THE RELEASE of Straight From The Heart marks the return home of the Rance Allen Group. After a gap of four years – during which time Stax was inactive and the brothers recorded for Capitol – Rance, Stephen and Tom are back on the Stax label.
“We always liked being on Stax because of the family atmosphere that existed there,” Rance says. “But we are actually signed to Fantasy and they have assigned us to the Stax label.
“Our producer, Hank Cosby, was the one responsible for getting us back there. Though he is a friend first of all, the thing that impressed us most about Hank was that he was prepared to take time to prove he wanted to work with us.”
The new album, Straight From The Heart, marks a slightly new stance for the Rance Allen Group because, although it is still gospel, the lyric content is slightly more progressive than anything they have attempted in the past.
“I’ll always be a gospel singer,” Rance immediately states. “But we are trying to broaden our musical horizon so that more people will listen to what we are saying. We understood that Hank needed something commercial and he understood that we were a gospel group – so we came up with a compromise that has made both parties satisfied.
“Maybe this album will get to the ears of the not-so-churchy folk – you know, the guys in the bar room. But we have been careful not to upset out existing fans because it is important that they know where we are coming from. We understand that the record business is a business but we still aim to please God first.”
© John Abbey, Blues & Soul, February 1979