Thursday, November 30, 2006

Duncan Wells - The Garden Wall

Hear The Track Here

Although a new name to me (and I think SC too), obviously the same is not true of Duncan Wells' stature in Canada where he is - apparently - a well known live artist/childrens entertainer and playwright. That's cool, I say. It's always good to have several projects going at once and judging by Duncan's schedule the man is a workaholic! Although The Garden Wall was only uploaded onto Soundclick in August of this year, it would appear it's a little older than that. According to the credits for this track it was written in 1998 and recorded live at the Savoy Hotel (presumably where he lives, not THE Savoy Hotel) but I have no idea exactly when this particular recording dates from. Nothing whatsoever about the accompaniment either which - considering its a live recording - is a massive oversight.

The Garden Wall is actually classed as Acoustic: Folk but I think I'd disagree with that, its certainly a lot further towards the middle of the road than what I consider folk. To be sure, it does carry a fair lyric, and one with a lot to say but folk it ain't. What it is, though is a charming song with 'easy listening' tendencies that is saved by the instrumentation and a excellent rough-edged vocal that carried the wordiness of the song very well indeed. Every second of the 25 years he has been doing this shows in every single note, and that alone should be worth a listen. The real item - for me anyway - was that vocal. A cross between Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer, it really stands out above the usual crowd.

Of course, looking at an (almost) grownup track like Garden Wall, is but a very small peice of what Duncan Wells is all about and this is where I started to get really interested. As the father of two viciously energetic 7 year old boys, I have a vested interest in find them things to take their tiny minds off tormenting Daddy for five minutes. With that in mind, I went on a wander through the World of Wells. I played my boys a selection (they loved Bullies On The Schoolground and Elephant Two Step and definitely favoured a couple more) and I have to say the site itself looks real good. Obviously there is a lot more to this artist than meets the eye, but The Garden Wall is as good a place to start as any as I've obviously found out. I'm just glad he didn't ask me to review Cow Paddy Blues or its forerunner, I Pooped My Pants... I would have been certain for a nice big fatwa up my butt because you KNOW what a meal I'd make of such lush material...

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