Saturday, January 28, 2012

Trudy Lynn Is Still Here

Trudy Lynn got notice with her marvelous soulful blues recordings on the Icihban label but since that label’s demise her recordings have been less frequent. She appeared on some of trumpeter-bandleader Calvin Owens project, had a CD on Ruf, but her new album on Owens’ Sawdust Alley Records, proclaims I’m Still Here. With a variety of guests including clarinetist Michael White, guitarists Guitar Shorty and Clarence Holliman and zydeco accordionist, Jabo, this disc is compiled from sessions over several years.

Against Owens Big Band backing Lynn displays why she is such a highly regarded vocalist. She has a powerful voice but convinces with her command as a singer who can handle a soft ballad as she can blast out a jumping number. She certainly ranks at the top of any list of contemporary women blues vocalists. Unfortunately too much of the material here consists of generic blues songs about swinging or Trudy being a Blues Singing Woman. The material is not as strong as the authority which with Lynn invests her performances.

Lynn’s own song, which provides the album with its title, is stronger as she reflects on her life as a performer and a blues singer and her struggle to keep carrying on. Hands Off My Woman is one of two vocals by trumpeter Nelson Mills. It is an OK number but this is this is Trudy’s album and why do I want to here some gentleman singing about his woman is his property even if he loves her. Saturday Night is an instrumental where Owens takes his only solo here and Michael White is also featured.

Since I Found You is one of the better songs here, a soul-ballad whose lyric matches Lynn’s vocal. Another good number is Left Me Singin’ the Blues about a man who left her with Charles Davis contributing a nice solo. A bit of big band zydeco can be head on Boogie Woogie Gumbo, another instrumental with a striking solo by the late Clarence Holliman and accordion from Jabo. A real nice track but again, this is Trudy’s album ,and its unfortunate that they did not have a selection of Holliman playing behind Trudy. You’re the Only One is a wonderfully sung love song, while Welcome Home Baby, has a nice lyric of getting past what happened in past while the closing Payin’ the Price has a somewhat quicker tempo for a solid soul-blues performance.

Trudy Lynn is well worth listening to even on lesser material as she has one of those voices and she is one of those singers that could make a phone book a swinging affair.

I believe this is the last album that has been released under Trudy’s name. This review appeared originally in theNovember 2006 DC Blues Calendar, then the newsletter of the DC Blues Society. I received my review copy from either the record company or a publicist handling the release. Here is a video of Trudy doing a well known blues chestnut.

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