From Soul Express 2/2004
INTRODUCING... VICK ALLEN
catch is a young, gospel-raised artist by the name of Vick Allen.
"I was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on September 17 in 1971." Vick lists Al Green, Bobby Womack, Bobby Blue Bland and Johnnie Taylor
his early idols. "Fresh out from high school, from 1990, I performed
twelve years in a world-renowned gospel group, the Canton Spirituals.
That was a full-time job. We toured the United States, but we also toured
overseas quite a bit." The group was formed in Canton, Mississippi,
already in the 40s, and its first lead was Harvey Watkins, Sr., who
passed away in 1994, and from that point on Harvey Jr. has carried the torch.
The group released a lot of albums on J&B and Verity in the 80s and 90s,
and our Victor was one of the seven members in the line-up.
producing secular music for Willie Clayton and I also produced for Bobby
Rush. They were fans of the Canton Spirituals. A lot of secular artists
listen to gospel music." Vick has worked with Willie on the End Zone
album, The Last Man Standing, on Bobby Rush's Waldoxy CD Hoochie
Man, on O.B.Bryant's Blues Party (Good Time Records), on Ben
Tankard's gospel CD on Verity and even plays keyboards on the latest
Shirley Brown set reviewed above. On some of those albums Vick not only did
producing, but also wrote, arranged, mixed, engineered and played keys.
"I just finished working with the Canton Spirituals on their new project,
which is supposed to be released in October on Verity Records."
Vick's first solo
album, Let's Dance, was released on Brown Hill 1001 two years ago.
"Brown Hill was a label from Dallas, Texas - A.C. Brown. That connection
was made by Mel Waiters. Malaco was aware of me through the success of Let's
Dance. When I started recording a new CD, they were interested in what I
had started on. I went by and let them hear about four songs I had done
already. They were interested, and we just decided to sign with them and do
Waldoxy CD, Old School… New Flava ('04), was produced by him with
the exception of two tracks - a gloomy, downtempo song with a hypnotic beat
called Clean House and a smooth beat ballad titled Marry Me -
which were co-produced (and written) by Rich Cason. "I've been a fan of
his music for a long time. We've been friends and we've kept in touch. Then
he found out that I was doing a record for Malaco, he sent over a couple of
songs and I loved them."
Vick wrote the
first two songs. Hold On is a heavy mid-bouncer, where towards the end
you can hear Bobby Rush's harmonica, while Wrong Place Wrong Time is an
impressive soul ballad, on which Vick's voice bears a slight resemblance to
Willie Clayton. "I've worked with Willie for a long time and vocally he
has influenced me, but I don't purposely try to sound like him."
I Better Walk
Away (co-written by Vick) is a catchy dancer, but even more infectious is So
Sweet So Fine, a new song written by Vick and Willie Clayton. I'm Going
Home is a pleading ballad, whereas Mr. Telephone Man, a mid-beater
written by Ray Parker Jr., was a number one black hit for New Edition
twenty years ago. "I'm only thirty-two and that's oldie to me. That song
was popular, when I was in high school. Whenever I do shows, that's a very
popular song to do live, because everybody knows it and it turns into a big
We all remember Gladys
Knight's wonderful rendition of the Van McCoy song, Giving Up,
from forty years back, but Vick's (6:25) cover is arranged to Donny Hathaway's
slow '72 version. "I've always been a big fan of Donny Hathaway. I was
introduced to his music at an early age, and that has always been one of my
favourite cuts by him."
A slow and
spirited testimony called A World Where No One Cries was cut by Bobby
Womack for his '87 The Last Soul Man album. "That song features my
wife, Sonya Allen. She is an evangelist. I wanted to feature her on a
song that wasn't quite so secular. That song has a more Christian and gospel
message to it."
One of the
persons Vick thanks in the liner notes is Peggy Scott-Adams.
"Peggy and I are real good friends. I've actually worked with her on her
upcoming gospel album."
harmonica on this set you can listen to guitars, bass and sax, so the
omnipresent question about machines vs. instruments was raised. "The
music is changing in the U.S. That's what people prefer now. Money concerned,
actually nowadays it's gotten the other way round. It actually now costs more
for one person to program a track than it would be to bring in the musicians.
It has become a standard here. Producer Kanye West gets a portion of
100,000 plus the track he programmed, and for 100,000 dollars you can get two
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