Gene Allison

by: Gene Allison

While not immune to the filler epidemic throughout LPs in the pre-Beatles era, Gene Allison's lone Vee-Jay release nevertheless remains a compelling portrait of a singer at the tipping point of R&B's evolution into soul, balancing Allison's raw, passionate vocals against atmospheric arrangements that nod to the changes to come. Kicking off with his biggest hit, "You Can Make It If You Try," the album draws heavily on Allison's Southern heritage, with a grittiness that anticipates the emergence of Memphis deep soul. While Allison is by no means a singer on par with an Otis Redding or a Wilson Pickett, his muscular yet sensitive approach is nevertheless supremely effective, evoking loss and lust with real power. [P-Vine's 2006 paper-sleeve CD reissue includes five bonus tracks including "My Heart Remembers" and "I'm a Fool for Wanting You."] ~ Jason Ankeny

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