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Remember those cheesy surf movies of the 60s where out of nowhere there is a band on the beach who plays some really cool music that gets everybody up to dancing in their swim-suits? For some reason I can picture the Rick Welter Band being one of those cool outfits performing on the sand. Their music fits right into that danceable atmosphere, with its classic full-bodied guitar sound and grooving backbeat. If labels like Ace or Specialty, who released some of the finest R&B numbers of the 50s and 60s, were still going strong, they could make a living off of Rickís calm, rich vocals and guitar tone. And they couldíve probably taken Rickís new disc, Iím All Yours and placed tracks into the hands of deejays and right into the charts. Itís the type of music that is all about feeling good. Instantly likeable, it makes you want to shuffle your feet, snap your fingers and sway your body along with its rhythm. How can you possibly go wrong with that?
But itís all about song selection. Rick knows what works well for his style and nails it home every time. Along with carefully chosen covers by the likes of Earl King, Jimmy Liggins, Lou Pride or Earl Hooker, Rick also penned four of the numbers himself and they fit the mold perfectly, be it funky, soulful or just plain jumpiní. Rick has his own flair and in his hands all of the covered songs sound like they were written just for him.
Itís also about having the right people working with you and Rick has a stellar crew along for the ride. Recorded on a mobile system at Duffís Garage in Portland by longtime friend Dave Keefer during dates in March and October 2008, Rick is more than ably backed by the skillful Tom Royer on drums with bass duties split between John Neish and Steve Lindsey. Throw in harmonica ace Jim Wallace on a couple tracks as well as percussionist Bradly Scott and youíve got yourself a winning combination that makes the music come to life, giving it that feel good sensation.
But though I have compared Rick Welter with music of the past, make no mistake he is no throwback in time. This is a band that sounds as fresh as any working today, maybe even more so than a good many of them. Iím All Yours is a disc that will be enjoyed for a long time to come. It just has that quirky, good-natured approach that never goes out of style.
By Greg Johnson
Cascade Blues Association