Leo Welch - Sabougla Voices

Published Sunday 6th September 2015
Leo Welch - Sabougla Voices
Leo Welch - Sabougla Voices

STYLE: Blues
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 150517-23264
LABEL: Big Legal Mess BLM0287

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

Every once in a while, the blues world throws up a surprise discovery that proves that the unrefined, down home strand of the genre embodied by past masters such as Son House, Charley Patton and Lightnin' Hopkins has a flame that still flickers even today. Leo 'Bud' Welch, an octogenarian former log chopper and farmer from Sabougla, Mississippi, is one such example. Welch's preference for playing at picnics, parties and churches as opposed to juke joints and clubs throughout his life has ensured that his work has largely gone under the radar making this find all the sweeter. Welch's weathered face with outstretched hand and Bible adorns the cover of this 10 track release and it's clear from this image and from the upbeat and refreshingly unprocessed opener "Praise His Name" that his mission is to do exactly as the song says thanks to a dedication to sing unwaveringly about his Lord through the medium of the blues. Welch's electric guitar playing and voice are delightfully gnarled and, together with some unfussy bass, drums and keys plus some call and response backing vocals from Martha and Laverne Conley, the bluesman maintains a fast pace throughout with the likes of "You Can't Hurry God" and "His Holy Name" echoing the high octane gospel found in black Pentecostal churches of old. Forays into acoustic country blues in "Me And My Lord" and "The Lord Will Make A Way" are no less powerful on account of Welch's age-soaked vocals and spiritual conviction whilst a version of the old chestnut "Somebody Touched Me" is a particular highlight.

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