STYLE: Gospel RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 94274-16619 LABEL: Stax FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
It is a great injustice that Rance Allen does not get more credit for the development of contemporary gospel music. Blessed with a stunning voice which was able to go from a guttural rasp to a dazzling falsetto scream, Rance, like Andrae Crouch, worked at mixing together gospel music with funk and soul into a powerful blend. Unlike Andrae, the Rance Allen Group recorded not for the emergent CCM companies but for the gospel subsidiaries (Gospel Truth and Truth) of the legendary Memphis soul label Stax. Such pioneering work was cut short when Stax closed its doors in the mid '70s and Allen never quite got the kudos he deserved in the black church community. This compilation spans 1971-1975 and features the group he formed with brothers Steve and Tom Allen. 30 years after the event, this set was compiled by former Stax publicist Deanie Parker and is packed with some of his finest recordings including hit single "Ain't No Need Of Crying" and the stupendous, soaring "Hot Line To Jesus". Never one to compromise the message, Rance did a great job of crossing over gospel to a soul audience years before others tried it. If you're into gospel but you've never tried this master of crossover R&B gospel, this is a great place to start. For me, I'm disappointed that the selection doesn't include his single gospelizations of secular hits "Just My Imagination" ("Just My Salvation") and Archie Bell & The Drells' "There's Gonna Be A Showdown" but then, I'm just pleased that this release will help others get into Rance's fine music. But when will Stax uncover some of the other acts on Gospel Truth and let us hear a compilation of the label's best gospel sides? In the meantime enjoy the amazing voice and ministry of its finest act.
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