Trudy Lynn – Golden Girl
NOLA Blue Records – 2022
11 tracks; 46 minutes
Trudy Lynn in now in her 75th year and has been active in music since the 1960’s. She got her first break with Albert Collins, released her first single in 1973 and issued albums on a variety of labels, starting with Ichiban in 1989. In recent years she has enjoyed a very successful period working with harmonica player Steve Krase, releasing a string of albums on Steve’s Connor Ray Music label, one of which, Royal Oaks Blues Café, reached No.1 on the Billboard blues chart in 2013. Trudy has received 13 nominations for the Blues Music Awards.
For this release Trudy changed things around, working with Terry Wilson, bassist and main composer for Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, as well as a fellow Houston native. The tracks were recorded in Houston with a strong cast of musicians behind Trudy’s vocals: Anson Funderburgh and Yates McKendree share guitar duties, Kevin McKendree is on keyboards, Brannen Temple is the main drummer, Mario Calire replacing him on one track; Steve Krase remains on harmonica, Darrell Leonard plays all the horn parts and Teresa James and Gregg Sutton contribute backing vocals. Terry Wilson is on bass throughout, plays occasional guitar and keys, produced and arranged the album. The writing credits are shared mainly between Terry and Trudy, with Gregg Sutton and Stuart Ziff chipping in a few co-writes and there is one song from outside the core band. The result is an album which successfully combines the sort of music familiar from Teresa and Terry’s own albums with Trudy’s distinctively deep and soulful vocals. This is Trudy’s first release on NOLA Blue.
The album opens with a brace of Trudy’s songs: “Tell Me” is an attractive, mid-tempo number with Trudy’s voice selling the song and McKendree father and son doing a great job on the instrumental side – check out Yates’ sharp solo mid-song; “Golden Girl Blues” has both Yates and Anson as well as horns on a catchy shuffle with lyrics about reaching that ‘Golden Girl’ age. “I’m Just Saying” has a stop-start rhythm that brings New Orleans to mind and Trudy asks her man to “Take Me Back” on a full band piece of Rn’B: Anson does his usual ‘less is more’ approach to soloing, Kevin plays some great piano and Darrell provides an excellent horn arrangement. “I Just Can’t Say Goodbye” is classic Texas blues with Anson’s lead work the perfect fit and some entertaining observations of fidelity: “If you choose me for your rose you can’t pick the lilies from the field”. Trudy’s other song is a co-write with Terry, Steve Krase’s harp well to the fore over a Bo Diddley beat on “Heartache Is A One Way Street”.
“If Your Phone Don’t Ring” has amusing lyrics provided by writers Terry Wilson and Gregg Sutton that inform the misbehaving partner that the silence on his phone means that Trudy is out of this relationship! Terry and Stuart Ziff provide two songs: “Is It Cold In Here” is a ballad that Trudy delivers beautifully with lovely support from the McKendrees and Teresa James’ backing vocals; “Live With Yourself” is more uptempo and examines how we conduct ourselves in this life and how we will match up to St Peter’s expectations on Judgement Day. “Life Goes On” is credited to Edwin Morris and Paul Robert Williams (who I believe to be the late Billy Paul), a slow blues with gospel overtones courtesy of the organ and horns, making a solid finale to the disc.
Another strong album from Trudy that may well feature in some of those end of the year lists.