has always been one of the most innovative and summarily influential of all modern-day contemporary gospel artists. This 14-track collection of the Rance Allen Group
's (which featured his brothers Steve on bass and Tom
on drums) 1971-1975 tenure with Stax Records' Gospel Truth subsidiary is less of a greatest-hits primer than it is a nice cross section of the mix of contemporary sounds Allen
brought to gospel music during that time. Eight of the tracks ("Care," "You Need a Friend Like Mine," "Happy Needs Help," "Everybody's Talkin'," "I Don't Know What I'd Do," "The Jesus Thing," "Lonely Girl," and the title song, which goes on for almost nine minutes and features Rance
's octave-jumping falsetto squeals) are previously unissued and do much to illustrate the high wire Allen
walked in those early days of the contemporary gospel movement. On five of those unissued sides, Rance
's voice is aided by a solid Stax rhythm section (Donald "Duck" Dunn
on bass and Al Jackson, Jr.
), sounding as fresh and relevant as when they were laid down more than two decades ago.