Let’s get this straight from the start, ‘Welcome Home’ by Harvest is not a cover of the Peters & Lee song that got to number 1 in the UK. It is rather a cover of the Dutch duo Big Mouth & Little Eve song which did not make the Dutch charts. Big Mouth was the Mouth half of Mouth & MacNeal, a successful Dutch duo that brought us hits like ‘How Do You Do’ and ‘Hello-A’, both of which were covered by locals. The former was covered by The Rising Sons and the latter by a duet consisting of Billy Forrest and Sharon Tandy.
And Forrest and Tandy were both involved in the cover of ‘Welcome Home’ with Forrest producing the song and Tandy being a member of Harvest alongside Hawk’s Dave Ornellas. Their cover was released in 1978, a year after Big Mouth & Little Eve’s version. Harvest would get to 10 and spend 11 weeks on the Springbok Charts with their version.
‘Welcome Home’ is a pleasant 70s pop song with a catchy chorus and Harvest give it a slightly harder sound than the original with guitars, harmonica and Ornellas’ whiskey and honey vocals giving it a more bluesy feel than Big Mouth & Little Eve’s version. The picture sleeve of the cover shows a troopie knocking on the front door of what is presumably his home. This image would have helped to sell the single as many families were having to live with young men conscripted into the army and only returning home occasionally.
With big names like Forrest, Tandy and Ornellas being involved, coupled with a catchy song and a sentimental sleeve cover, it was no wonder this was a hit record in South Africa.
Where to find it:
Various Artists – The Best of SA Pop Volume 3 (1994) GSP, CDREDD 610