digital sac-a'-lait productions
about pershing wells
I recall it as a summer day in and around 1964. We were living out in the country in a little place called Bayou Black when my eldest brother Bill brought home a Sears Magnatone guitar he'd bought from a friend. I picked it up and, well, more or less just started playing the thing. My parents weren't musical and my brothers and I had never had music lessons. It's hard to know where the gift came from. But It changed my life.
My major musical influences then were the Beatles, Chet Atkins, The Ventures, and jazz bebop phenomenon Howard Roberts. One of the first bands I played in, Southern Creation, specialized in "pops and standards." I was seventeen and playing songs like "Fly Me to the Moon" and "I Left My Heart in San Francisco".
I couldn't have made a better choice of bands. It was a great musical experience and I learned plenty. I signed a recording contract in 1969 with Paula Records. The label had a #1 Billboard hit with John Fred and the Playboys "Judy in Disguise.” The name of this band was the Bad Habits (formerly known as Debbie and the Lads). The single from the '69 session, "Night Owl", was an old r&b classic from the '50's. The iconic New Orleans AM radio station of the day, WTIX, picked the song as "Pick hit of the week" and it was a "regional breakthrough" in Billboard Magazine.
I moved to Colorado in 1971 and worked with two exceptional bar bands: Moss Point and Elijah and Company. While there, I recorded a project album with Mitch Ryder (of Detroit Wheels fame). I also worked in almost every ski area in the state. This was a five year musical sabbatical for me during which I continued to hone my musicianship.
I moved back to Louisiana in 1976. I took a little time off to begin a family but eventually joined the Country Sunshine Band. It won the first major "Country Starsearch" competition in 1983. The group featured three female singers, a typical country music rhythm section and four horns (atypical for the time). We flew to Nashville and taped a TV show playing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and the legendary Roy Acuff theater. We shared the stage with the likes of Jerry Reed, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis, Roy Acuff, and other country giants of the time. Through the mid-‘80s I played on dozens of local "Swamp Pop" singles and albums as a session guitarist. I also bought my first four track reel-to-reel semi-pro recorder about this time.
In the early '80s through the mid '90's, I worked with a rhythm-and-blues band named the Blue Eyed Soul Revue. The band cut an album with Ernie K-Doe (who popularized the song "Mother-In-Law" which became a national No. 1 hit in 1961). K-doe sang on one of my songs, "What’s the Deal.” The band worked at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival for nine straight years performing with Percy Sledge (When a Man Loves a Woman), Jean Knight (Mr. Big Stuff), Ernie K-Doe (Mother in Law), Eddie Bo and other New Orleans greats. I also had the privilege of playing at the Gospel Tent at Jazz Fest with Delma Trosclair and the Heaven Seekers.
I signed on as chief engineer at Houma's AppleTracks Recording Studio from 1989-1995. My first CDs as a producer came out of that studio: Chris Wells' "Rooms With Color" and Jayde Chase's "Smooth Talker." I continued to play music during that period. In the late '90's I worked with some superior local bar bands: The Reverbs, which featured great vocals and songwriters, and Kingsroe, a popular and respected high-powered show band in the New Orleans area. I rejoined the Blue Eyed Soul Revue and though I would leave it again to focus full-time on my recording career, the band continues as a regional favorite to this day.
I opened my studio, Digital Sac-a'-Lait Productions, in 2002. The first album I produced, "Been Down that Muddy Road" by Swamp Pop master Joe Barry, was voted one of the top thirty albums of 2003 by the New Orleans Times Picayune and Seattle, Washington e-publication No Depression. (The music also is featured in a documentary by that name.) The release is on the Night Train International label based in New York City. I also cut my own first solo album "Loveland," showcasing my writing interests in fusion, rock and jazz. The CD garnered good press and listener reviews.
It's been a busy ride. I've produced about 60 albums and 800 songs -- most of them originals -- since 2002 and have written and produced jingles and engineered audio for television and radio commercials. I continue to write and produce original music, collaborating with my brother Ken Wells, a New York-based journalist and novelist, on a project we call "Crawdiddy" -- producing crossover music that combines elements of Cajun, zydeco, rap, funk, jazz and country.
The Crawdiddy "Alligator Joe" CD has become something of a South Louisiana cult classic and one song, "Momma's Cookin' Gumbo," has been a staple of KLRZ, a regional station dedicated to Cajun and Swamp Pop, since the album debuted. Ken and I are collaborating on a second Crawdiddy project and one of those songs, "Cher Bebe," has been picked up by Cajun fiddler extraordinaire Waylon Thibodeaux, as the title cut for his most recent CD.
I don’t advertise. All of my referrals pretty much come from my happy customers. Not too long ago my phone rang and it was a verified superstar -- Jimmy Clanton, the one-time teen pop idol who was personal friends with the likes of Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. Jimmy wanted to put together a CD of new material he’d been writing and said he’d heard about my work. I was thrilled – and so is Jimmy with his CD.
"I've known and played with Pershing for nearly 40 years and can tell you that few producers are as capable as Master Wells." -- Ned Netterville
"Simply the best of the best." -- Bruce G. Geibel
"I've recorded a total of 40 songs in the past seven years with Pershing Wells and have never been dissappointed."
-- Elman Authement
"Working with Pershing was one of the best experiences of my life! I recommend Digital Sac-a'-Lait Productions to anyone who is looking for nothing less than professional."
"Persh happens to be my brother but he also happens to be a genius: he's a great guitarist and versatile vocalist and a top-notch sound engineer and tech wizard with a huge gift for arrangement across any genre of music you can name. I don't know anybody else with that skill set."-- Ken Wells
recording gear is top shelf- mostly boutique, hand-built mic preamps, equalizers, compressors (A-Designs and Universal Audio, for example) -- the same professional quality used in the best recording studios around the world.
mics by Neumann, AKGSenneheiser, Shure, and others.
digital conversion by Mytek, RME, and Roland
guitars by Gibson, Fender, G&L, Takamine, and others
guitar amps by Fender, Marshall, Vox, Gibson, G&L, Orange.
studio is wired with Monster S500 or Mogami premium cables.
DAW is Sonar. Data is easily ported to Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, and others.
PC is Intel based i7 processor with four 3.5 GHz processors and 8 threads, 16 gigs of RAM, solid state hard drive and 1 terabyte internal eSata drive for storage. USB 2/3 and Firewire ports. PCie ports for expansion.