Leo Bud Welch – Live at the Iridium | Album Review

Leo Bud Welch – Live at the Iridium

Cleopatra Blues


2-Item Set: CD: 17 Songs, 59:38 Minutes, DVD: 60:53 Minutes

Styles: Classic and Traditional Blues, Blues Covers, Electric Blues, Live Album, DVD Included

When it comes to blues by African-American masters who’ve lived more than four-score years, one can’t get more classic than Mississippi’s Leo “Bud” Welch. Yours truly decided that she’d “save the best for last” when it came to her current crop of CD’s to review. Without a doubt, she made the right decision here. Welch’s Live at the Iridium is a fantastic concert album, a two-item set that includes an audio CD and DVD. On the periodic table, the element iridium (chemical symbol Ir) has been named such for its multi-colored compounds. One thing’s for sure: “Bud’s” blues continues to be some of the most vibrant and treasured. Even though you’ll find many classic covers here, such as “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “Five Long Years,” “My Babe” and “Got My Mojo Workin’,” these are definite pluses, not minuses. Welch also features a couple of gospel tunes, such as the opener “Praise His Name” and closer “Me and my Lord.” On a long road trip or home-bound night, this set is perfect for listening and viewing.

His website tells considerably more “About” him: “Leo ‘Bud’ Welch Sr. was born in Sabougla, Mississippi in 1932. Bud picked up a guitar for the first time in 1945. Bud and a cousin would sneak and play the guitar while the actual owner of the guitar (Bud’s older cousin R.C. Welch) was away working. As he became confident in his ability to play guitar, Bud was caught red- handed by the owner of the guitar, playing the forbidden-to-touch instrument. Bud’s older cousin was so impressed with his playing that he gave Bud free rein to continue playing the guitar. By 1947, at age 15, Bud could play well enough to perform publically and garnered the blessing of many elder guitar players. Bud was offered an audition by BB King but could not afford the trip to Memphis…Leo’s debut album Sabougla Voices was released January 7, 2014, just two months before his 82nd birthday, and his sophomore album I Don’t Prefer No Blues was released on March 24, 2015 just two days after his 83rd birthday.”

After doing a Google search for the following song’s title, I was rewarded with results for a certain stomach-soothing drug. As it turns out, Leo “Bud” Welch does one of BB King’s jingles:

Track 12: “Pepticon” – This song is a commercial, but, man, does it sell! “You want to jump, have some fun? You want to jump, have some fun? You want to jump, have some fun? Get you a bottle of that old Pepticon!” Who would have thought I’d be stomping my feet and snapping my fingers to a blues-infused advertisement? The background is just as revealing: “The DJ’s didn’t have the luxury, as they do now, of putting in a CD or a tape and playing their commercials. The DJ’s had to write their own jingles and perform their own jingles, to show gratitude for some of their sponsors.” Pepticon was one of BB King’s sponsors, so the rest is hilarious history!

The DVD, as well as showcasing all the live-performed songs, also has a bonus interview with Welch. One of his keenest insights is this one: “I’m teaching my own self [to play guitar]. Yeah. I didn’t have nobody else. I heard a song, I get the guitar and play it…One of the first songs I learned how to play was ‘Baby, Please Don’t Go.’” He proceeds to do so, his fingers making sweet overtures on the strings. Clearly, he’s in love with the blues, as are our Constant Readers.

Need a classic blues pick-me-up? Let Leo Bud Welch: Live at the Iridium give you a lift!

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