Pete Welding

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Pete Welding (15 November 1935 - 17 November 1995) was an American blues historian, archivist and record producer.

Born Peter J. Welding in Philadelphia,[1] he worked as a journalist for Down Beat magazine and occasionally freelanced for other publications including Rolling Stone.[2][3] 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,[4] 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"[5]

In 1993 he was nominated for a Grammy with Lawrence Cohn for the liner notes to "Roots 'n' Blues the Retrospective (1925-1950)" (Various).[6] Cohn and Welding also produced Leadbelly (Live in Concert), nominated for a Grammy in 1973.[7][8]

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.[9]

He also contributed sleeve notes to a wide variety of albums. He died in Altaloma, California, following a heart attack, in November 1995.[1] He was posthumously inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1996.


  1. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 1994 - 1995". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  2. ^ "Lucille | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. 1969-01-04. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Fathers Sons | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. 2001-05-24. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  4. ^ "Herb Gart - Incite Site". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  5. ^ Issue 42 of Record Research (March/April 1962), p.12
  6. ^ "The 35th Grammy Awards Nominations : General Categories - Los Angeles Times". 2000-01-23. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  7. ^ "Obituaries : Pete Welding; Author, Producer of Jazz and Blues Records - Los Angeles Times". 1995-11-23. Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  8. ^ "Pete Welding, 60, Authority on Jazz - New York Times". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  9. ^ "Remembering Pete Welding". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 

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