Champion Doug Veitch
The undisputed King of Caledonian Cajun Swing, the 80’s pioneer who almost single-handedly invented the idea of World Music crossover by fusing a whole variety of styles – Cajun, Swing, Reggae, Ska, AfroBeat – long before it became fashionable.
In the summer of 1982 Champion Doug Veitch walked into Ariwa Sounds Studio – home of the legendary reggae producer Mad Professor – a meeting of minds that led to six NME “Singles of the Week”, a record he holds to this day.
It was Doug who introduced The Bhundu Boys to the late Radio 1 DJ John Peel, a seminal moment in music history leading to them becoming one John’s favourite artists.
With his nine piece band, Doug was highly sought after, and did radio sessions with John Peel, Andy Kershaw and Charlie Gillett. He played gigs at all the major London venues of the time such as The Wag Club, The Fridge, Mean Fiddler, Gaz’s Rocking Blues and the ICA, in front of masses of adoring fans and chattering media.
After this, Doug’s career saw him take an entirely different direction until a chance Facebook encounter with Pete Lawrence stirred thoughts of a comeback……..
………….whilst rock monsters Led Zeppellin played their reunion concert at the O2, 1980’s mavericks have more class. After a hiatus of some 30 years, Champion Doug Veitch returned to his old stomping ground and chose to play his reunion gig at the legendary 100 Club in Soho, attracting a packed crowd of the great and good.
With an 10-piece band featuring some of the original line-up and host of other music luminaries, this was a triumphant and joyous return, signalling the start of an exciting new era for this much respected and appreciated musician.
Champion Doug Veitch (vocals and guitar). The undisputed King of Caledonian Cajun Swing, the 80’s pioneer who almost single-handedly invented the idea of World music crossover, fusing a whole variety of styles – Caledonian Cajun Swing, Reggae, Ska, AfroBeat – long before it became fashionable.
Martin Bell, (Fiddle). Martin’s credits include The Wonder Stuff and The Albion Band among others Martin played in the Champion Doug Veitch band thirty years ago.
Chris Hall, (Accordion). Chris has performed with many leading American Cajun artists and plays regularly throughout Europe with various bands in his own right. Much in demand as a player, in recent years his playing has been called upon by Paul MacCartney, Bill Wyman and Kate Bush – for recording and live work. Chris was also a member of the original Champion Doug Veitch band.
Louis Vause, (Piano / Keyboards). Louis has released three highly acclaimed albums in his own name in recent years and performs with The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra. His past credits include Graham Coxon, Club Montepulciano and Hackney Five-O.
Rick Medlock, (Drums). Legendary Coventry drummer. Plays with The Mosquitos.
Horace Panter aka Sir Horace Gentleman, (Bass). Horace is bass player with The Specials and also plays with The Mosquitos.
Steve Turner, (Steel Guitar / Guitar). Steve’s credits include Howard Hughes & The Western Approaches, Kirsty McColl and Ralph McTell.
In the summer of 1982 Champion Doug Veitch walked into Ariwa Sounds Studio – home of the legendary reggae producer Mad Professor. Selected purely by chance, the intention had been to record two tracks, “Lumiere Urban” and “Another Place” as the debut single for Drum Records, an alternative label Doug had started with Tony McDermott – onetime bass player with jazz funk outfit Stimulin.
On a miniscule budget, the two tracks were recorded and mixed in a day – no mean feat given the lengthy list of musicians and instruments in attendance. Particularly taken with the sounds emanating from Jim Craig’s Pedal Steel guitar, Mad Professor began playing with a dub version of “Lumiere Urban”. The resultant mix, “Gone Train” became the B-side to “Lumiere Urban”, which was released as a 7 inch vinyl single in October 1982. The eclectic Scottish-cajun-dub outing featuring brass, fiddle accordion and pedal steel, attained “Single of the Week” status in both Sounds and New Musical Express in the same week whilst appearing in publications as diverse as Black Echoes and The Face.
The record was aired by renowned Capital Radio DJ Charlie Gillett, followed quickly by John Peel, Johnnie Walker, (who included it amongst his “best of the year”) and Stuart Colman. The record made “Best of the Year” lists in Rolling Stone, Sounds and New Musical Express. With its fold-out poster sleeve and photography by Tim O’Sullivan, “Lumiere Urban” became a sought-after collector’s item. It was the first of six NME “Singles of the Week” for Champion Doug Veitch, believed to be a record to this day.
Between 1982 and 1985 he released a series of six critically acclaimed eclectic singles that blended country with reggae, western swing, Cajun and African styles. Accordion jostled with fiddle and steel guitar, brass with reggae bass over the top of which Doug proffered lyrics in his own inimitable voice. B sides featured dub mixes courtesy of the Mad Professor – renowned reggae producer. All six singles attained “single of the week” status in the prestigious New Musical Express – a record apparently still held.
Click HERE for reviews
Clich HERE for the technical spec.