The Velvets didn't conform to any of doo wop's norms.' says sleevenote writer Bill Millar They hailed, not from New York, but from Odessa, where the Texan panhandle meets the rest of the state. In the age of streetcorner amateur, they made records as polished as their patent leather shoes. Lead singer Virgil Johnson, the Velvets' Mr Sheen, didn't overdose when the hits stopped, he had aspirations outside music and never gave up his day job. Weirdest of all, the Velvets barely dabbled in R&B. LIke their mentor, Roy Orbison, they sang songs which straddled that increasingly invisible line between country and pop. The Velvets and Roy Orbison shared the same producer in Fred Foster and the same session musicians in Nashville's A-Team. In essence, the Velvets dusted Orbie's sombre, bel canto agonies with a faint but cheerful shot of proto-soul.Performing locally at sock-hops and campus functions, The Velvets were heard by Roy Orbison who was so impressed with them that he recommended the group to Fred Foster at Monument Records. Their second release Tonight took them into the Billboard Hot 100 at # 26 (UK chart at # 50) and, as Millar says, is as perfect as black pop music would get. The follow-up Lana, though it barely dented the American charts, went to No 1 in Japan! The Complete Velvets features all the singles they made through until 1966 plus all of the thirteen previously unreleased sides which have only been available on Japanese vinyl and CD. As befits such a group of oh-so-smooth singers, the tracks are transferred from original analogue master tapes.