Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

At 81, bluesman Leo Welch is finally getting his moment

Praise the Lord and pass the mojo. Leo Welch, 81, has met his moment, but not his maker. The debut album from the gristle-and-bones Mississippian is Sabougla Voices, a chugging hunk of churchified blues music that is finally getting the man some notice.

One of the dynamics of rural Southern living is Saturday night's juke-jointing whoop-whoop, followed by Sunday morning's more sanctified situations. That standard weekend order mirrors the full story of Welch, a former no-name bluesman – he once missed out on a chance to audition for B.B. King because he didn't have the scratch to travel to Memphis – turned steeple-house shouter-guitarist.

"I come to sing my song," bawls Welch, a long-time comer who grooves in the shambolic, hypnotic ways of the late R. L. Burnside and Hound Dog Taylor, without their back pockets of whisky. He arrives to kneel in prayer, to jump for joy and to "lift them up."

Story continues below advertisement

He's lifted, we're lifted, everybody's lifted – heaven can wait.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to