Trudy Lynn – Blues Keep Knockin’
CD: 10 Songs, 41:50 Minutes
Styles: Ensemble Blues, Blues Covers
One of the greatest things about the blues, especially as opposed to pop/dance, is its reverence for mature professionals. Pop stars may come and go faster than cars through an automatic toll, but longevity counts for a lot in this genre, both in preferred tunes and preferred performers. Seventy-one-year-old Trudy Lynn, born Lee Audrey Helms, knows this very well. On her brand-spanking-new CD, released in July of this year, she covers ten classics from some of her greatest influences: Etta James, Big Maybelle, Big Bill Broonzy, and the late, great Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. She’s got a voice seasoned by experience: life’s greatest teacher. Good times and bad have served as her inspirations, for as she also knows, you can’t have one without the other. For over fifty years, she’s been telling all the Blues Keep Knockin’. Her dynamic stage presence and vivacious vocals have kept audiences all over the world – even Japan – enthralled.
Even though her professional singing career began with performing with Albert Collins, and later, Clarence Green in the mid-1960s, her recording career didn’t start until 1989. Her first label, Ichiban Records, proved that the blues doesn’t only capture hearts in the Western Hemisphere. She recorded her first five albums for them, one for Ruf Records in 1999, and is currently under the Connor Ray Music label. With over ten albums to her name and credit, she’s proven to be one of the rather unsung heroes of female blues artists. She got her stage name from a painted cartoon-character name on the wall: Trudy. As for “Lynn,” she notes that name was popular at the time as well. “Gloria Lynne, Barbara Lynn. I’m going to be one of those Lynns, too, baby,” a line in her online bio states.
Alongside Trudy are Steve Krase on harmonica; David Carter on guitar; Terry Dry on bass; Matt Johnson on drums; Randy Wall on piano and organ; Dan Carpenter on sax; Jim Brady on trumpet; Bob Lanza on guitar for tracks one and seven, and Carolyn Wonderland on guitar for track ten.
The following three songs are low-down, throw-down extravaganzas:
Track 01: “Blues Ain’t Nothin’” – Bob Lanza struts his stuff on shredder here, and boy, can Steve Krase howl on harp. Right from the get-go, it’s time to get out of your seat and on your feet. “Oh, the blues ain’t nothing but a woman loving a married man,” Lynn confides in a sly murmur. She also characterizes them as “a low-down heart disease” of the romantic variety.
Track 04: “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” – The title of this tune is an African-American saying meaning “One setback should not impede progress.” Several bands have covered this Big Maybelle hit over the years, including Joe Tex, The Animals, and R&B artists Honey Cone. Dan Carpenter plays swinging sax here, backed up by Randy Wall’s perfect barroom piano. In this case, the monkey that doesn’t stop the show is a cheating partner. Find a new one, people.
Track 08: “When I Been Drinkin’” – Reminiscent of Henry Mancini’s “The Stripper,” sassy number eight proves imbibing adult beverages may be a blast, but the aftermath? “When I been drinkin’, ple-e-ease let me lay down and rest,” Lynn pleads in some of her best vocalization. These lyrics are also funny: “I want to be taken out of the bed, put in a wheelchair, rolled anywhere, Daddy, I don’t care, when I’ve been drinkin’.” Who among us knows the feeling?
For Trudy Lynn, seventy-one and still having great fun, the Blues Keep Knockin’ on her door!