The Welbeck Group; a History: 1.Musical Origins

No matter what your age or musical taste, you will have heard of the Welbeck Group. In fact if you haven’t then you most probably have been on the dark side of the moon for the last 20 years. Either that or in a coma!

They were, and still are, a true phenomenon. A Group with two family members at their core, Danny Welbeck and Robby Welbeck, who managed to forge a career for themselves in sometimes difficult circumstances, and ride the vagaries of musical tastes and the fickle fancies of fashion.

But no discussion of the Group can really get going unless one delves into the musical past of the Welbeck family. It may be that the success of Danny and Robby lay in their genes, although it would be quite unfair to say that they didn’t have to work hard to learn their craft and earn their spurs.

It was music that brought Rachel Cross and her future husband,  Jess Welbeck together, in the late 1960s.  Rachel was a RedCoat at Butlins Holiday Camp at Clacton, and Jess used to play there on occasions with his Rockabilly Tribute Group, “Red Rebels Rising”. Among Rachel’s duties was to entertain, by singing the latest hits with the resident house Group, “The Clactonettes”, and being a Bingo Caller!

They met after one of Jess’s gigs, got on like a “House!” on fire (sorry about the pun) and in the space of a year were married and settled into a small home in Herne Bay, Kent, on the South England coast. Jess’s Group started to make a bit of a name for themselves as they started to try to move away from just rock n roll, and into soft rock, but the punk revolution towards the end of the 1970s saw the Group call it a day.

“I just couldn’t understand punk at the time” said Justin “instead of it being fresh and exciting, I saw it as atonal, aggressive and vulgar!”

They had two children, both boys, Danny being the first and Robert nearly two years later. Did they display any musical talent from the start I asked Rachel Welbeck-

“Danny used to love playing around with his Dad’s guitars and amplifiers, but preferred to pose with them rather than try to play them” she said “and when Robby came along he always seemed to have a thing for low sounds and noise, which I guess is the opposite of a dog- they like high pitched sounds!”

So the pieces were in place, two sons born of two people with music in their blood, one who liked the image of being a performer, and watched himself in the mirror as he held his Dad’s battered Fender Telecaster. The other, drawn to the lower end of the musical spectrum, was destined to play bass (and occasional keyboards).

All that was needed was some encouragement, and perhaps a sprinkle of luck!