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Monster Mike Welch & Mike Ledbetter Right Place, Right Time

By Richard Ludmerer
In CD Reviews INDIE Blues
Apr 19th, 2017

Monster Mike Welch & Mike Ledbetter

Right Place, Right Time

Delta Groove Music

When guitarist Mike Welch was only thirteen years old blues aficionado, actor and comedian Dan Aykroyd gave him the nickname Monster Mike. Welch released his 1996 debut recording “These Blues Are Mine” on the Tone-Cool Record label co-produced by Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt. Welch has five more albums under his own belt. Since 2001 Welch has been the lead guitarist for Sugar Ray & The Bluetones. Welch also appears on albums by The Mannish Boys, Sugarray Rayford, The Knickerbocker All-Stars, and Anthony Geraci and The Boston Blues All Stars. Welch has been nominated for Blues Music Awards for Best Instrumentalist – Guitar in both 2016 and 2017.

Mike Ledbetter spent a decade performing opera before concentrating solely on the blues. He spent the last eight years performing with his mentor Nick Moss. While touring and recording with the Nick Moss Band Ledbetter was lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist. Ledbetter also recorded with Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters and others.

During the 2016 Chicago Blues Festival Welch and Ledbetter took part in a tribute to the legendary Otis Rush. This album is a direct result of their inspired collaboration. Accompanying them are Geraci, piano and organ; Ronnie James Weber, bass; and Marty Richards, drums. Guest musicians include Laura Chavez, guitar; and saxophonists Doug James and “Sax” Gordon Beadle. The album is produced by Welch.

“I Can’t Stop Baby” written by Willie Dixon was the “B” side of a 1960 Chess Records single by Otis Rush. Ledbetter’s vocal is as passionate as it gets. Welch matches his intensity on guitar. Gordon’s tenor sax and James’ baritone are also perfect.

“Cry For Me Baby” is from Mel London, a record producer and owner of Chief Records. It was recorded by Elmore James in 1957. Welch’s repetitive intro opens this fabulous performance.  Ledbetter’s vocal is both shrill and beautiful. Geraci takes a great piano solo.

“Goodbye Baby” could have been written and recorded by James as early as 1955 as it appears on James’ 1960 album “Blues After Hours”. “I Can’t Please You” was a 1966 single from Jimmy Robbins on the Jerhart label. “Cryin’ Won’t Help You” was a 1946 hit on RCA Victor Records written and performed by Hudson Whitaker better known as Tampa Red. “How Long Can This Go On” was a 1973 single for Jr. Parker on the Duke Record label. On these Welch’s guitar playing is absolutely beautiful while Ledbetter’s phrasing is perfect.

“Down Home Girl” was written by Jerry Leiber and Artie Butler; it was recorded by The Rolling Stones in 1965 two years before it was a hit for The Coasters. “Every time I kiss your lips it tastes like pork & beans…oh your so down home, girl”. Featuring the horn section this is another great production by Welch.

Ledbetter has composed three new songs including “I Can’t Sit Down”. On both “Kay Marie” and “Big Mama” Welch is joined by guitarist Laura Chavez.

Welch contributes two originals of his own. On “I’m Gonna Move to Another Country” Welch plays for almost two minutes before being joined by Ledbetter’s vocal. “Brewster Avenue Bump” is an instrumental featuring Welch, Chavez and Geraci.

Ledbetter is a vocalist who impresses every time he sings. Welch is an amazing guitarist. Together they make new and exciting music. This is one of the year’s best.

Richard Ludmerer








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