Philadephia Music Community to Stage Joyouse Celebration Remembering Influential ‘Philly Soul’ Producer Weldon A. McDougal II

Benefit Concert and Memorial Service to Commemorate Life of Larks Vocalist and Phila. International and Motown Records Promotion Exec Who Helped Discover Michael Jackson and Jackson 5

WHAT: The Philadelphia music community will gather to stage a joyous celebration commemorating the life of WELDON ARTHUR McDOUGAL III, influential vocalist and producer and founding member of The Larks in a benefit concert and memorial service at the Clef Club.

McDougal, a West Philadelphia native who died Oct. 21 of pancreatic cancer at 74, was a promotions executive for Philadelphia International Records and Motown Records. He is credited with helping to shape Philadelphia soul music and helping to discover Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.

WHEN: Tuesday, November 9, 2010

6 p.m. – Doors Open

7 p.m – Program Begins

WHO: The Intruders – performer

The Soul Survivors – performer

Sounds of the Blue Notes – performer

The Delfonics – performer

Jamie Knight – performer

Rheel Menn – performer

Weldon McDougal IV – speaker

Ju-Taun – performer

Carol Riddick – performer

Earl Young, MFSB – speaker

Bunny Sigler – performer

Kimberly Roberts, Philadelphia Tribune – speaker

WHERE: The Clef Club

Avenue of the Arts

738 S. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA


Randy Alexander / Randex Communications / 856.596.1410; 609.280.6140 (m) /

Online press kit at

Weldon Arthur McDougal III

A Musical Life

Born in 1936 and hailing from West Philadelphia, Weldon Arthur McDougal III for over four decades contributed to the musical evolution of the Sound of Philadelphia.

As songwriter, recording artist, group bandleader of the The Larks and independent producer, he helped shape and influence the creation and development of Philly sound since the early 1960s. The Larks became known nationally in 1961 with their national hit “It’s Unbelievable,” and during the same year the same year, Weldon appeared with The Larks on American Bandstand.

As a founding member and co-owner of the Harthon record label alongside his partners Luther Randolph and Johnny Stiles, Weldon produced diverse local Philly artists including Eddie Holman, the Volcanoes, Larry Clinton, Nella Dodds, Cindy Gibson, Herb Ward, The Tiffanies and many others.

Many of those songs Weldon produced are now collectors classics across both sides of Atlantic in rare soul music circles, and are held up as being some of the most momentous early examples of Philly soul.

Weldon was instrumental in helping shape the early Philly sound and produced Barbara Mason’s Philly classic Top 10 hit, “Yes, I’m Ready,” which is one of the era ‘s defining first examples of the sweet, lush orchestrated sound that came to be called Philly soul and would soon herald the arrival of “The Sound of Philadelphia” in the early 1970s. Weldon was the first artist to record and produce Sharon Paige before she came to national prominence with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes.

Weldon first brought together the trio of Earl Young, Norman Harris and Ronnie Baker, who would become the heart of MFSB and would back The Larks in the studio, including the much revered classic soul tracks “I Still Love You,” “Rain” and “Groovin’ at the Go Go.”

Weldon became the first black promotions man on the East Coast, working for Chips Distributors. He subsequently joined Motown Records, becoming Head of Special projects — promoting artists on the road and records to DJ’s nationally. Weldon was instrumental in introducing and helping discover the Jackson 5 while at Motown Records. He had a special relationship with the group and Michael as they grew up and developed their music, on and off the road.

In the 1970s, Weldon continued to produce while working nationally at Motown and Philadelphia International Records. He recorded many artists at Sigma Sound Studios, including his band, Universal Love, Love Committee, Dap ‘Sugar’ Willy, Lois Sneed, Melba Moore, Gerri Grainger, Lou Gordon, Gwen Owens, Jimmy Randolph, Dahlia, Phyllis Smith, Rhonda Berg and many more.

Weldon produced a national hit album in 1978 again for Barbara Mason, I Am Your Woman, She Is Your Wife’. He toured with many artists overseas, including Bunny Sigler, Archie Bell and the Three Degrees, while acting as head of Special Projects at Motown Records.

As a celebrated photographer with a gift for photography, Weldon’s photographs of Michael Jackson are known internationally. He published The Michael Jackson Scrapbook to acclaim in 1981 and contributed rare photos of all the Motown luminaries in Motown: The Golden Years, published 2001.

In 2006 he produced a popular album for local artist Shirley Slaughter.

In 2008 and 2009 he published two CD volumes of his independent production work to critical acclaim in the USA, UK and Japan.

In 2010 Weldon spoke at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and took part in numerous television documentaries and programs, including the life of Marvin Gaye and more recently, fellow Philadelphian Tammi Terrell.

In 2010 he took part in the filming of a to be televised life story of Michael Jackson which will finally publically recognize his role in the Michael Jackson story

Weldon was known locally and internationally for his work as an ambassador for the musical heritage of the City of Philadelphia and advised many in the music business over the years.

Weldon was a proud father to his son Weldon McDougal IV and a loving grandfather to his granddaughters Martina and Tierra. He was immensely proud of what they have achieved.

His work and legacy will continue to be source of inspiration for all, and he leaves a wealth of devoted family, friends and colleagues who will continue to treasure his friendship and musical contribution.

Andrew Demetriades

October 23rd 2010

Published in: on November 9, 2010 at 10:17 AM  Leave a Comment  

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