Leo 'Bud' Welch - new kid on the block at 82
Leo has been playing guitar and singing gospel around his home in the small rural settlement of Sabougla in central Mississippi all his life, working in the cotton fields and singing in church, but it's only now, rather late in life, that his talent has been widely recognised. His CD, Sabougla Voices, is a gospel blues album, but his set included many standard blues numbers, including such well worn favourites as I Got My Mojo Working, My Babe, Sweet Little Angel, Hi Heel Sneakers, No More Doggin', Cadillac Baby and Sweet Home Chicago. Supported just by a drummer, the excellent Dixie Street from Clarksdale, Mississippi, Leo showed that he has a voice well suited to the blues and a strong if unsubtle guitar style. He certainly put his numbers across powerfully and it was good to see someone who has been overlooked all this time make such an impression. I will be seeing him again at the King Biscuit Blues festival in Helena, Arkansas, next month. Watch out also for a documentary film about Leo and his life in the Delta over the last eight decades. Funds are being raised for the movie and more info can be found at leobudwelchmovie.com
The venue in Pennington Street is far from being a genuine juke joint, even if the empty buildings and derelict lots nearby have a feeling of Clarksdale. It's far too bright and clean. But this was its first Juke Joint promotion and it is to be hoped that more will follow Leo's lead.