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Fred Wedlock: Funnyman of Folk [Illustrated] [Paperback]

John Hudson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Nov 2013
Fred Wedlock: Funnyman of Folk is a comprehensive biography of Bristol cult hero Fred Wedlock who was propelled to national stardom with his hit single Oldest Swinger in Town. Written by John Hudson, Fred was completed with the support of Fred Wedlock's widow Sue who, along with Bristol Records Office, supplied an extensive photographic archive of Fred's life from his childhood in Redcliffe, Bristol to his last days. Fred Wedlock died on March 4, 2010 and left behind him a legacy as one of the country's most engaging folk artists. Although Fred Wedlock was a product of the 60s folk scene playing Bristol clubs such as The Troubador and The Bathurst, he owes as much to the comedy tradition of Jasper Carrott, Billy Connelly and Mike Harding. He was a proud Bristolian with strong connections to Bristol City FC, where his grandfather Billy Wedlock played until his retirement in 1921. John Hudson paints a picture of a warm and genuinely funny character who thrived on performing to live audiences and also made a successful career as a local television presenter.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Bristol Books CIC; 1 edition (4 Nov 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909446025
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909446021
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 559,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

John Hudson is the author, compiler or editor of more than thirty books of social history, regional interest and biography.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From folkie to Oldest Swinger 13 Dec 2013
This book really does the trick. It takes you vividly back to the Folk Boom of the 60s and then moves you forward through the intervening decades of folk-type music à la Fred Wedlock. It anticipates and then focuses on Fred's `5 minutes of fame' with his `Oldest Swinger' single in 1981. It's fascinating to read about the personal impact this sudden rise had on the singer both at the time and in later years (inevitably you go straight to You Tube to listen to `Swinger' again). So we have a sympathetic and so readable biography of a talented, enterprising and obviously likeable character, but with it we have a tableau of many aspects of second world war social history, assisted by a series of personally centred but socially evocative black and white photographs. I also feel obliged to quote the author's `favourite Wedlock joke', since Fred, as we learn, was (or became) famous as a raconteur as much as a singer. So: `a German shepherd comes to live next door, does his business on our lawn every morning, has `orrible dog too.'
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fluent, informative and sympathetic. 5 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A fluent, informative and sympathetic read. A fine memorial to a good friend, especially during our years together at University.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended ! 4 Jan 2014
I've always been fascinated by the pop charts "one hit wonders" the often unfair title given to someone who might have had a long musical career but made one record that hit with the general public, was propelled into overnight stardom but disappeared when subsequent follow-ups didn't make it. Fred made the charts in 1981 with "The Oldest Swinger in Town" but had been around for years before that playing local Bristol area and national folk clubs not just featuring the humorous material (Mini Cooper, Handier Household Help, Skinheads, Ceilings sung to the tune of Feelings etc.) that would give him his hit but sincere and socially earnest songs in the spirit of the 60's folk boom. Fred passed in 2010 and this very personal and highly readable book (with frequent touching stories from his wife Sue) traces not only the facts of his long career but outlines it's background touching on the post war education system, the seemingly readily available jobs, the intimate folk club scene etc. Then signed to Elton Johns Rocket label the unfortunate tale of the follow up single borders on farce with 2 songs being released with the same catalogue number (in the book the story is detailed by a vintage record collector in Lancashire called what else but Hargreaves - almost a subject of one of Fred's songs). Fred didn't fortunately completely leave the showbiz world and continued performing on radio and at times TV as well as live, writing songs, compering shows etc. Recommended to anyone interested in the workings of the pop industry, the UK folk club scene as well as Fred himself, the Funnyman of Folk.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Does Fred proud 24 Dec 2013
This is a well-researched and affectionate portrait of Fred Wedlock, the folk singer and comedian. Although he was best known for his Top 10 hit Oldest Swinger in Town, Wedlock was also part of the national folk scene of the 60s and 70s. In Fred Wedlock: Funnyman of Folk John Hudson paints a vivid picture of those folk clubs, particularly in Bristol, making this book as much a social history as personal story. Highly recommended.
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