Sunday, June 19, 2011

Roger Troutman, Jr. p.k.a. Lynch "A Pinch of Lynch" ~ {1989 Capitol Records}

Roger Lynch Troutman, Jr., the son of ZAPP's frontman, Roger Troutman, was an EXTREMELY and EXTRAORDINARY talented musician. He exuded the charisma, determination, and skill set that preceded his young age at the time of this recording. His star was shining very brightly, as any gifted artist would, had they possessed such GOD given abilities. Roger, Jr. was born in 1970 and hailed from Minnesota. He joined his father's band in 1987 where he was taught first hand to manipulate and master the talkbox.

Having worked alongside his father, he gained the experience of performing in front of adoring fans around the world, as well as to learn the craft of songwriting, and musicianship. All these skills culminated in him to record his Capitol Records solo debut release in 1989. His impressive debut is titled, "A Pinch Of Lynch". Let's rediscover some of the highlights of a record, that had been given a chance at radio, could've done remarkably well on it's own merit, and NOT on the affiliation he had with his father.

In addition to Lynch performing keyboards, horns, lead and backgrounds vocals, he had some incredible musicians backing him up. Those musicians included his father on keyboards, synthesizers, guitar, bass, percussions, and background vocals, uncles Terry and Lester Troutman played bass guitar and drums respectively.

Additional keyboard support came courtesy of Billy Beck, his cousin Rufus Troutman, III, and once again, his uncle Terry Troutman. Helping out on the vibraphone you have jazz legend Johnny Lytle. Adding background vocal support are his cousin Toi Troutman, Dale DeGroat, Ray "Stingray" Davis, Rufus Troutman, III, and last, but DEFINITELY not least, the remarkably talented, Nicole Cottom {Whom I'm going to spotlight in the near future}.

First single, and the first track on the Roger Troutman produced 11 selection record, "I Found Out", is a late 60's Philly style ballad, which is somewhat of an anomaly to start a record, but what a wise decision made here to make as such. The subtleness of the double note bass synthesizer performance, along with the snare drum rimshot/kick drum/cymbal crash combination of the live drum kit, set the tone for a "heartache that's about to happen" scenario.

The jazz stylings of the electric guitar, with the background synthesizer sustained chords set a very romantic mood against Lynch's pleaful lyrics of wanting an ex lover back. You can just hear in his voice how regretful he is. Though it maybe too late for homeboy, his vocal delivery will make you almost feel so sorry for him. But Lynch "messed up", so you really can't. In other words, the lyrical theme of the song is yet another "real life" situation us men put "ourselves" through.

"Heartbreaker". This song was first recorded by ZAPP on their 1983 Warner Bros. Records Gold certified album, "III". Though I ABSOLUTELY love ZAPP's version, always have, and always will ! ..... BUT !!!!! .... I DIG THIS VERSION EVEN MORE !!! :-) .... {{{{ .... and I KNOW you'll agree with me when YOU compare the two. Just refer to the YouTube audio only clip following this review}}}} On this waaaaayyyyyy too funky take on the ZAPP classic, the tempo is sped up and the bass synthesizer, is, how should I say, .... "FELT !!!" Another element of this track that sticks out like a sore thumb you wouldn't mind having is the drum programming ! They must've ran the snare drum patch through a gated reverb to give the sound it's "snap!".

The programmed kick drum and tom tom rolls will just JUSTIFIABLY kick you in the chest !! Roger's "oh so funky chickenin' nit picked" rhythm guitar parts resonates like a sonic boom in the night ! ... and lest ye not forget Lynch's lead and background vocal performance, as it too, sounds, .... FUNKY !! That's the probably the only way I could decribe it ! ((((( LOOK ! Just have this one cranked WHEN you check out the YouTube audio clip following this review !! .... I'm just giving you a heads up, that's all !!)))))

"Sara" is a nice little "Funk-A-Long" ! :-) The musical element that stood out the most on this track is the powerhouse drumming of Lester Troutman, unless the drums are programmed, and if they are, it could've fooled the heck out of me. They actually sound as if Lester is actually playing the kit, and that's highest compliment I could pay him. {If I ever meet him, I'll ask him} Another element that stood out is the, once again, "oh so funky chickenin' nit picked and strummed" rhythm guitar perfomed parts by Roger. The happy and perky bass synth gives this song an almost "circus like" environment (If you could somehow picture that in your mind) But it's Lynch's lead and overdubbed background vocal's that is the true star of this, nearly, "one man show", as they are in synch, and nearly perfectly pitched. The lyrical theme is that of your typical school boy's crush on a fellow classmate. It's a good song ! I like it, it's one of my favorites on the album.

"Magic Spell" is a song that was originally recorded by then ZAPP member, vocalist/guitarist, "Bad" Bobby Glover, for his 1984 self titled, and only solo recording for Columbia Records. The only difference is the song's title. On Bobby's album, this song is titled, "Your Spell". The arrangements are pretty much the same. {You know what, I'll let you hear both versions for yourselves. Just refer to the YouTube audio only clips following this review} .... Now this time around, I KNOW the drums are programmed (More than likely, the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer was utilized, unless it was TR-806), as the boombastic kick drum and razor sharp snare drum will slice your earlobes right off ! { ..... Maybe I could've worded that in a less grotesque manner :-( ..... }

.... anyway, and moving along, you'll hear the soulful and funky runs and riffs of Roger's omnipresent rhythm guitar, as well as the ever present synthesizer sustained chords that are in full supply here. Lynch's lead and overdubbed background vocals on this particular song are among his most dynamic ever as stretches his range beyond that is normally called for.

The album's title track, "Pinch Of Lynch", is perhaps one of the funkiest songs on the entire long player. The James Brown influenced jam comes already assembled, all you need to do is "relax, just settle back !" (That was an actual line in the song) Once again, the drum programming holds center stage as the "ol faithful" snare/kick drum combo wraps it's percussive charm around your very soul. The, yet once again, sustained chords of the synthesizers, Terry "Zapp" Troutman's bass guitar thumping, and Raymond "Stingray" Davis' sub octave bass baritone vocals, are the glue that holds the melody and groove intact. Lynch's lead vocal, once again, is nothing short of greatness, as he clearly exerted on this song.

Unfortunately, Roger Lynch Troutman, Jr. never reached his full potential as one would expect. He died of a head injury in January of 2003. He was only 33 years old. One could only imagine the impact he could've made on the music industry had he lived. Roger Jr. recorded another solo record in 2000 entitled, "The Second Coming" on an independent label, Worldwide Wild Style Records. That album featured a close friend of his father's, Charlie Wilson on the single, "Beautiful Lady" {{{{ Refer to the YouTube audio only clip following this review }}}} This album is an extremely hard to find item, at least the Compact Disc is. So if you should find it ANYWHERE, grab it quickly. Maybe you can do a Google search, and see if it's floating out there somewhere. But no matter how you obtain this record, in any format, I strongly urge you to seek it out.

Musically Yours,

Ran Man


             Roger Lynch Troutman, Sr.

              Roger Lynch Troutman, Jr.

The original 1983 ZAPP version of "Heartbreaker" off their 1983 Gold certified release, "III"

Now here's Roger Jr's version of the ZAPP classic, "Heartbreaker"

"Bad" Bobby Glover - "Your Spell" This is the original recording Roger Troutman produced. 1984 Columbia Records

Roger Troutman, Jr.'s newly recorded version of "Your Spell"... His version is titled "Magic Spell"

The album's title track, "Pinch Of Lynch" (Check out the bass vocal of the late, great Ray "Stingray" Davis !)

  Roger Jr's first single from his 2000 World Wide Wild Style Records album, "The Secong Coming", is a duet featuring a long time friend of his father's, "Uncle" Charlie Wilson. That song is titled "Beautiful Lady"

1 comment:

Hanz said...

Too bad bad he didn't make it big in the music business like his father did. At least he had an album that hit the BillBoard.