So I capsule-reviewed the new (and only) Leo Welch album for the paper, and then, in searching our archives, realized we already reviewed it a few weeks ago. Lest my labor be in vain, I’m pasting it here for my fine reader(s?):
Last year an 81-year-old logger turned gospel singer dialed up a record label, because he heard it promotes the music of old black men. This year, he released a debut album with Big Legal Mess. Leo Welch’s “Sabougla Voices,” named after a Mississippi Hills Country community, doses gospel with blues for a body-swaying, hip-shaking, soul-shivering experience. Welsch sings about prayin’ and prostratin’, but the delivery is pulpit-fiery and the rifts are ripped from the devil’s juke, in steady-pounding, electric-boogie style. The album opens with “Praise His Name,” a robust original that features call-and-response warbling by Martha and Laverne Conley, members of Welch’s local singing group. (They provide back-up vocals throughout, and additional instrumentation comes from BLM/Fat Possum’s finest: Jimbo Mathus, Eric Carleton, Matt Patton, Andrew Bryant and Bronson Tew.) Welsch can make a big noise, but he’s most effective when he’s stark and sparse, in numbers such as “Mother Loves Her Children,” “A Long Journey,” and “The Lord will Make a Way.” These tracks showcase his idiosyncratic phrasing, burbled vocals and acoustic guitar, channelling Muddy Waters and even Sam Cooke.
Also, I interviewed this adorkable 21-year-old lady rapper from Little Rock, Kari Faux, and on her first mixtape, Fact or Faux, inspired by Foxy Brown and made when she was 19, her voice sounds like Ladybug Mecca’s and her beats sound like Tribe Called Quest. She’s done four others since then, and there are some gems on all of them, especially this year’s Spontaneous Generation (Generation Wh(Y), House of Avalon, Rap Game Daria, Cootie Shot + Cellphone’s Dead). But Fact or Faux is my fave. Get it while it lingers. She thinks she took it down, and once she realizes it’s still up (i.e. my profile runs), it may go away forever.