'Boy Wells' is actually the stage name of Mark Schultz, and, myself a lover of comic books (a shame I wear proudly, just like Fellini and Jodorowsky!), I have to wonder if the alternate sobriquet was adopted because of Cadillacs & Dinosaurs artist Mark Schultz. Or maybe it was just one of those fairly common blues things. Doesn't matter, because there are more than a few elements you need to know about Wells, the first of which is that, in Blue Skies, he first, in one of many very satisfying instrumental numbers (Mr. Coluzzi), displays a velvety smooth style highly reminiscent of Harvey Mandel mixed with Jeff Baxter and Lee Ritenour. Then add in the death-defying bass work of John Prevetti (God, can this guy play!) and you have a resultant sound moving into steel-melting intensity.
The very next cut, World Weary and Blue, finds Wells bending the fretboard around his forearm with a blazing middle eight while Jimi Lee wails away in the background on a trustily righteous harp. Then jump over to rootsy numbers like Tin Winter and Traveller, instrumentals both, with banjo, mando, and fiddle laying into son o' the sod melodies. Love in Vain, Wells' own penning and not the Stones standard, strongly crafts a Town Without Pity atmosphere complete with trademark wet-night-streets sax and a keening lead solo from his melancholy guitar. The gent also belts out vocals throughout the disc, cutting through the speakers at times like Pat Travers.
There's a lot of versatility here, at times jazzy, then bluesy, then rootsy, and later cinematic. Some of the instrumental atmospheres occasionally verge into Jeff Beck Blow by Blow territory, but the entirety of the CD prefers to rest on the blue side. Nonetheless, Wells would also be a dynamic and moody score-music composer, something Clapton attempted for a while to middling success. This gent, on the other hand, would blow all that out of the water, closer to Knopfler's such work but with markedly more accentuation.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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