From an original Wurzelmania page by 'Zider Ed' - Paul Gunningham and Frank Blades
Melt Kingston is probably one of the least well-known Wurzels. He became Adge Cutler's third tuba player when he replaced Henry Davis in October 1967. He stayed with the band for less than a year, and never appeared on any recordings, leaving in March 1968.
At the time, Melt was a young up-and-coming jazz player based in London. He counted fellow tuba and bass player, and newly-hired Wurzel Henry Davis amongst his friends. In the late summer of 1967, Henry was asked to join the latest pop sensation The New Vaudeville Band whose debut single had topped the charts in USA. With a chance for fame and fortune - and perhaps hoping for more of a musical challenge than The Wurzels offered - Henry accepted the offer, but not before suggesting to Adge Cutler that he appoint Melt as his replacement.
Melt Kingston Joins The Wurzels
Melt Kingston was invited to join Adge Cutler & The Wurzels in the later summer of 1967, when his friend and fellow tuba player Henry Davis left to join the New Vaudeville Band. Melt described arriving at Bristol Temple Meads station from London to be met by Adge, who drove him to his house in Nailsea. Previously Melt had been part of the London jazz scene and was a tuba player of some renown in those circles. The string bass though, an instrument he would be asked to play with the band, was not something he had tried before although he admitted to "knowing the fundamentals".
So he and Adge settled down in Adge's lounge armed with Henry's spare string bass and liberally refreshed by glasses of cider from the barrel of scrumpy in Adge's parlour. Sadly Melt's memories become rather hazy from then on, but he reckons he learnt two songs before the cider took over. Time wasn't on their side either because that evening Adge had to go to the press launch of an advertising campaign for Mr Brain's Faggots for which Adge had written the song Faggots Is The Stuff. Melt went along with him to be introduced to the press - and presumably the rest of the band. More drink was consumed and the next day Melt woke up with a terrible hangover and vague memories of two Wurzels songs. Thus armed he made his debut with the band that evening!
He has another tale about Adge taking him down to Dunne's Menswear in Bristol to get kitted out in his Wurzels gear. In those days there was no such thing a charity shops, so it was to the high street that they went for checked shirts, neckerchiefs and a suitable hat. Melt was paraded in front of Adge in his new gear. Adge looked quizzical, took the nice new hat from Melt's head, threw it on the floor, jumped on it a couple of times and replaced it on Melt's head. 'That's better!', he announced.
Frank Blades in conversation with Melt Kingston (1 Dec 2007)
Although he loved working with Adge, and got on well with his band-mates, his time with the band was limited to less than a year. Down in London, things hadn't worked out for Henry, and in March or April 1968, Melt and Henry did a job-swap. Henry returned to The Wurzels, while Melt caught the train back to London to take over tuba duties with the New Vaudeville Band.
Fame and fortune never did come to members of the New Vaudeville Band; within a year they had split as the novelty of their act ran out. Melt though remained in the music industry, and spotted providing the bass guitar on Lowri Evans' Welsh language album 'Clyw Sibrydion'. He remembered his time as a Wurzel with fond memories, having crammed loads of gigs at pubs and clubs into his few months with the band; and recalled Adge as 'a gentle man, an artist and a poet' - quite a nice elegy!
Melt Kingston passed away on April 1st 2019. A facebook tribute read:
Sad to hear this morning that Melt Kingston has passed away. He was a lovely man, a true gentleman, and a talented musician who enlivened the Pembrokeshire music scene for many years. Melt was always modest about his amazing musical history - which included playing in the Top of the Pops Orchestra and being a member of Lonnie Donegan's band - but when he could be coaxed into telling stories they were inevitably funny and heartwarming. R.I.P. Melt.