Saturday, 30 March 2019

Googie René born 30 March 1927


Rafael Leon René (March 30, 1927 – November 25, 2007), known as Googie René, was an American musician, bandleader, and songwriter.

Googie Rene is one of those unjustly overlooked musical figures from the rock 'n' roll years. Although he was the backbone of Class Records, Rene has remained something of an "underground" figure amongst the collector fraternity until the release of the "Wham Bam" CD on Ace. He is the son of label owner/songwriter Leon Rene (1902-1982) and was called "Googie" because that was the first word he ever uttered as an infant. By the time Googie graduated from Dorsey High School in the Los Angeles suburb of Baldwin Hills, he was showing all the signs of following in his father's footsteps.

He studied piano, composed songs and gained some firsthand studio experience when Leon Rene invited him along to record dates. But before Googie could get more involved, he had to serve in the US Army/Air Force in Europe. Upon his return in 1950, he found that his father's label, Exclusive Records, had gone bankrupt, but, undaunted, Leon Rene started to prepare a new imprint entitled Class Records.

Googie became primarily responsible for overseeing the new label, which released its first single at the end of 1951, in the short-lived 500 series. However, after the recent upheavals, Leon and Googie, chose to make a quiet start and struck an arrangement with the Bihari Brothers to release the Class product on Modern and RPM.


                           

It was not until September 1956 that Class really got off the ground, with a new 200 series. The second release (Class 201) in that series was "Sad Fool" by the Rollettes (a.k.a as the Dreamers : Gloria Jones, Annette Williams and Fanita Barrett), coupled with "Wham Bam" by the Googie Rene Combo. This rocking instrumental was the start of a long line of singles (in excess of 20 of them, over an 11-year period) by the Combo, which usually contained the cream of the West Coast session men. 

The cast includes Plas Johnson and Clifford Scott on saxophone, Earl Palmer on drums and Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Jimmy Nolen and Rene Hall on guitar. The instrumentals run the gamut from 50s rock'n'roll, boogie woogie, jump, latin, to 60s soul-jazz. On some tracks, Googie stands out front on piano, then organ later on, while letting his cohorts take the lead on many others.

Googie was given creative control at Class, which enabled him to develop his own songwriting, arranging, keyboard playing, and production techniques. As can be clearly seen from the progression of sides presented on the "Wham Bam" CD, from the smooth 1956 West Coast jump of Wham Bam to the groovy 1966 Ramsey Lewis
stylings, Googie had the latest chart hits and current trends always in mind when he went into the studio. The influences and inspirations are many and varied.

From a rock & roll point of view, the most interesting releases are those from the 1956-1959 period, especially "Wiggle Tail, Parts 1 & 2" ," "Big Time"/"Midnight" , "Break It Up"/"Side-Track"  and "Rock-A Boogie"/"Beautiful Weekend".

It was probably due to the usual marketing/promotion glitches in a less-than-national operation that Googie had only three minor hits : "The Slide, Part 1" (# 20 R&B, early 1961), "Flapjacks, Part 1" (# 25 R&B, 1963) and "Smokey Joe's Lala" (# 77 pop, # 35 R&B, 1966). But as it was a family business, Class didn't turf Googie out when he failed to hit paydirt - he just kept on pushing out the singles plus three LPs. If airplay had been there, it's highly likely he would have had hits during the early years when instrumentals were a staple part of the Top 100 charts, for the recordings were right on the money tune-wise and musicianship-wise.


Googie René died in 2007, aged 80. His son is singer and songwriter Chris Rene.

(Edited mainly from BlackCat Rockabilly)

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Randy Brooks born 28 March 1917


Randolph E. “Randy” Brooks (15 Mar 1919 - 21 Mar 1967) was an excellent American swing based trumpeter and band leader, known as "The Golden Trumpet." In 1947, Brooks' version of "Tenderly," became the most requested song in the country.

Brooks got his start at the age of 8, playing in a cornet trio with his parents in the Sanford Salvation Army band. When he was 12, Brooks won a competition for young trumpet players, beating out over 2,000 other entrants. Two years later, at the age of 14, he gained national fame with his appearances on Rudy Vallee's national radio program, where he was asked to be a permanent member of the band. However, he was too young to sit in with the regular brass section, so each week he would perform a classical trumpet solo to rave reviews.

After graduating from Sanford High in 1937, Brooks went to New York City to seek his fortune in the music business. After a few years of playing in other bandleader's orchestras such as Hal Kemp and les Brown, Brooks started his own band in 1944. In 1946, his band began a successful run at New York's famed Roseland Ballroom.

Brooks' band set the record for the longest run at the Roseland, and was named "best new orchestra" for 1946. Besides the gig at the Roseland, the Randy Brooks Band was selected to play the annual "Harvest Moon Festival" at New York's Madison Square Garden. The young Stan Getz was in the band for a short period in 1946.


                           

In 1947, Brooks' band had been named "one of the best bands in the nation" by Downbeat Magazine, a music business publication. Brooks' Decca recordings were gaining nationwide fame. Besides "Tenderly," which sold over a million copies, Brooks also recorded 
songs such as: "Don't Let Me Dream," "Moonmist," "Harlem Noctrum," and "Laughing on the Outside (Crying on the Inside)".

Brooks married fellow bandleader Ina Ray Hutton and moved to Los Angeles where tragedy struck.In 1950, as he was at the height of his popularity, Brooks suffered a cerebral stroke which left him partially paralyzed and unable to perform. He briefly returned following rehabilitation, but suffered a second stroke in 1958, and retired in 1961.


He died March 21, 1967 in a fire at his Springvale apartment at the age of 48. Today he is largely forgotten and unfortunately his generally rewarding recordings are mostly out of-print. Randy Brooks deserved much better.

(Edited from AllMusic and mainly from a bio by Paul Auger @ findagrave)

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Frankie Ervin born 27 March 1926


Frank Miller "Frankie" Ervin (March 27, 1926 – February 1, 2009) was an American R&B singer who recorded both solo and with vocal groups including Johnny Moore's Three Blazers ("Dragnet Blues", 1953) and The Shields ("You Cheated", 1958).

Ervin was born in Blythe, California. After his father left, his mother moved with her children to Woodville and then Madill, Oklahoma, and encouraged the children (four boys and four girls) to take part in talent shows. They later moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma, where Frankie learned tap dancing, and sang in church. In 1942 he joined his older brothers Jesse and Warren, who were working as a dance act, Skid and Slid, in Fort Worth, Texas. The family moved in 1944 to Los Angeles, where Frankie and Jesse Ervin worked in menial jobs and began performing in clubs on Central Avenue.

In 1951, Frankie Ervin was signed as a singer by Mercury Records, and released the single "High School Baby" / "Got My Shipyard Job Back Again," with Maxwell Davis' band and Jesse Ervin on guitar. The following year, he recorded as featured vocalist with Oscar Moore's Combo, and in 1953 (credited as Frank Evans) recorded with Preston Love's band for Federal Records. Later in the year he recorded "Dragnet Blues" as lead singer with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers, on the Bihari brothers' Modern label. The record company faced legal action from Jack Webb of the Dragnet radio and TV show, for unauthorized use of part of the show's theme, but the case was resolved and the record sold well, reaching number 8 on the Billboard R&B chart.

The Bihari brothers persuaded Ervin to leave Johnny Moore's group and record solo, again with Maxwell Davis' orchestra, but his records were not successful and he returned to touring with the Three Blazers. In early 1955, he recorded "Johnny Ace's Last Letter" with the group. The song purported to be a letter from singer Johnny Ace explaining why he had killed himself; it reached number 15 on the R&B chart. Later in the year, Ervin recorded several Christmas songs with the Blazers, including "Christmas Eve Baby". He also recorded under the name Frankie Day for the Caddy label set up by radio DJ Dick Hugg.


                            

In early 1958, record producer George Motola persuaded Ervin to record the song "You Cheated", which had been first recorded by a white vocal group, The Slades. Ervin was backed by an impromptu studio vocal group comprising Jesse Belvin, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, Tommy "Buster" Williams and "Handsome" Mel Williams, and musicians including guitarist René Hall. 


Credited to The Shields - an otherwise non-existent group - and first issued on the Tender label before being reissued by Dot Records, the record reached number 12 on the pop chart later that year, and number 11 on the R&B chart. Ervin toured and appeared on national TV to promote the record, with different singers as his backing vocalists, but the original recording group reconvened in the studio to record less successful follow-ups, including "Nature Boy".

Ervin continued to record occasionally under his own name for small labels in the late 1950s and early 1960s, but with little success. He left the music business in the 1960s, before re-emerging in 1982 with San Francisco band Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88. Following the release of a compilation album of his 1950s material, Dragnet Blues, in 1987, he returned to the recording studio in 1988, to record in Los Angeles with Ernie Freeman's and Charles Brown's bands. He continued to perform from then on, mainly in the San Francisco area. 



A compilation of his recordings from the 1950s to the 1990s, You Cheated, You Lied, was released on his own label, Punchline, in 1996.

He died in San Francisco in 2009, aged 82. (Edited from Wikipedia)

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Joe Loco born 26 March 1921


Joe Loco (March 26, 1921 - March 7, 1988) was a Latin pianist, arranger, bandleader and composer; played a leading part in popularizing mambo and other Latin rhythms in the USA during '40s-50s with big bands and his own popular combo.

Joe Loco was born José Estevez Jr. in Manhattan, New York City of Puerto Rican parentage. He started dance and violin tuition at age eight, skipping school at 13 to dance in vaudeville; he was caught by a truant officer and made to attend Harlem High School in 1937, where he learned the basics of trombone and piano: he played trombone with a New York Amateur Symphony but settled on piano. He danced with Chick Webb's band (featuring Ella Fitzgerald) at the Apollo Theatre, and played piano with the bands of Ciro Rimac, the Happy Boys, Enric Madriguera, Xavier Cugat and others.



He was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force '45-6; after discharge he studied at Juilliard under the G.I. bill. He then free lanced with Latin music's top bands, which included Polito Galindez, Marcelino Guerra, Pupi Campo, and Julio Andino before striking gold with his monstrous hit recording of "Tenderly" in 1952.


                         

Loco ‘s policy of giving pop standards and original tunes a Latin jazz makeover in a small piano and rhythm group context became a winning formula, securing dates in jazz clubs nationwide as well as Latino community gigs.

Meanwhile Loco kept the albums coming with the under-promoted The Music Of Rafael Hernández and Augustin Lara '57 and The Music Of Gonzalo Curiel and Consuelo Velázquez Vol. 2 '59 on Ansonia. Let's Go Loco and Happy Go Loco on Imperial. He returned to Fantasy for Cha Cha Chá  '58, Olé '58, Latin Jewels '59, The Best Of Joe Loco '60 and Pachanga With Joe Loco '61 made with Mongo Santamaria's charanga.

He changed to GNP for Poco Loco With Joe Loco c.1962; he issued Dance! Joe Loco And His Pachanga Band early '60s and Puerto Rico '68 on Liberty/Sunset. He moved to Puerto Rico '68, and worked in San Juan hotels until his death on March 07, 1988.

(Edited from Wikipedia & donaldclarkemusicbox.)

Monday, 25 March 2019

Hoyt Axton born 25 March 1938


Hoyt Wayne Axton (March 25, 1938 – October 26, 1999) was an American folk music singer-songwriter, guitarist, and a film and television actor. He became prominent in the early-1960s, establishing himself on the West Coast as a folk singer with an earthy style and powerful voice. As he matured, some of his songwriting became well known throughout the world. Among

them were "Joy to the World", "The Pusher", "No No Song", "Greenback Dollar", "Della and the Dealer", and "Never Been to Spain".

Born in Duncan, Oklahoma, Axton spent his pre-teen years in Comanche, Oklahoma, with his brother, John. His mother, Mae Boren Axton, a songwriter, co-wrote the classic rock 'n' roll song "Heartbreak Hotel", which became the a major hit for Elvis Presley. Some of Hoyt's own songs were also later recorded by Presley. Axton's father, John Thomas Axton, was a naval officer stationed in Jacksonville, Florida; the family joined him there in 1949.

As a child, Axton learned classical piano but, as his mother recalled, "he would start playing boogie in the middle of a lesson". The teenage Axton was swept up in the folk music revival and was inspired by Woody Guthrie. 

Axton graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1956 and left town after Knauer's Hardware Store burned down on graduation night, a prank gone wrong. He attended Oklahoma State University on a scholarship, and he played football for the school, but he left to enlist in the US Navy.

After his discharge from the navy , he played guitar and sang in San Francisco and Los Angeles clubs before making his first album, The Balladeer, in 1962. It was a year later that he enjoyed his first commercial success, when the Kingston Trio recorded Greenback Dollar, although their version omitted the word "damn" in the chorus.

                             

For Axton, it was the prelude to a lucrative period as a songwriter. In 1964, John Kay, leader of Canadian rock band Steppenwolf, heard Axton perform his anti-drug song The Pusher. Steppenwolf 's version was a hit and later used in the film Easy Rider. Even greater success came in 1970 when Three Dog Night recorded his
infectious, lightweight Joy to the World and Never Been to Spain (which Presley also recorded). Joy to the World was top of the American hit parade for six weeks. Axton toured America with Three Dog Night and treated audiences to his views on the then US president Nixon.

In 1975, Axton's humorous No No Song was a hit for Ringo Starr and he provided numerous songs for country singers such as Lynn Anderson, Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker in the 1960s and 1970s. His compositions were equally popular with Joan Baez, Tiny Tim and BB King. Axton maintained a parallel career as a singer-songwriter where his idiosyncratic and anti-establishment vision flourished.

He made definitive recordings of the satire You're The Hangnail In My Life; another anti-drug piece, Snowblind Friend; the narrative ballad Delta and the Dealer; and Boney Fingers, a nonsense song in the Guthrie mould. He also worked for the United Nations Children's Fund and for the prisoners' charity Bread and Roses.

Axton also performed from the mid-1960s onwards as a character actor, playing "good old boy" types. He appeared in 20 films including The Black Stallion (1979) and Gremlins (1984). His final role was in King Cobra, released during 1999. His television credits included guest appearances in the series McCloud and The Bionic Woman and as Aaron Southworth in Dallas: The Early Years.
He recorded more than 20 albums of his own work, of which the best was probably Road Songs (1977) where he duetted with Linda Ronstadt. In the 1980s he issued his recordings on his own Jeremiah label. His final albums were Spin of the Wheel, issued in 1991, and Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog, a collection of songs for children.

In 1996 Axton suffered a severe stroke which hampered his mobility. He had to use a wheelchair much of the time afterwards. He died of heart failure on October 26, 1999, at the age of 61 at his home in the Bitterroot Valley near Victor, Montana. Two weeks prior to his death, he suffered a heart attack at his home and another while undergoing surgery.


On November 1, 2007, Axton and his mother were both inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in Muskogee, Oklahoma.

(Edited from the Guardian & Wikipedia)

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Peggy Sue Wright born 25 March 1943

Peggy Sue Wright (née Webb; March 25, 1943) is a country music singer and songwriter, who had brief success as a country singer in the late 1960s. She is the middle sister of two popular country performers, Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Her older brother Willie "Jay" Lee Webb was a country music singer/songwriter in the 1960s.

Peggy Sue Wright was born Peggy Sue Webb in a log cabin in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky on March 25, 1943. She is the second daughter and the sixth child born to Clara Marie "Clary" (née Ramey; 1912 – 1981) and Melvin Theodore "Ted" Webb (1906 – 1959). Mr. Webb was a coal miner and subsistence farmer.

The family was poor; living hand-to-mouth and relying on her father's meagre income. The seven Webb siblings in addition to Wright:

Melvin "Junior" Webb (December 4, 1929 – July 1, 1993)
Loretta Lynn (née Webb; born April 14, 1932)
Herman Webb (September 3, 1934 – July 28, 2018)
Willie "Jay" Lee Webb (February 12, 1937 – July 31, 1996)
Donald Ray Webb (April 2, 1941 – October 13, 2017)
Betty Ruth Hopkins (née Webb; born 1946)
Crystal Gayle (born Brenda Gail Webb; January 9, 1951)

The family moved to Wabash, Indiana in 1955 due to her father's illness from working in the coal mines; he would die in 1959 of black lung disease. She began performing with Loretta and her brothers at venues around Wabash, Indiana. Wright then became a featured act in Loretta's early shows in the 1960s. She also helped write a few of Loretta's compositions, including "Don't Come Home A' Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)."


                          

In 1969, she signed with Decca Records and released her debut single, "I'm Dynamite," which went into the Country Top 30. That same year she released an album of the same name. The second single from that album titled, "I'm Gettin' Tired of Babyin' You" also reached the Top 30.

After Peggy Sue had a hit with her most successful single, "All-American Husband," she left Decca Records after releasing two albums. Next, Wright recorded two albums in the 1970s for two small labels.

Peggy Sue was married twice. Her first marriage was to Douglas Wells (m.1964-div.1968); the second to Sonny Wright (m.1970-). From her first marriage, Peggy had one daughter: Doyletta Gayle; born May 30, 1967. Doyletta Gayle was named after Doyle Wilburn and Wright's sisters: Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Doyletta became a victim of spousal abuse when she was killed by her spouse on February 22, 1991. From her second marriage, Peggy has a son and daughter: Georgia; born June 30, 1971 (age 47), and Layla; born February 28, 1973 (age 46).

Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn & Peggy Sue. (Webb)

After 1970, she didn't appear on the Billboard country charts until 1980. Beginning then, she had a small string of minor hits on her second husband Sonny Wright's label, Doorknob. The couple recoded together and worked on numerous stages included the Grand Old Opry and toured in Europe and the United States.

Peggy with husband Sonny Wright 2016

In 1986 she began performing as a background singer and designing stage costumes for her younger sister, Crystal Gayle.She continues to perform with Gayle today. Occasionally they both join up with older sister Loretta Lynn for a concert at her Hurricane Mills, Tennessee ranch. (Edited from Wikipedia)

Here.s a medley, first song is Crying in the rain (from album Hollywood-Tennessee), second song is Bye bye Love from the Everly Brothers.

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Sticks McGhee born 23 March 1918


Granville Henry "Stick" McGhee* (March 23, 1918 – August 15, 1961) was an African-American jump blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, best known for his blues song "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee", which he wrote with J. Mayo Williams. *(Also known as Sticks McGhee)

McGhee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee. He received his nickname when he was a child. He used a stick to push a wagon carrying his older brother Brownie McGhee, who had contracted polio. Granville began playing the guitar when he was thirteen years old. After his freshman year he dropped out of high school and worked with his father at the Eastman Kodak subsidiary, Tennessee Eastman Company in Kingsport. In 1940 Granville quit his job and moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, and then to New York City. He entered the military in 1942 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After being discharged in 1946, he settled in New York.


In the military, McGhee often played his guitar. One of the songs he performed was "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee". It was one of the earliest prototypical rock-and-roll songs. Cover versions were recorded by Wynonie Harris, Lionel Hampton, Big John Greer, Johnny Burnette, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Mike Bloomfield's Electric Flag (as "Wine"). The song lent its name to the alcoholic fruit drink spodi. In 1946 Granville and Brownie McGhee wrote a version of the song that didn't use profanity. Harlem Records released the new version in January 1947. It sold for 49 cents. It did not get much airplay until two years later, when Stick re-created the song for Atlantic Records. 


                           

It was on the Billboard R&B chart for almost half a year, rising to number 2, where it stayed for four weeks. Numerous cover versions of his songs were recorded over the years. The first cover was by Lionel Hampton, featuring Sonny Parker; next was a cover by Wynonie Harris, followed by a hillbilly-bop version by Loy 


Gordon & His Pleasant Valley Boys. "Drinkin' Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee" continued to be popular throughout the 1950s in cover versions by various artists, including Malcolm Yelvington in 1954, Johnny Burnette in 1957, and Jerry Lee Lewis in 1959.

McGhee continued to make records for Atlantic and created popular songs such as "Tennessee Waltz Blues", "Drank Up All the Wine Last Night", "Venus Blues", "Let's Do It", and "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show", but his music career overall was not successful. McGhee moved from Atlantic to Essex Records, for which he recorded "My Little Rose".

During March of 1950, Sticks recorded with Sonny Terry on harmonica and Harry Van Walls on piano. For the next year McGhee was absent from the recording studio, appearing from time to time in night clubs in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. The next recording session he was on was in New York, but this time for the London Records label, as the British company was trying to tap the American R & B field. Recording as Sticks MsGhee & His Orchestra, he was joined at the session by Al King on sax, Van Walls on piano, Brownie McGhee on guitar, Tom Barney on bass, and Ernest Hayward on drums. The songs were "You Gotta Have Something On The Ball" and "Oh What A Face" released on London.

After one more smash for Atlantic, 1951's "Tennessee Waltz Blues," McGhee moved along to King Records in 1953. There he recorded a number of rock-and-roll songs, such a "Whiskey, Women and Loaded Dice", "Head Happy with Wine", "Jungle Juice", "Six to Eight", "Double Crossin' Liquor", "Dealin' from the Bottom", and "Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter".

However, he was unable to make money from his records, so he left King for Savoy Records in 1955. He retired from the music industry in 1960. In the late '50s McGhee recorded LP album tracks with Sonny Terry for the Folkways and Prestige-Bluesville labels. In 1960 he cut the songs "Sleep in Job" and "Money Fever" in New York with Sonny Terry. The tracks were released on Herald Records. This was McGhee's last recording session.

McGhee died of lung cancer in The Bronx Veteran’s Hospital , New York, on August 15, 1961, at the age of forty-three. He left his old guitar to Brownie's son before he died.

(Edited mainly from Wikipedia & AllMusic)

Friday, 22 March 2019

Leo "Bud" Welch born 22 March 1937


Leo "Bud" Welch (March 22, 1932 – December 19, 2017) was an American gospel blues musician and guitarist who didn't make his professional recording debut until he was 82 years old, by which time he was pretty much the last in a line of vernacular Mississippi guitarists who included R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Mississippi Fred McDowell.

Born in Sabougla, Mississippi, Welch grew up on his family’s farm in the tiny Calhoun County community. His early influences including listening to the Grand Ole Opry over the radio, and as a teen he learned guitar from an older cousin, L.C. Welch, with whom he formed a trio together with his younger brother, Arlanda.  At 18, Welch moved to Grenada, where he played in a group with Alfred Harris and was soon playing at picnics and parties, working his way up to juke joints and clubs, playing mostly blues standards with a gospel edge, raw and urgent. Otherwise, he kept his day job, working over 30 
years on a logging crew in the hill country. The influence of the region he called home, his years of musicianship, and his well-lived life blended together to create music that was as unique as he was. 

After his conversion to evangelical Christianity, Welch, like McDowell, Rev. Gary Davis, and Blind Willie Johnson before him, developed an iconic, raw, hybridized gospel blues. From the mid-‘70s on, Welch was an established gospel performer in Bruce, leading groups including the Sabougla Voices and the Skuna Valley Male Chorus and hosting a gospel TV show on a local station.

Around 1975, when the blues began to wane as a popular music and the gigs began to dry up, Welch switched his sound to gospel, and took his blues riffs and Chuck Berry energy into the churches, developing a raw hybrid style that had the grit and moan of the blues laid under the urgent, passionate energy of call-and-response gospel.

His music recording career started in 2014, after he was secretly recorded performing at his manager's birthday party. An offhand phone call to the Big Legal Mess record label brought him an audition and then a recording contract. Welch took his striking gospel blues into the studio, putting it down straight and with no frills, emerging with a debut album, Sabougla Voices, early in 2014. As part of his deal with Big Legal Mess, Welch promised the label that if they issued his gospel record, he would cut a blues album.

He delivered on it with I Don't Prefer No Blues. The set was produced by Bruce Watson, featured guitar work from Jimbo Mathus, and was issued in early 2015. After touring the globe, appearing in the European documentary Late Blossom Blues, and releasing Live at the Iridium (the only recording to place his gospel and juke joint blues side by side in the same program), Welch entered the recording studio with producer Dan Auerbach and sidemen Swift and Michaels. This line-up cut some 30 tracks live from the studio floor.

Welch fell ill in July, forcing him to cancel many previously booked appearances. His condition deteriorated and he died at his home in Bruce, Mississippi on December 19, 2017, aged 85.


Welch once expressed the satisfaction of his late-blooming career. “I’ve worked hard in the woods, cutting timber, running a chain saw for thirty-five years, got bit one time by a rattlesnake, but I’m still here. I’m making more money now than I ever did in the cornfields or cottonfields or woods, and I’m happy, I’m proud of what I’m doing. And I believe the Lord is too. The Lord always blessed me to make it over.”

(Edited from Wikipedia, AllMusic & Clarion Ledger)