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Exeter band Velvet Touch to play city again – 40 years on

By Exeter Express and Echo  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

By Mike Byrne

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ONE of Exeter's best-known bands of the 1960s and 70s Velvet Touch are reuniting for a gig in the city.

The band played with The Who, the Bee Gees, Tina Turner and the Kinks, and were regulars at the city's Tiffany's club in their glory days. The six-piece pop and soul band operated out of Exeter between 1967 and 1974.

They were one of the most successful bands in the South West, and spent much of their time acting as the main support to many of the famous chart bands of the time.

In 1971, a poll was conducted from all the major live music venues in Devon and Cornwall to discover the most popular band.

The Velvet Touch won the poll with more than 60 per cent of the vote.

Although most of their work was within the four counties of the South West, they did occasionally play as far away as Wales and Yorkshire.

A few years after the band ended, two of the current band won ITV's talent show New Faces in their current band Pride, the only British act to have won a major national television talent show with a self-written song – a record that still stands today.

The original band, less one member, reformed late in 2005 as a five piece, to perform at a small number of private functions, and at occasional bookings to help local charities.

The band comprises of Neil Govier on bass and vocals, Paul Walters on guitar and vocals, Pat Young on keyboards and backing vocals, Bob Dennis on saxaphone and Dave Denning on drums.

Steve Gibbings, who has been helping promote bands in and around Exeter for many years, said the idea came following a conversation with Pat Young.

Steve said: "One day we were talking about music in general, and to my surprise he told me he had once been in a band playing gigs around Exeter in the late 60s and early 70s. After talking for many hours, it was discovered that I had actually seen the band in Tiffany's back in the early 70s.

"When Pat told me Velvet Touch were rehearsing with a plan to do some gigs in 2013, I told him I was so interested in the band I would like to meet them and try to get them a gig in Exeter.

"I thought there would be great interest in a top local band of the 60s playing again in Exeter after 40-odd years.

"I remember watching Velvet Touch at an under-14s disco at Tiffany's on a Tuesday night, and also one lunchtime for the Radio 1 roadshow.

"I also remember seeing Pride, who used to play regular gigs at the Queens Vaults in Exeter on Sunday evenings.

"It was a regular music venue back in the day and the only place to be on Sunday nights."

Forty years later the original band is back almost in its entirety, and will play at Exeter City FC's Centre Spot on Saturday February 16.

It promises to be a real trip down memory lane – the evening consists of a 60s disco and two sets from the Velvet Touch.

For enquiries relating to the gig contact 07708 943616.

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