Leo Bud Welch passed away a little over a year ago, so this album The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name (Easy Eye Sound), produced by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) and mastered by Richard Dodd, is a posthumous offering. Having released his first album in 2014 when he was already an octogenarian, this marks his third release, and we can only hope there were enough recordings for one more.
Born in 1932, in his 20’s Welch backed bluesmen B.B. King, John Lee Hooker and more at the Blue Angel in Bruce, Mississippi, because he was available as house musician. He played for the church nearly his entire life there in Bruce, despite once having been invited to audition for B.B. King’s band– an audition for which Welch did not have the money to make the 3 – hour trip and overnight hotel fare. Only after he was secretly recorded playing at a birthday party, and the recording found its way into Bruce Watson’s (Fat Possum/Big Legal Mess) hands, did Welch, then already in his late 70s, get to record his first album.
The Angels in Heaven Done Signed My Name showcases Bud Welch’s unique blues playing style in his arrangements of traditional gospel songs. Every one of the rapid-paced tracks is seared by the imprint of Welch’s red hot guitar playing. Richard Swift is on drums on the album, with Russ Pahl and Dan Auerbach on guitars; Leon Michels contributes organ, while Ray Jacildo contributes some organ, piano and even harpsichord and Dave Roe kicks in some occasional bass. Throughout, Welch’s gravelly vocals will strike a chord down in your very soul.
“Don’t Let the Devil Ride” (and don’t let him drag you down) features deadly serious electric guitar by Welch, Auerbach and Russ Paul, and some punctuated, furious scribbling organ tones by Leon Michels. “Let It Shine” is a layered version of the ubiquitous traditional, and at times you’ll note several syncopated rhythmic styles happening all at once in a version that reassembles to make perfect sense as all the layers transcend any version you’ve encountered before.
“I Want to Be at the Meeting” is a musical transcendence, with sleepy lead guitars, leading through some very dark and hushed moments and opening out on other moments of real sonic intensity all at a shuffle pace. “Right On Time,” again captivates the imagination with layers of grooves and multiple rhythms banging around the center, and includes some honest conversation at the song’s close that will bring you right into the studio with them.
“Sweet Home” is only the duo of Welch on electric blues guitar with Auerbach on slide guitar, and you’ll find yourself lost in the loose winding rhythms.
This album will groove you right from the blues into the best of all jam band styles. Get your copy here: