Leo “Bud” Welch

(Sabougla, MS) 

Leo “Bud” Welch Sr. starting playing guitar in 1943 when he was 13. He recorded his first album of gospel and delta blues a few weeks shy of his 82nd birthday. While it took decades for the rest of the world to recognize his talents, the people around Sabougla, Mississippi knew it all along.
When he wasn’t in school or working in the cotton fields, the teenager was busking and bringing home a few extra dollars. Later on, Bud earned a living as a logger working in the hills and hollows of North Mississippi. In the evenings and on weekends the friends and family were treated to his gospel blues at picnics, house parties, jam sessions and every Sunday at church where he performed with the Sabougla Voices with his sister and a sister-in-law, and with the Skuna Valley Male Chorus.
Even though the church has been Bud’s main music venue, he is adamant that that blues is not the devil’s music. He says it’s his way of expressing the highs and lows of a long hard life. A phone call to a record company garnered Bud a recording contract, and we’re lucky it did. Now the blues fans of the world get to know what the fine people of Sabougla, Mississippi have known for years.

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