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December 2018

Trudy Lynn
Blues Keep Knockin'
Connor Ray Music

Trudy LynnIt’s always a great year when Trudy Lynn releases a new album, so the year turned great this summer when she released her 13th album and the fourth for the Connor Ray Music label. Blues Keep Knockin’ features the blues icon working through ten terrific songs, backed by a formidable band (Steve Krase – harmonica, David Carter – guitar, Terry Dry – bass, Randy Wall – keyboards, Matt Johnson – drums, Jim Brady – trumpet, Dan Carpenter – saxophone), along with guests Bob Lanza and Carolyn Wonderland on guitar.

Lynn covers a wide variety of styles with her song selections, transforming most of them to fit her own style. The opener, Georgia White’s pre-war classic “The Blues Ain’t Nothing,” is nicely updated, still with rollicking piano backing from Wall but with a hearty blues-rock edge thanks to Bob Lanza’s guitar solo and Krase’s driving harmonica. The mellow take on “That’s All Right,” associated with Jimmy Rogers from his ’50s Chess heyday, is a fine showcase for Lynn’s smoky vocal and features Krase and Wall prominently.

Up next is the title track, a lively new tune written by Lynn that discusses her lifelong (and ongoing) relationship with the blues, which is followed by a feisty read of the Big Maybelle hit “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show,” and a delightfully funky version of the Three Dog Night ’70s hit (written by Hoyt Axton) “Never Been To Spain.” The slow grinder “I Sing The Blues,” one of two songs from Etta James’ catalog, is top notch, and the slow burner, “Pitiful,” another Big Maybelle tune with Lanza returning on guitar, is putty in Lynn’s hands.

The Big Bill Broonzy standard “When I Get To Drinkin’” gets a swaggering Crescent City-styled reworking featuring Wall’s dazzling piano, Brady’s trumpet and Carpenter’s saxophone. “It Won’t Be Long” is a spirited blues taken from Aretha Franklin’s early recording days with Columbia (incidentally, Ms. Franklin also recorded “Pitiful”).

Lynn closes the album with a superb heartfelt reading of James’ “Would It Make Any Difference To You,” which also features fellow Houston resident / force of nature Carolyn Wonderland on guitar.

Trudy Lynn got a relatively late start recording, but she has more than made up for lost time with some fine recordings since that first recording for Ichiban Records in 1989. Blues Keep Knockin’ ranks with her best work to these ears, and hopefully the best is yet to come.

--- Graham Clarke



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