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Gene Allison

Best remembered for the R&B classic "You Can Make It if You Try," singer Gene Allison was born Versle Eugene Allison in Pegram, TN, on August 29, 1934. Seven years later, his family relocated to Nashville, where he and brother Leevert (later a professional gospel singer) honed their vocal talents singing in their church choir. While still in high school, Allison was asked to fill in with the famed gospel quartet the Fairfield Four. A stint with the Skylarks followed, and brought him to the attention of songwriter and producer Ted Jarrett, who convinced him to sign to his Calvert label and pursue a career in secular music. When Vee-Jay Records began courting another Jarrett protégé, singer Larry Birdsong, the producer insisted the label could only sign Birdsong if they took on Allison as well -- the latter's first single, the Jarrett-penned, gospel-inspired ballad "You Can Make It if You Try" was recorded at Owen Bradley's Nashville studio and released on Vee-Jay in 1957, cracking the top five on Billboard's R&B chart and crossing over into the pop Top 40.

The record was such a success that Allison was able to open his own Nashville restaurant, a 24-hour soul food joint called Gene's Drive-In -- his mother was even installed as manager. He returned to the R&B charts with two more Top 20 hits, "Have Faith" and "Everything Will Be Alright," but although the raw, soulful power of his voice remained undiminished in the years to follow, he never again matched his initial success. Allison died from liver and kidney failure on February 28, 2004, at the age of 69. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues 1945-1970

Disc 1

1. Nashville Jumps

2. Buzzard Pie

3. Skip's Boogie

4. L&N Special

5. Sittin' Here Drinking

6. Just Walkin' In The Rain

8. Baby Let's Play House

9. Christene

10. It's Love Baby (24 Hours A Day)

11. Rollin' Stone

12. You Can Make It If You Try

13. Rockin' The Joint

14. Let's Trade A Little

15. Say You Really Care

16. Somebody, Somewhere

17. Pipe Dreams

Disc 2

1. Monkey Doin' Woman

5. Anna (Go To Him)

6. Snap Your Fingers

9. Sunny

10. I Want To (Do Everything For You)

13. The Chokin' Kind

14. She Shot A Hole In My Soul

15. Gotta Get Yourself Together

16. Soul Shake

17. Reconsider Me

18. Everlasting Love

x

Track List: Night Train to Nashville, Vol. 2

Disc 1

1. Boogie Woogie Jockey

2. Gene Nobles' Boogie

3. All States Boogie

5. 31 E. Blues

6. No Better For You

7. You Belong To Me

8. Too Much

9. If Things Don't Change

11. Miss You So

12. Little Darlin'

13. No Fool No More

15. She Can Rock

18. OK, So What?

19. She Wears My Ring

Disc 2

1. Doctor Feel-Good

2. I'm A Woman

3. Don't Pity Me

5. Release Me

6. Soldier Of Love

7. Don't Take My Kindness For A Weakness

9. Strain On My Heart

12. Right On Time

13. Judy

17. Screamin' And Shoutin'

18. (You Keep Me) Hangin' On

19. She's All I Got

x

Track List: Nuggets Of The Golden Age Of Gospel 1945-1958

Disc 1

2. I'm Tramping

5. He Knows My Heart

8. Each Day

9. Lead Me To That Rock

11. Mother's Song

12. Jesus Is The Name

13. Same Train

14. Lord's Prayer

16. One Day

17. I'd Rather Serve Jesus

18. At The Cross

19. Lord's Gospel Train

20. Bedside Of A Neighbor

21. There Is Rest For The Weary

23. On The Highway

25. Jesus Be My Keeper

26. Walking In Jesus Name

Disc 2

1. Let Us Run

2. Come Over Here

5. No Matter How You Pray

7. Ship Of Zion

8. Jesus Bears The Cross

9. My God Is Real

11. Another Soldier Gone

12. Trouble In Mind

13. Toll The Bells

14. I Need Thee

15. There'll Be No More Sorrow

16. One Day When I Was Walking (I'm In His Care)

18. Angel

19. Lord Have Mercy

22. Cry Sometime

26. Old Time Religion

Disc 3

2. Our Prayer

5. Prayer For Tomorrow

6. Yes It's Me Lord, That Came To Thee

7. Who So Ever Will

8. Pilgrim Of Sorrow (Take 1)

10. He's Alright With Me

11. I Was So Happy

13. Lord, Will I Meet Them Again

14. I Want To Go To Heaven

15. Burying Ground

24. Come Home

Disc 4

1. I Can See So Much

2. Sit Down And Rest Awhile

3. Didn't It Rain

6. Glad To Be In The Number

7. Walk With Me

14. Roll, Jordan, Roll

15. Didn't It Rain

16. Rock My Soul

19. Hard To Get Along

20. Mother Bowed

23. When I Lay This Body Down

25. I Never Knew

x

Track List: Ref-O-Ree Records Story

1. Singing A New Song

2. It's Almost Sundown

3. I Love You I Love You

5. When The Boy That You Love (Is Loving You)

6. Digging Your Potatoes

7. Fairly Well

8. The Sea Sand

9. I'll Pick My Own Chicken

10. What Is It Baby

11. Worry

12. Its Almost Sundown

13. I Understand

14. Tell Me Baby (Who Would I Be)

15. Is It Love (Or An Imitation)

16. You Got To Have A Thing

17. Hold On

18. Clean With Your Dirty Work

19. Things Are Never As Bad As They Seem

20. Oriental Soul

21. Candy

22. The Funky Preacher

23. I Need A Man

25. The People's Choice

x

Track List: The Champion Records Story

1. Somebody Somewhere

2. You're My Baby

3. Oo Wee Honey

4. Let's Try It Again

5. Three Times Seven

6. Best Of Luck Baby

7. Sittin' Here Drinkin'

8. I'm Just What You're Looking For

9. I Thank Him

10. Blue Night

11. Am I Losing You

12. Blue Organ

13. Real Good Man

14. Love Me A Long Long Time

15. The Road

18. Fool

19. I'm So Satisfied

20. Hurry Hurry

x

Track List: The Poncello Records Story

1. The Same Thing

2. Tend To Your Business

3. My All Is You

4. Please Send Me Someone To Love

5. Let Me Down Easy

6. You Are My Sunshine

7. Everybody Loves A Lover

8. Be My Baby

9. Hide 'Nor Hair

10. I've Gotta Sit Down (And Get A Hold Of Myself)

11. Diddlin' And Daddlin'

12. Make Me Know

13. Happy Go Lucky

14. Worry

16. Midway

18. What You Bet J

19. Little Willie Joe

20. You Don't Want My Love

21. Popa Nickel

22. Catch A Donkey

23. Brick Wall

24. We're Having A Party

x

Track List: Vee-Jay: The Definitive Collection

Disc 1

2. Baby, It's You

3. Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite

4. Ain't Times Hard

5. You Don't Have To Go

6. Blue Evening

7. I Wish You Would

8. At My Front Door

9. Hurt My Feelings

10. Bad Boy

11. Somewhere To Lay My Head

13. Fool's Prayer

14. Oop De Oop

15. I'll Be Forever Loving You

16. Ain't That Lovin' You Baby

18. Up On The Mountain

19. Big Town Playboy

20. Rock 'n' Roll Mama

21. Oh What A Nite

Disc 2

1. Dimples

2. The Telephone Is Ringing

3. Judgment Day

4. Uncloudy Day

6. Mother's Son

8. Honest I Do

9. Farther Along

10. You Can Make It If You Try

11. It Hurts Me Too

14. Blues Get Off My Shoulder

15. For Your Precious Love

16. Pigtails And Blue Jeans

17. I Love You Honey

18. Leave You In The Hands Of The Lord

19. Nobody But You

20. Shombalor

21. Crying For My Baby

Disc 3

1. Mary Don't You Weep

2. Steppin' Out

3. Just A Little Bit

5. Will You Ever Be Mine

6. Will The Circle Be Unbroken

7. Easy Lovin'

8. No Shoes

9. Oh Baby

10. He Will Break Your Heart

11. Exodus

12. Big Boss Man

13. Raindrops

14. Every Beat Of My Heart

15. Old Ship Of Zion

16. Bright Lights, Big City

17. Nite Owl

18. Duke Of Earl

19. Real Gone Mama

21. Boom Boom

Disc 4

1. I'm A Woman

2. Make It Easy On Yourself

3. Sherry

4. Rainbow

7. Body Surf

8. You're No Good

10. The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss)

11. Steal Away

12. Have I The Right

13. Let It Be Me

14. Bring Your Lovin'

15. Getting Mighty Crowded

16. Walk Around Heaven All Day

17. Tainted Love

18. Billy's Bag

19. Stay In My Corner

20. Oo Wee Baby, I Love You

21. Let's Do It Over

22. I Don't Know What You've Got But It's Got Me

Comments

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coo7
Gene was a good singer. He sanged from his heart

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