Flow by Lynne Fiddmont – reviewed by Chris Mann


  Singer, musician and composer Lynne Fiddmont hails from Richmond Heights, Missouri and in a family full of singers, singing was part of life.  When very young she sang in garage bands, but the standing ovation she received when she sang “Home” as Dorothy in a high school production of The Wiz made her appreciate her own talent.

Her first professional break came when Wilton Felder of The Crusaders heard a tape of her singing.  A nationwide tour with The Crusaders was the result, singing songs usually associated with Randy Crawford.  Having pursued studies in PR at Boston University, her next break was to be offered a scholarship at the prestigious Berklee College of music. 

From this spectacular launch pad Lynne began a musical career that has seen her work, among many others, with Bill Withers, Lou Rawls, Stevie Wonder, Norman Brown and Phil Collins.  In fact, go through your music collection and you’ll be surprised how often her name turns up.  If you see the name Lynne Fiddmont Lynsey it’s the same person - keep counting those albums.  It’s not surprising then that, with the right kind of encouragement from forward-thinking radio people, Lynne would step into the limelight with a solo album – and on her own record label too… 

Holiday sweeps you along on a tide of Latin sexiness.  That loping bassline and gorgeous percussion make you wish you were on a Spanish beach.  Front and centre is that pure voice of Ms Fiddmont.  I’m reminded of Patrice Rushen in sexy form – that lovely, clear tone seems so familiar.  The tune was co-written with “Ready” Freddie Washington, who also produced it and played bass – so I can see the Patrice Rushen connection in there someplace.  I love how breathy and sexy things get on Cupid.  Some great engineering has gone into the perfect capture of this gorgeous voice.  The deft production lets it soar above the subtle keyboards, drums and guitar – and yet somehow the whole melts beautifully together.  Some sweet vibraphone makes this treasure complete. 

The title track has a more insistent rhythm and a more “urban” feel.  The lyrics are inspirational and fortunately all the lyrics are printed in the CD booklet – not that you’ll miss them because every word comes out as clear as can be.  Play this on one of your “blue” days and you’ll soon be smiling.  Something I Can Feel lets Lynne show off the light-and-dark of her vocal range.  This Latin-tinged, yearning love song benefits from Munyungo Jackson’s percussion and some pretty background vocals. 

The big names of rhythm also show up on Never Really, with Ricky Lawson on drums and Luis Conté on percussion.  These giants bring a soft touch and it works well on this utterly beautiful ballad that is a triumph of both songwriting and vocal talent.  I defy you not to think of Minnie Ripperton when you hear the acoustic guitar intro and pretty percussion on U R Loved.  If you’re not a Lynne Fiddmont fan by now, well, you’re just never gonna be!  In lots of my reviews, I realize that I pick out at least one song that would work in a movie soundtrack.  I just love good film music.  In this case, it would need to be an exceptional romance and they’d have to leave the house lights down to let folks… shed… a quiet tear. 

Crisp rimshots and a nimble bassline courtesy of John Robinson (is that the John Robinson?) and Freddy Washington drive the lovely Say.  Good God – Lynne, your tone is utterly flawless.  Please make more records like this!  That heavy urban vibe is back on Feels So Right.  This whole song has elements of what makes Jill Scott’s music so appealing.  Lyrically it’s very upfront and no-nonsense, and musically it’s ultra-sexy with deep synth bass and a sparse drum track – almost a ‘click track’.  Turn the lights off and get lost in this 21st-century “quiet storm” masterpiece.  Finally, I like the smoky, jazzy feel that the piano brings on No Regrets.  The jazz trio setting for this song, the only non-original composition here, is perfect.  Acoustic piano, acoustic bass and the fabulous Land Richards on drums.  At just under three minutes, this is short but, Lord, it’s sweet. 

In fact, this whole album is over too soon.  By the end of 40 minutes you’ve been through a range of moods, all of them good.  I’m struggling to find superlatives that describe how classy this package is and how crazy it makes me to think that I may never hear this on the radio – not in the UK anyway.  I’ve compared Lynne’s voice and style on some songs to other artists and I’ve given a shout to the great sidemen on this record.  It’s merely to illustrate the company Lynne Fiddmont belongs in because, truly, hers is a massive talent that is equal to those we think of as “the greats” in the music business.




MidLife Records – 7837 0 73089 0 6   Producers – Various, Executive Producers Lynne Fiddmont and Alverne Hood