Sunday, 8 December 2013

Ed Welch - Clowns (1971)

Edward William "Ed" Welch was primarily a composer of television and stage music in the 1970's. As a student of classical music, Welch graduated in 1965 upon which he started his music career working for United Artists Music. In 1971, UA gave Welch the chance release his own solo record entitled "Clowns". With the help of Tom Paxton, who provided all the lyrical content, Welch put out this album full of great melodic pop moments, most of which wouldn't sound out of place on a Fading Yellow compilation.

I've only ever seen the one copy of Clowns, and that is my own, which I found at the London Olympia VIP Record Fair last month. When I picked it up my eyes must have been glowing, a guy stood next to me said, "You don't want that, mate. It's not very good!". I'll be the judge on that! I'd already heard the title track a while ago and that was enough to make me hand £15 over to the dealer. At the time of writing there are a few copies for sale on Discogs priced between £20 and £30.

Ed Welch 1971 -
a dead ringer for Michael Brown
Thanks to Welch's classical composition knowledge, the arrangements on the LP are of the highest standard reminding me of the orchestrated cuts on Colin Blunstone's debut solo record "One Year" also from 1971.
Players on the album include Cozy Powell (listed as Cosy!) on Drums, Mike Albuquerque (Electric Light Orchestra's bass player on their first three albums) on bass, Alan Gorrie (Forever More/Average White Band)on guitar and Jo Meek, Maria Popkievitch and Frank Aiello on backing vocals.  It was produced by Mike Albuquerque and engineered by Paul Holland at Central Sound Studios, London, UK.

Judging by the scarceness of the record, you could take an educated guess that the album didn't sell too well. Welch must have realised that he wasn't destined for the pop charts, instead he used his ear for a great melody to write music for television shows and music libraries. Most UK residents over the age of 25 will definitely know at least two of TV his compositions: music from the quiz shows Blockbusters and Catchphrase!

Another record which may be of interest, penned by Welch & Paxton from 1971 is "You'd Better Believe It" by Jo Meek, who provided backing vocals on the Clowns album. Nice tune.

Anyway, back to the album and my favourite song on it, the title track "Clowns". Dig...