MONSTER MIKE WELCH
AND MIKE LEDBETTER
RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME
WITH SPECIAL GUEST LAURA CHAVEZ
DELTA GROOVE MUSIC DGPCD 176
CRY FOR ME BABY–I CAN’T PLEASE YOU–I CAN’T STOP, BABY–DOWN HOME GIRL–HOW LONG CAN THIS GO ON–BIG MAMA–I’M GONNA MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY–CAN’T SIT DOWN–CRYIN’ WON’T HELP YOU–GOODBYE BABY–BREWSTER AVENUE BUMP
On June 2, 2016, Monster Mike Welch, on guitar, and Mike Ledbetter, on vocals, sho’ nuff brought the house down during a tribute to Otis Rush at the Chicago Blues Festival. Their chemistry was so incredible that an album had to be forthcoming. And so it is, with “Right Place, Right Time,” for Delta Groove Records. It has three Ledbetter originals and two from Mike, and these guys, along with Anthony Geraci on keys, Ronnie James Weber on bass, Marty Richards on drums, and special guest Laura Chavez on guitar on four cuts, adding a touch of yin to the fellows’ yang.
Mike Welch has been a guitar “Monster” for nearly twenty-five years, anointed as such by ol’ Elwood Blues himself, when Mike was only thirteen. He’s appeared on sets for countless other artists, among them Sugaray Rayford and the Mannish Boys. Mike Ledbetter spent eight years as vocalist for Nick Moss, and has an extensive background in pop, jazz, gospel, and even opera! As you listen to this set, you will be impressed, as were we, with how easily Mike’s solid guitar tones meshed with the other Mike’s vocals, often pushing well into the upper registers.
Obviously, this set is a play on the title of Otis Rush’s legendary 1976 album, “Right Place, Wrong Time.” The fellows get right into it, with the jumpin’ “Cry For Me Baby,” while Welch’s extended intro and the horn section of Sax Gordon and Doug James gives a decided West Side punch to “I Can’t Please You.” Anthony has a lot of fun on piano with the loping beat of Ledbetter’s original, “Kay Marie,” while they dig down deep into classic slow-blues territory with a topical tune written by Mike Welch, “I’m Gonna Move To Another Country, maybe I can get a job.” The set closes with a stompin’ instrumental, the Welch-penned “Brewster Avenue Bump,” featuring back-and-forth guitar interplay between Mike and Laura Chavez.
We had two favorites, too. Mike’s rich guitar tones evoke Elmore James as Mike Ledbetter brings home the plaintive vocal on James’ “Goodbye Baby,” and they follow it up with a B. B.-inspired read of Robert Nighthawk’s “Cryin’ Won’t Help You, ’cause you been so mean to me!”
Monster Mike Welch and Mike Ledbetter play off of each other so seamlessly that this set was downright magical. You can bet they were both in the “Right Place, Right Time,” back in June 2016, and this album is a fine testimony to their incredible talents! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.