Born Peter J. Welding in Philadelphia, he worked as a journalist for Down Beat magazine and occasionally freelanced for other publications including Rolling Stone. In 1962 he moved to Chicago and, inspired by Bob Koester at Delmark Records, founded Testament Records in 1963 to issue recordings of blues and black folk song. Starting with singers Bill Jackson and Connie Williams, he moved on to record Big Joe Williams, Robert Nighthawk, Peg Leg Howell, Doctor Ross, Fred McDowell, J. B. Hutto and many others.
As a producer, Pete Welding was known for discovering talent in unusual places. In 1961, while doing research for a prospective album on Philadelphia street singers, he was approached by Herb Gart, who found blues singer Doug Quattlebaum "driving a "Mister Softee" ice cream truck—with his guitar plugged into the truck's amplification system, entertaining the kids with his blues!" resulting in an album financed by Moe of Manny, Moe and Jack (The Pep Boys) eventually titled "Softee Man Blues"
In 1993 he was nominated for a Grammy with Lawrence Cohn for the liner notes to "Roots 'n' Blues the Retrospective (1925-1950)" (Various). Cohn and Welding also produced Leadbelly (Live in Concert), nominated for a Grammy in 1973.
Photographer Raeburn Flerlage who worked closely with Welding on Down Beat, remembered Welding as unassuming but assertive with a formidable vocabulary and an "outlandish" sense of humor.
He also contributed sleeve notes to a wide variety of albums. He died in Altaloma, California, following a heart attack, in November 1995. He was posthumously inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996.
- Thedeadrockstarsclub.com - accessed December 2009
- issue 42 of Record Research (March/April 1962, p.12)