Fred Wedlock

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Fred Wedlock
Fred Wedlock at Allerford Folk Festival, Somerset.jpg
Wedlock performing at Allerford Folk Festival in 2003
Background information
Birth namePeter Frederick Wedlock
Born(1942-05-23)23 May 1942
Bristol, England
OriginBristol, England
Died4 March 2010(2010-03-04) (aged 67)
GenresComedy, folk, Scrumpy and Western
Occupation(s)Humorist, guitarist, singer, songwriter, actor
Years active1960s–2010
LabelsVarious, see Discography
Associated actsPigsty Hill Light Orchestra

Fred Wedlock (23 May 1942 – 4 March 2010) was a folk singer best known for his UK hit single "The Oldest Swinger In Town".[1] He performed at many venues in Britain and Europe, presented programmes for West Country TV and acted with the Bristol Old Vic, as well as undertaking after-dinner speaking engagements.

Early life[edit]

Fred Wedlock was born in the old Bristol Maternity Hospital in Southwell Street, Kingsdown, Bristol. He was brought up in Redcliffe, where his father ran the York House pub. He sang in the church choir at St Mary Redcliffe.[2] Wedlock was educated at Bristol Grammar School in the 1950s. He represented the school and the Old Bristolians playing hockey.[2]


After attending Swansea University,[3] he taught in the East End of London during the 1960s, at South Bristol College and the Castle School, Thornbury (1969 to 1971), before taking up music full-time in the 1970s.[4] Wedlock was a regular performer at the Bristol Troubadour Club and he played the folk circuit, both prior to, and in the wake of, his single chart success, with performances at clubs and festivals all over the world. He also presented many programmes on West Country TV.[5][6][7] In 1997 Wedlock took a leading role in Bristol Old Vic's production of Up the Feeder, Down the Mouth, a theatrical history of Bristol Docks, written by A. C. H. Smith. In 2001 the production was restaged on the waterfront.[8][9][10] He also appeared in several productions for Bristol theatre company, The Ministry of Entertainment, most recently in December 2009.[11]

Wedlock's albums include The Folker (1971) (notable for the title track parody of "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel), Frolicks (1973), Out of Wedlock (1978), The Oldest Swinger in Town (1981) and Fred Wedlock Live (1982). In early 1981 "The Oldest Swinger in Town", reached number 6 in the UK Singles Chart.[1]

His daughter, Hannah Wedlock, was an occasional member of the Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra, another Bristol-based outfit, whom Fred made his support band at an early stage of their career.[12] She now performs with the Blue Note Jazz Band.[2] His grandfather, Billy Wedlock, captained Bristol City F.C. and was a regular for England in the early 20th century. The Wedlock stand at Ashton Gate is named in his honour.[13] He lived at Amesbury near Timsbury, Somerset where for many years he contributed to village life by providing entertainment and helping with raising funds for local projects.[14][15]


It was announced on 4 March 2010 that Fred Wedlock had died, in hospital in Bath, Somerset, following a heart attack, after having contracted pneumonia.[4][15][16] Dick Greener of Strawbs Web, the website of folk rock band The Strawbs, said that he was "A huge comic talent, and an all round thoroughly nice guy, I know ... those who have seen Fred in the past during his long and successful career, would want to pass on their condolences to Fred's family."[17] Derek Cleverdon, chairman of the Variety Club Children's Charity South West, said Fred was also devoted to charitable causes. "He performed on numerous occasions for the Variety Club, and raised thousands of pounds for us over the years."[4]

A large number of people attended a funeral service held at St Mary Redcliffe church on 15 March 2010. Family and friends paid homage with tributes and songs. A local press report said that "he filled Bristol's largest church to capacity."[18]

Personal papers and recordings[edit]

Videos and CDs of television programmes and performances, promotional photographs and press cuttings, song lyrics, jokes, scripts, research notes, papers and correspondence are held by Bristol Archives (Ref. 44790) (online catalogue).

Summary discography[edit]

  • The Folker — Village Thing VTS 7, 1971[19]
  • Frollicks — Village Thing VTS 20, 1973[19]
  • Home Made — Pillock Produckshuns PPS1, 1975[19]
  • Greatest Hits — Pillock Produckshuns PPS17, 1977[19]
  • Out of Wedlock — One Up OU2217, 1978[19]
  • The Oldest Swinger in Town (with Chris Newman) — Pillock Produckshuns PPS 271, 1979[19]
  • The Oldest Swinger in Town (different track listing) — Rocket TRAIN 13, 1981[19]
  • Live (with Chris Newman) — Rocket TRAIN 19, 1982[19]
  • The Complete 'Folker' and 'Frollicks' Albums — Village Thing, 2008[19]
  • Wrinklies' Revolution — own label[20]
  • Souvenir — own label[20]
  • Something Old, Something New — own label[20]
  • Festive Fred — own label[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 595. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ a b c "Fred Wedlock". Bristol Rocks. Retrieved 6 March 2010.
  3. ^ Schofield, Derek (8 March 2010). "Fred Wedlock obituary". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b c Staff writer (4 March 2010). "Singer Fred Wedlock dies, aged 67". Bristol Evening Post. Bristol: Bristol News and Media. Archived from the original on 8 March 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  5. ^ "HTV: Statement of Commitments 2002/2003" (MSWord). OFcom. 2001. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  6. ^ "Wholly Wedlock". Film & TV Database. BFI. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Entertaining Mr Wedlock (1996)". Film & TV Database. BFI. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Fred Wedlock". Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  9. ^ Staff writer (28 June 2001). "Musical charts maritime history". BBC News. Bristol: BBC. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  10. ^ "A–Z of Bristol Old Vic" (PDF). Bristol University Theatre Collection. University of Bristol. 2003. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  11. ^ "Ministry of Entertainment". Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  12. ^ "The Pigsty Hill Light Orchestra". Scrumpy & Western. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  13. ^ "Fred Wedlock 1942–2010". Bristol City F C. Archived from the original on 6 March 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Freds Festive Frolic". Timsbury Parish Council. 25 November 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  15. ^ a b Staff writer (4 March 2010). "Oldest swinger in town' dies at the age of 67". BBC News. London: BBC. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  16. ^ Staff writer (4 March 2010). "Singer Fred Wedlock dies". Bath Chronicle. Bath: Bath News and Media. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  17. ^ Greener, Dick (4 March 2010). "The Strawbs Official Home Page". StrawbsWeb. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  18. ^ Staff writer (16 March 2010). "Hundreds turn out for the funeral of much-loved Bristol entertainer Fred Wedlock". Bristol Evening Post. Bristol News and Media. Archived from the original on 22 March 2010. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Fred Wedlock". Scrumpy & Western. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 4 March 2010.
  20. ^ a b c d "Fred Wedlock". Retrieved 4 March 2010.

External links[edit]