Thursday, December 09, 2010
The Rance Allen Group - The Live Experience II
The Live Experience II
Tyscot Records (release date: January 25, 2011)
When the Hawkins Family opened the door to contemporary sounds in gospel music, Rance Allen and his brothers walked through with their incendiary brand of funk and psychedelic arrangements.
The group endured its share of quizzical looks from church folk at the time, but once its sacred style caught on, the Rance Allen Group produced one hit record after another. They helped pave the way for today’s inventive urban gospel artists.
The Rance Allen Group gathered at Greater Grace Temple in Detroit last July to celebrate its fortieth year in the music business. Tyscot Records captured the evening’s highlights for posterity on CD and DVD as The Live Experience II, a follow-up to 2004's concert CD/DVD, The Live Experience.
Top talents lending their voices to the anniversary occasion were Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Called II Worship and Paul Porter. After the first few minutes of listening to The Live Experience II, one is struck by how the Rance Allen Group sounds as bold, searing and gritty as it did on its first single, waxed for the Reflect label in 1969.
With the exception of two medleys of past hits, the selections featured on The Live Experience II are new, many co-written with the Rance Allen Group’s music director and album producer, Chris Byrd. Outstanding moments include the nine-plus minute version of the current single, “You That I Trust.” You owe it to yourself to hear the album version, which climaxes with Rance Allen and Paul Porter shaking the church rafters with shouts that would impress Archie Brownlee and Bob Washington.
“Love Train” is not the Gamble-Huff locomotive but rather a Chris Byrd and Rance Allen composition. The lyric message is similar to the more famous Love Train but with a completely different melody and patches of sanctified acceleration.
On the slow burning “Angel,” Steve Allen relates his personal brush with angelic intervention. Not wanting to be a spoiler, all I will say is it has to do with a familiar voice over the car radio.
The Live Experience II captures the relentless exuberance of the Rance Allen Group in concert. As Rance sings, “let the music get down in your soul,” turn up the volume and enjoy.
Five of Five Stars
Picks: “You That I Trust,” “Angel.”