Artist: Malcolm Wells & The Two-Timers
Album: Hollerin’ Out Loud
Year Of Release: 2021
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
1. Call My Name (5:07)
2. Walk It Slow (3:08)
3. Muffin Top (7:12)
4. Night And Day (4:38)
5. State Fair Tattoo (4:12)
6. Gentlemen’s Bet (7:53)
7. Squawkin’ (4:10)
8. Six Feet Apart (3:00)
9. That’s What I Like (2:43)
10. Divorce Decree (4:31)
11. Number 9 (5:10)
Although it didn’t sprout till twenty years later, when he heard Muddy’s “Hard Again” album, Malcolm Wells believes the blues seed was planted in him while being around blues royalty as an infant. Back then, when Bukka White played the clubs around Little Rock, AR, he was a regular guest of the Wells family. Along with some of the genre’s legends, Malcolm’s more contemporary influences include James Harman, Rick Estrin, Gary Primich, RJ Mischo and The Fabulous Thunderbirds – all of which should have you now knowing what instrument Malcolm plays.
For his debut release, “Hollerin’ Out Loud”, Malcolm Wells – on vocals, harmonica and shake egg – assembled a band of top notch veterans of the blues scene. The Two-Timers include: acclaimed guitarist Matt Woods, who’s own releases have been nominated for a Blues Music Award, two Blues Blast Awards and have twice made the finals in the Blues Foundation’s “Best Self Produced CD” competition; bassist Patrick Recob, also a Blues Blast Award nominee, who has played with just about everyone of Malcolm’s influences mentioned above and one of my favorite bands – Steve Gerard’s National Debonaires; and drummer Dwight Dario who, during his five decades performing, was a seventeen year member of The Big George Jackson Band, has toured Europe a dozen times and has received several of his own various music organization awards. Indeed an impressive ensemble.
“Hollerin’ Out Loud”, which contains eleven Malcolm Wells written and arranged tracks, opens with a smoker titled “Call My Name”. Shortly after Malcolm showcases his soulful vocals and killer harmonica skills during the tracks opening minute, the guys go on an awe inspiring, three-minute long, mid-song instrumental rampage that’s not only a testament to their individual skills but a statement that they came to play, as well. This is exactly how things should be kicked off.
This track opens up with Malcolm and Dwight laying down one of those “more powerful than a locomotive” vibes on the harmonica and drums and from that point on, for the rest of this seven plus minute song there’s absolutely no relenting. Lyrically, with graphically descriptive and obviously very sarcastic lines like: “It’s got flesh, got fabric, got a lack there of”; “It’s got curves, got swerves, got a roll or two”; “It looks like someone started pouring and no one said stop, it just spilled right out over your pants top”; “You can be a size twelve and still wear a two”; I’m having a very hard time believing Malcolm when he says ‘I’m crazy about that hot, pants “Muffin Top'”.
As this story goes, although Malcolm has never met this man, he offers to make him a “Gentlemen’s Bet” claiming he can tell this stranger what his future holds. As a matter of fact, he pretty much guarantees he can do it by telling this guy “Nostradamus has nothing on me”. That said, Malcolm’s predictions obviously have nothing to do with physic powers. As it turns out, this poor sap is dating his ex, so in actuality, Malcolm’s just advising him of the WARNING! label she should come with. Yes, there are indeed two sides to every story, but with his sincere deliverance of these melancholy lyrics, I’d take heed. Musically, being eight minutes of slow scorching blues, telling you that Matt is at disc’s best on guitar is a true understatement.
With this one being an instrumental, the only “Squawkin'” you’ll here is the wailing coming from Malcolm’s harmonica. With some fabulous bass lines from Patrick leading the band in a penetrating rhythm groove behind him, Malcolm pretty much puts on a harmonica lesson…..for the advanced.
A common denominator on many of Malcolm’s songs are the clever analogies he uses to make his points. Some of those on this track include: “You can travel the world wide over across ocean land and sea, but no matter how far you go you’re just still too close to me”; “You can up and go join NASA and hop a rocket to the moon, if I never seen you again you’re still too close and it’s still too soon”; and this gem…”Now the good book has taught us forgiveness is key, but I just can’t forgive myself for getting on bended knee”. The only thing that will make Malcolm as happy as a man can be is when the district court judges signs off on the “Divorce Decree”. Another common denominator is the mid-song instrumentals sandwiched between the vocal verses, and like all others, these four maestros are nailing it.
The disc closes out with a track titled “Number 9”, and after exactly five seconds you’ll definitely know it’s not Malcolm Wells & The Two-Timers rendition of a Beatles song. Sure, both songs relate to trippin’ but this one’s on a train, not acid. Just like they perfectly opened the disc, the guys closed it the same way – in all out jam mode with the power and speed of a runaway train. Phew!
Other tracks on “Hollerin’ Out Loud” – a product that I believe may very well put one of those “New Artist Debut” type awards in Malcolm’s hands, are: “Walk It Slow”; “Night And Day”; “Six Feet Apart”; “That’s What I Like”; and “State Fair Tattoo” – an instrumental that I’d love to hear remade with some lyrics simply to see where Malcolm’s ingenuity might take it.
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro