Fred Wedlock 1942-2010

It’s with much sadness that I note the passing of Fred Wedlock, the Bristol teacher-turned- folk singer and humourist.  For me and many other pop pickers of my generation, he’ll always be remembered as the man who made ‘The Oldest Swinger In Town’ famous, taking it to number 6 in the UK charts in 1981.  Although Fred wasn’t the original writer of the song, he rewrote much of it and made it his own – and it would be almost impossible to enjoy without his magnificent Bristol twang. 

He was also responsible for umpteen albums of West Country wit and humour (whether he was an integral part of the scene or not, I just love the term ‘scrumpy & western’), including Frollicks and Out of Wedlock

But ‘The Oldest Swinger In Town’ has made him a legend of my record collection.  It’s a song whose lyrics get more painfully funny with every passing year and a one I’ve quoted from extensively, particularly in an article I wrote for U Magazine about age-gap couples.  God rest you, Fred, I will miss you.

The Oldest Swinger In Town

When you score with a chick in a disco bar
Take her home in your hairy little car
Then you find you went to school with her Ma and Pa
You’re the oldest swinger in town

When you won’t look in a mirror in the light of day
Swear you dyed it when your hair turns grey
When you zip up your Wranglers and your belly’s in the way
You’re the oldest swinger in town

Here you come and there you go
Wire wheel-spokes and a stereo
But the engine’s clapped, and the driver also
Is the oldest swinger in town

When your barber takes a little less time each week
The kids don’t understand a word you speak
When you walk into a disco and they offer you a seat
You’re the oldest swinger in town

You prefer a pint of mild to Bacardi and coke
The songs are too loud and there’s too much smoke
You’d like another dance but you’re scared you’ll have a stroke
You’re the oldest swinger in town

Here you come with your chest all bare
A little gold ingot and a lot of gold hair
Like the disco king meets Yogi Bear
You’re the oldest swinger in town

When you’re feeling as stiff as a skinhead’s boot
Rub on Vick where you used to splash Brut
And the latest punk fashion is your wedding suit
You’re the oldest swinger in town

When you have to go shopping for your sex appeal
Travolta shades and nine-inch heels
You say a man is just as old as the woman he feels
You’re the oldest swinger in town

Here you come with your lips closed tight
You never smile, you know it wouldn’t look right
‘Cause your dentures glow in ultra-violet light
You’re the oldest swinger in town

And you look so mean ’cause your pants are too tight
You’re the oldest swinger in town

And it takes you all night to do what you used to do all night
You’re the oldest swinger in town

As sung by Fred Wedlock, originally written by Ed Pickford

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One Response to “Fred Wedlock 1942-2010”

  1. […] From I Have Grave News » Music: […]

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