Trudy Lynn – Royal Oaks Blues Café | Album Review

trudylynncdTrudy Lynn – Royal Oaks Blues Café

Connor Ray 2013

http://www.trudylynnblues.com/

11 tracks; 49 Minutes

Houston native Trudy Lynn has been singing rhythm and blues since the 60’s and has had albums issued on several labels since her Ichiban debut in 1989. In recent years she has not been prolific but, as she explains in the sleevenotes, she was searching for the right songs. The result is an album that brings together some fairly obscure songs from blues singers and writers of yesteryear with two of Trudy’s own compositions. Backing Trudy are Steve Krase on harmonica, Jonn Del Toro Richardson on guitar, Randy Wall on piano, Eugene ‘Spare Time’ Murray on bass and Carl Owens on drums. Robert ‘Pee Wee’ Stephens replaces Randy on one track, Richard Cholawian replaces Carl on one track and producer Rock Romano replaces Eugene on one track.

Trudy has a seasoned voice which has enough grit to convey the emotions of the songs, an excellent example being “Country Man Blues”, a song once covered by Candye Kane. Here Trudy’s voice really conveys the slightly risqué lyrics and both Steve and Jonn contribute significantly. The piano features on “Street Walkin’ Daddy”, a hit in 1950 for Margie Day but Jonn plays some wonderfully relaxed guitar too. Trudy’s own songs stand up well in comparison: her “Every Side Of Lonesome” has a live feel with lots of handclaps and backing vocals, Jonn on slide and Steve’s harp almost buzzing in the background, a very catchy shuffle with strong vocals from Trudy. “Down In Memphis” is Trudy’s other credit, a short tune with some striking harp leading on a rocking little number in praise of the Bluff city. Several of the songs Trudy has selected to sing here are what might be described as ‘suggestive’, none more so than Clara Smith’s “Whip It To A Jelly” which closes the album with Steve’s harp working very well with Trudy’s vocal, a late night piece with Jonn on acoustic guitar. Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ The Blues” provides a strong opener, a song that goes back to the 40’s, all three front line players providing strong solos. On Don Robey’s “Play The Honky Tonks” (a hit for Marie Adams in 1951) Randy’s piano is well to the fore.

My research failed to discover anything about four other songs here. “Feel It” is credited to B Campbell, another suggestive lyric in a performance which, especially Steve’s harp, is relaxed but effective. Another relaxed performance is the fine “Effervescent Daddy” (E Bennett) on which Trudy’s voice is a little smoother than is typical of the album where she usually has more grit in her vocals. However, on this song she is much smoother, as befits the style of the song. “I’m Gonna Put You Down” (W Booze) is a slow blues on which Trudy’s expressive, deep voice is very effective and “Red Light” (V Green) is an upbeat rocker which makes use of some of the same imagery as “I Caught The Katy” and is a real toe-tapper as Jonn ramps up the pace in his solo as the piano and harp underpin Trudy’s vocals.

There is plenty to enjoy here and it is good to hear Trudy in such good voice, sounding very much like the early female pioneers that she has sought to celebrate on this album.

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