Trudy Lynn and the Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra

Trudy Lynn and the Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra
I'm Still Here

Sawdust Alley Records

By T Charles
December 2006

Trudy Lynn feels the many moods of the blues on this album. She takes us from the depths of loneliness to the mountaintop of romantic bliss on a roller coaster that we all know as the blues.

“Power blues” is a good way to describe this collaboration with the Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra. Lynn comes out swinging on this punchy disc with “Swing Boogie,” one of eight compositions by Rue Davis, a long time friend. This one goes on my “Party” playlist right away.

The next song, “Blues Singing Woman” makes a statement and also continues the party with a good beat for dancing.

Trudy Lynn knows about the blues, and blues veterans will easily recognize it and feel it. She has worked with Johnny Copeland, roots she shares with Shemekia Copeland, (Johnny’s Daughter) as well as Albert Collins and many others. The title song “I’m Still Here,” written by Lynn, creates a slow groove, and thanks God that she is still here. If you have taken your share of lumps in life and in love, you will be able to relate to this song and many others.

Nelson Mills joins Lynn on the record with “Hands Off My Woman” - another fast dance which will pick up the party beat once again - and then continues the vibe with “Blues Party”.

“Since I Found You” continues the formula of two fast songs, then a slow blues. In this one, she sings a song of thanks, reminding us that things do get better.

Now more than ever, I dig an occasional instrumental. Not a lot bands add variety in this way - but they should. “Saturday Night,” an instrumental that keeps the groove, is one of two contributions by Owens. The other, “Boogie Woogie Gumbo,” also really cooks. Here again, the Owens band knows the recipe, and creates a dish that would sound and feel right at home in New Orleans.

“Everybody’s Got a Blues Song to Sing” continues the feelings of pain. Oh, if we could only go back and do something differently. Here, Lynn goes over her regrets about spending money, with a modern complaint about gas being over three dollars a gallon.

“Left Me Singing the Blues” reveals more pain of being left alone by a lover.

“Starry Eyes” is a slow instrumental written by Mills that features his excellent trumpet work. “Welcome Home Baby,” the next-to-last song on the record, thankfully reveals some happiness at the return of a lover. But the last song, “Payin’ the Price,” returns to the central blues theme of love gone bad.

Funky guitar work stands out in front at times, and provides a nice counter to the orchestra. This disc successfully matches a big band that plays power-packed blues with a powerful and versatile singer - with excellent results. Trudy Lynn and the Calvin Owens Blues Orchestra is a winning combination, and I look forward to hearing more of their work in the future.

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