Ex-member of Bad Manners, Selecter or Skaville UK and musician of Dave Barker or Laurel Aitken, his highlights, in our opinion, in his long music carrer has always been his solo project as King Hammond. Having released a few albums during the last three decades under some different record companies it has been on the second decade of 2000 when his career has been worldwide recognised.
Nick began recording as King Hammond in 1987 but his first release King Hammond Shuffle on the compilation Ska For Ska’s Sake didn’t appear until 1989 the reason why it took so long to materialise was this was the period when he was the bassist in Bad Manners whose non stop touring schedule took up most of his time.
The first King Hammond album Revolution 70 was released a few months later selling well and receiving good reviews in the music press, this encouraged Nick to go straight back in the studio to record a follow up Tank Tops & Hot Pants but when delivered the masters to his label, Bluebeat Records, he was told the company had gone into liquidation and the record was his to do whatever he wanted with. It did eventually come out in 1992 when Trojan Records offshoot label Receiver, issued the 25 track Blow Your Mind that featured both albums and some previously unreleased material like the King Hammond version of Skaville UK which besides being covered by Bad Manners was also used as the theme music for the TV show British Tribes.
The next time Nick recorded as King Hammond was in 1996 when he played some manic Skinhead Reggae organ on Big Organ, a track on the Judge Dread album Dread, White & Blue with The Judge announcing “King Hammond will play for you”. Well, someone took what he said seriously because a few months later Nick received a call asking if he would be interested in touring Europe as King Hammond with Laurel Aitken & Dave Barker, of course the answer was yes and it got even better when it was decided that Nick would put together a band to back these two legends, although this meant 3 hours on stage for Mr Welsh it was 3 hours of heaven, I think it goes without saying that the tour was a huge success and it led to Moon Ska Europe offering Nick the chance to record with Dave Barker on what was supposed to be a Dave Barker/King Hammond album, but as it was nearing completion the ‘powers that be’ decided that it might ‘shift more units’ if the name King Hammond became The Selecter asking if singer Pauline Black would add some vocals to a couple of tracks. Now a Mouse with one ear could hear the boss sounds on this record had nothing to do with The Selecter but the vibe Nick was getting was that the album might not see the light of day if it didn’t come out this way and so Kingston Affair was released as Dave Barker & The Selecter, which Nick says is “maybe the biggest disappointment of my career”.
After that experience it was another 10 years before he would step back into the Kings shoes but when he did this time it was for keeps. In 2010 Argentinian band The Crabs Corporation invited King Hammond to produce a single for them, Bring Down The Birds, it was this that inspired Nick to enter the studio and record the first King Hammond album in 21 years The King & I for his own N.1 Records label after the Kingston Affair experience he said that he would never work for a record company again, anyway, bitterness aside, since then four more King Hammond albums have been released with the latest Hot Skin Music outselling, all the rest he has performed live in America, Canada, Germany, Spain and of course the UK.
2003 meant one of the highlights on Nick’s career when he won the Grammy award for Lee Perry’s album Jamaican ET, Nick Welsh wrote the tracks on the album and played bass on it. The album was released on 2002 by Trojan Records and one year later won the Grammy for the “Best Reggae Album”.
2014 celebrates the 25th anniversary of Revolution 70 and celebrates it presenting this new single under Liquidator Music label, featuring a new version of Skaville UK entilted Skaville Olé and the great Gimme Some Soul on the B side.