Connor Ray Music – 2015
10 tracks; 41 minutes
Trudy’s live album Royal Oaks Blues Café earned a Blues Blast Awards nomination in 2014 for the veteran Houston, Texas singer. For this follow-up Trudy is in the studio, again with producer Steve Krase on harp, Randy Wall on keys, Terry Dry on bass and several guitar players; The Mighty Orq and Lil’ Buck Senegal are the main players but James Henry also contributes to two tracks. The sleeve notes do not state who plays drums. Trudy wrote four of the songs alongside six covers of songs made famous by female singers of yesteryear.
Trudy composed the title track which is a pleasant shuffle with Lil’ Buck on lead guitar and Steve’s high-pitched harp work which will not appeal to everyone but is certainly distinctive. Trudy’s lyrics explain that everything we do has consequences: “Like a roll of the dice, everything comes with a price”. “Fat Daddy” is a classic Trudy song with plenty of sexual innuendo over a rolling blues rhythm and plenty of Steve’s harp work. Trudy’s vocal is supported by some uncredited harmony work (perhaps Trudy multi-tracked?) on the catchy “Just A Little Kiss” on which James’ lead guitar is featured and she takes the pace down on the slow blues “Yesterday I Was Lonely” in which she celebrates a new and considerate lover in her life, Randy’s cascading piano solo being the main instrumental feature.
Alberta Adams is credited with “Messin’ Around With The Blues” and she certainly recorded the song but it is in fact a Memphis Slim tune, a slow blues with stately piano and solid harp work. Opening track “I’m Gonna Latch On” is also credited to ‘Adams’ but this time it’s Marie Adams who recorded the song with Johnny Otis in 1953, this version having Orq’s excellent guitar work behind Steve’s wailing harp. Trudy clearly enjoys the raunchier side of the blues, witness her reprise of Lucille Bogan’s “My Alley Boogie” in which she is clearly relishing the lyrics, supported by a rhumba groove and some understated fretwork from Orq who also performs solidly on the similarly suggestive Hattie Hart’s “Let My Daddy Do That” which rocks along superbly with barrelhouse piano and is probably this reviewer’s pick of the tracks here. The eponymous “Ella Johnson’s Blues” is a churning blues with some tough harp from Steve before Trudy closes the album with Clara Smith’s gospel tune “Living Humble”, complete with handclaps and backing vocals to leave us with an impression of a church service.
Trudy’s latest album has everything we expect from her, running the gamut from sacred to secular. With some solid playing behind her this is an album worth hearing.