Reissued and Revisited: Velvert Turner Group | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
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Reissued and Revisited: Velvert Turner Group

Feb 10, 2020 By Frank Valish
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The story is this: guitarist Velvert Turner met Jimi Hendrix in the mid-late '60s and became his friend, student, and protégé until Hendrix's death in 1970. Turner released one lone album, 1972's self-titled Velvert Turner Group, recently reissued on pink vinyl by Org Music. And while more than its fair share of songs echo Hendrix in both guitar and vocal prowess, Velvert Turner Group sets itself apart with the less Hendrix-like, more nuanced tracks herein.

Let's start with the Hendrix-esque. The album opens with "Madonna (Of The Seven Moons)," with Turner sounding like classic Hendrix in vocals and guitar riff, the homage punctuated only by brief sections of "la la" backing vocal chorus and a delicate keyboard line. "Talkin' 'Bout My Baby" is more of the same, straight ahead Hendrix-style classic rock, with a ripping solo that showcases Turner's power with the instrument.


But then comes "Country Chicken," 2 minutes, 49 seconds of psychedelic Beatles-esque pop, prominently featuring harmonica and replete with an invigorating very un-Hendrix-like solo by Turner. "Strangely Neww" (the double 'w' not a typo) is a driving bass- and barroom piano-led rollicking number. And "Scarlet Warrior" is a bit of a curio, featuring what sounds like a children's choir.


The flipside of the record showcases more of the same dichotomy. "'Xcuse Me, Gentleman (The Fall of Atlantis)" is all Hendrix from the title to the rough vocals and guitar riffage. "(Love Rides...) The Slow Swirling Seas" is a slow-jam R&B crooner. And "Freedom" is an actual Hendrix cover.


Velvert Turner Group is a terrific album, the only one from this Hendrix protégé. It is wonderfully schizophrenic, both showcasing Turner's love of his mentor and injecting a style of his own. Things don't always cohere, but while initial listening betrays the obvious Hendrix influence, repeated plays show that even the most obviously Hendrix-inspired tunes have a unique originality behind the homage. Turner popped up on an Arthur Lee solo album in 1981, but he never recorded a full album again. It would have been a revelation to see what he became had he seen Velvet Turner Group to fruition. 




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