"U Don't Know What Time It Is," Trudy Lynn's first outing on Ruf, shows what a highly impressive singer she is. Raised, and still based, in Houston, Lynn started out in the late 1960's opening for the likes of Ike and Tina Turner. Lynn has honed her own style over the years to embrace a broad spectrum of soul stylings running from the smoothness on "Nothing But Love" right through to the powerhouse blues belting of "I Should Have Known."
The album opens by showing off Lynn's funkier side. It is only on closer inspection that you realize it is actually a reworking of "Shake Rattle and Roll"--yes, that one! It is immediately followed by the title track, one of five Lynn originals, which gives you a first glimpse of how Lynn can match Tina Turner, given half a chance.
The band are helped out by Lucky Peterson on keyboards, and Bernard Allison on guitar. Each is at home in a supporting role, never trying to eclipse the real star of the show. Lynn had a hand in writing half the ten songs, with Robert A. Johnson--to whose memory the album is dedicated--contributing three.
Lynn manages to effortlessly span the gap between the chic stylings of singers like Anita Baker on the one hand and the raunchiness of Tina Turner on the other. This is amply illustrated by "Time is Running Out" and "I Should Have Known" (both originals) which appear back to back. The former edges towards the cabaret side of soul, whilst the latter--which just shades "Time Gone By" for best track--is a no holds barred rocker featuring Bernard Allison cutting it up on guitar. This contrast in styles is a feature of the album: coupled with measured variations in pace, it serves to gradually give you a full picture of Lynn's capabilities by the time you reach the end of the closing "Baby Come Back."
"U Don't Know What Time It Is" shows that Trudy Lynn is a class act. She is a great singer, capable of tackling any style of soul/r&b music you care to select. The most obvious comparison is Tina Turner, but Lynn has a greater variety of delivery and is much more than a mere copyist. The music has mass appeal too, that should make it suitable for daytime radio. Which simply makes it even more baffling why Trudy Lynn is not a big star too.
Distributed by Platinum: www.platinumcd.com
This review is copyright © 1999 by Gordon Baxter, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.