's debut (with "Remember") was announced on March 10.

However, as apropos as the new company's name was (with Sputnik having been orbiting the Earth for about six months), M-G-M blundered with "Orbit." It turned out that there were three other Orbit Records around at the time: Richard Vaughn's Los Angeles company, Fred Marshall's Miami company, and one in Kent, Washington (which, in mid-year, became "Pleasant Peasant"). Therefore, on March 31, after only three weeks in existence, "Orbit" was officially renamed "Cub."
The Velours had their first session for M-G-M/Cub on July 9, 1958. By this time, they'd added tenor Troy Keys as a sixth singer. The songs recorded that day (and released later that month) were "Crazy Love" and the old standard "I'll Never Smile Again”.
On February 1959 Troy Keys was gone, having been replaced by tenor Keith Williams.
With dwindling sales, M-G-M didn't renew the Velours' one-year contract and their next disc appeared on the tiny Studio label, later in 1959.
A year later found the Velours associated with legendary New York producer George Goldner. The first outing was simply a reissue of "Can I Come Over Tonight"/"Where There's A Will," released in May 1960 on Gone. Around this time, Jerome Ramos, who had recently gotten married, left the group for a while.
Their next record was on Goldner's Goldisc label in September 1960: "Daddy Warbucks", backed with the pretty "Sweet Sixteen" (led by Keith).

Their third, and last, record for Goldner was "Lover Come Back"/"The Lonely One," two more sides led by Jerome, who had returned to the Velours in early 1961.

Nothing much happened with these recordings (as, in truth, nothing much had happened with any of them after Onyx) and the group left Goldner and started disintegrating. Charles Moffitt, Keith Williams, John Pearson, and Calvin McClean all left in 1961 (Pearson to become road manager of the Flamingos). Jerome Ramos, Donald Haywoode, and John Cheatdom dropped out too.
The Velours got back together again around 1966, adding tenor Richard Pitts.

1967 and 1968 two U.K. tours followed and this time they changed their name (on their own) to the "Fantastics." A May 1968 release on M-G-M (in England) was "Baby Make Your Own Sweet Music"/"Who Could Be Loving You."
Other releases followed, from the late 60s to the mid-70s, on Deram, Bell, and Bus Stop. Some were issued in the U.S., but most of them were only released in the U.K. It's probably true to say that the Fantastics enjoyed more success in England than the Velours had in the U.S.

Discografie (The Velours):

ONYX
501 My Love Come Back (JR)/Honey Drop (DH) - 7/56
508 Romeo (JR)/What You Do To Me (DH) - 3/57
512 Can I Come Over Tonight (JR)/Where There's A Will (There's A Way) (DH) - 6/57
515 This Could Be The Night (JR)/Hands Across The Table (JR) - 10/57
520 Remember (JR)/Can I Walk You Home (JR) - 3/58

ORBIT (subsidiary of M-G-M)
K9001 Remember (JR)/Can I Walk You Home (JR) - 3/58

ONYX (green label; M-G-M pressing)
520 Remember (JR)/Can I Walk You Home (JR) - 4/58

CUB (subsidiary of M-G-M)
K9014 Crazy Love (JR)/I'll Never Smile Again (TK) - 7/58
K9029 Blue Velvet (KW)/Tired Of Your Rock & Rolling (ALL) - 3/59

CUB UNRELEASED
I Hadn't Anyone Till You (??)
Please Don't Kiss Me Goodbye (??)

STUDIO
9902 I Promise (KW)/Little Sweetheart (KW) - 59

GONE (A George Goldner Label)
5092 Can I Come Over Tonight (JR)/Where There's A Will (DH) - 5/60

GOLDISC (A George Goldner Label)
3012 Daddy Warbucks (DH)/Sweet Sixteen (KW) - 9/60

END (A George Goldner Label)
1090 Lover Come Back (JR)/The Lonely One (JR/KW) - 4/


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Re: THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 15.01.2014 - 11:31 Uhr  ·  #2
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Re: THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 15.01.2014 - 11:37 Uhr  ·  #3
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Re: THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 15.01.2014 - 11:48 Uhr  ·  #4
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Re: THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 15.01.2014 - 11:49 Uhr  ·  #5
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Re: THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 15.01.2014 - 11:50 Uhr  ·  #6
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Re: THE VELOURS

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Gepostet: 21.01.2015 - 13:55 Uhr  ·  #7
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VELOURS - HOT 100 - 1957

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Gepostet: 02.10.2018 - 13:11 Uhr  ·  #8
VELOURS - CAN I COME OVER TONIGHT

HOT 100 - 1957

COLLAGEN VON ROCKINPETE

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