tv Tavis Smiley PBS October 10, 2017 6:30am-7:01am PDT
good evening from los angeles, i'm tavis smiley. tonight a conversation with rance allen and a performance from the legendary trio the rance allen group. this year marks the 45th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. we're glad you've joined us. rance allen and the rance allen group coming up in just a moment. ♪ ♪ and by contributions to your pbs
like a good neighbor ♪ ♪ she was the best she was right there ♪ ♪ lift up your head hear li lift up your head ♪ ♪ lift up your head no matter what ♪ ♪ matter what i'll always be there ♪ ♪ always ♪ for you oh ♪ ♪ like a good neighbor of it like a good neighbor yeah ♪ ♪ was there ♪ she's always there fellas she's always there ♪ ♪ you know he bound up my wounds here healed my broken heart ♪ ♪ he put me together
i was torn apart ♪ ♪ let it be a place where i could lie down ♪ ♪ he said, rance, peace is yours right here and right now ♪ ♪ you know what i said oh lord please ♪ ♪ lord please don't leave my side ♪ ♪ he said don't you worry ♪ ♪ don't you worry you are my child ♪ ♪ from then on whenever i get depressed you all know what i do ♪ ♪ i look to jesus
like a good neighbor ♪ ♪ always been there to lift up your head ♪ ♪ to lift up your don't you despair ♪ ♪ don't you dispaiir -- despair no matter what i'll always be there ♪ ♪ be right there for you for you ♪ ♪ like a good neighbor like a good neighbor ♪ ♪ he'll always be there ♪ like a good neighbor jesus was there ♪ ♪ lift up my head don't you despair ♪ ♪ don't you dare despair ♪ no matter what no matter what ♪ ♪ he said i'll always be there
for you for you ♪ ♪ for you ain't nothing you're going through that he can't get you out of ♪ ♪ like a good neighbor she's always there ♪ ♪ thank you lord thank you lord ♪ ♪ always remember i ain't got a name start praising him now ♪ ♪ what he's going to bring you out of ah ♪ ♪ hallelujah hallelujah ♪ [ applause ] ♪
45 years later, you still got it, man. >> thank you, sir. >> you still got it. >> thank you. >> does it feel like 45 years? >> you know what, when we're actually on stage singing, it -- i still feel like a very hungry guy wanting to reach the world with his music. >> yeah. >> you know. then after i get through with the song, it feels like 45 years. >> then if feels like 45 years. i got to say -- in the airports and hotels -- >> absolutely -- >> -- it feels like 45 years. has your music career turned out to be what you thought it was going to be? what you dreamt it would be almost a half century ago? >> you know, i -- i had my own ideas as to what i would like to see happen. but i'm very thankful that god has led me into different areas, doing different things, that i honestly never dreamed i would
do. >> yeah. >> so you know, the one side, i've always had desires and things like that for myself and the group. but on this other side, i'm thankful that i've had the help of the lord to lead and guide me. >> yeah. you -- you took some risk 45 years ago. >> yeah. >> and for that matter, you've taken risks all 45 years all the way through. in terms of pushing my word, not yours, pushing the boundaries of gospel music, trying to reach a broader audience. what we think of as gospel music today was haeresy 45 years ago, what franklin does, donald lawrence, smoky milford -- i could run the list of brothers and sisters who pushed the bounds. mary mary of gospel music. when you started 45 years ago, upper taking serious risk. reflect on those risks for me pushing gospel music the way you did all those years ago. >> well, the first thing that i
can remember is having myself and my brothers play our music as though we were a band. as a matter of fact, we were a band. we were what they called a self-contained group. meaning that we played and sang at the same time. that was not so unusual with quartets. but with the normal gospel singer, that didn't happen. it was usually one instrument, more than likely a piano, and just singing around the piano. but i wanted -- i always wanted the knots pegospel that i sang the gospel that i sang to sound professional. >> uh-huh. >> to sound like it was produced rather than just thrown together. >> yeah. what -- what price have you paid
over the course of your career for pushing those boundaries? >> well, there's been somebody in almost every audience, even up to today who hears us and looks and goes, oh, doing that and calling it gospel, you know. then we've been asked out of one or two charities doing these 45 years claiming that the music was an insult to god or what have you. the great thing about it is that i've always had the lord to whisper if my ear. say it doesn't matter what people say. you do what i tell you to do. and i'll take you places you've never been. just like with tavis smiley. i never dreamed i would meet
you. but sd but god fixed it. you've even been to my house -- >> i've told this to you and others. a kid growing up in indiana. my father watching now back in indiana was a huge orance allen fan. because my father was a big fan, this is the 8-track days. my father was such a abobig ran allen fan, all he played in the house was one. i got hooked on you literally as a child. and i never thought i would meet you, much less be friends, and have dinner at your house and invite you on this program. didn't know i would be on television. god does work things out in his own time, his own way. >> yes, sir. >> yeah. your instrument has been protected, you've taken good care of it all these years. you still -- you can still scream, your range is still there. how have you done that? >> you know, for about the last
i want to say 15 to 20 years, i've made a special effort to try and take care of my instrument by putting it to rest in certain times. most often when i am talking such as i am now. people will often say, what did you say? because they can't hear me. >> you talk so soft. >> talk soft. yeah. so that when i have to put some turbo on it, it can go there. >> yeah. >> you still got it, like i said, i been fortunate over the years to befriend stevie wonder, the great -- one of the greats of all time. >> one of the greats. >> love stevie. i've been friends with stevie for 20, 25 years now. i have yet to get him to tell me what the secret potion is he drinks all the time. he carries some around in a -- in a container. and -- >> man --
>> he drinks that thing. and -- >> i got the potions, too. >> you got it, too? >> me and the fellas. and chris, my music director, we are always testing something out to keep that instrument working, you know. >> i'm glad you mentioned the fellas and chris. say a word because i know how -- i love them and respect them so for being supportive of you. you guys stayed together unlike a lot of bands, particularly where family is involved. first of all, y'all have stayed together as a band. and you're family and still like each other all these years. that's a blessing unto itself. say a word if you will about your brothers. you mentioned your music director, chris, on the stage with you tonight as we saw. and you'll see them again for another track. say something about your brothers who have been by your side all these years. >> it started in the late '60s. our mother brought us together.
mama told us it doesn't matter who's doing what. you are brothers. i want you to look after each other. tom is like the brother who keeps the family together. steve is the brother who is able to handle business. he's the guy that's been to college and all. he's the physical therapist. if something happens to us and all of that, you know. and me, she always referred to as the preacher. she noticed that i kind of had this -- this gift to sing. and we had put the group together, and mama encouraged us. it doesn't matter who's doing what. you guys stay together. work with each other, your brothers. your blood brothers.
that's the way we've done it from the day she told us until today. and my brothers mean so much to me. it doesn't mean that we don't fight. because we can get into it, you know. >> thank god -- >> yeah. thank god. but that love that mama instilled in us is working 45 years and counting. >> yeah. this project, "live from san francisco," your most recent c.d., made me think about something particularly as it relates to gospel which is what you do that i've never actually thought about before in all of my years of growing up in the church and being part of it, being choir director, loving music. i never thought about this until i put this project on to hear the other day. and that is a question about what the difference is if there is a difference particularly
with gospel music in doing it live on stage, in a church, wherever you might be, doing it live versus recording it. the question is whether or not or how in fact you get the same spirit, how that same holy ghost comes and shows up in the studio like it will in front of a live audience. it will break out at you, in a crowd. >> yeah. >> where there are two or three. how do you get that in the studio you that would get in church or on a stage somewhere? >> tavis, honestly, they will tell you, i love working in the studio more so than i do a live album. >> wow. wow. >> that's not the case with most artists. >> yeah. >> the studio allows me to be somewhat like a construction worker. doing it piece by piece and stacking it up, finally building
the building. when we do it live, all the sudden i got to remember all of these lyrics. in the studio, i write down everything. sing it off the paper, you know. when we do it live, man. here lately this last album, they had to get what you call teleprompters for me in particular because i could not remember. but when you talk about the holy ghost coming in -- don't you start messing with me, boy. i'm going to tell you, man, when you start letting god have his way, with a studio, i've done hollering and falling out in the studio. but the same thing happens when you're doing it live in front of
1,000 or more people. this album was or is a great example of how god can come in while you're on stage and bless you right there on your feet. >> yeah. this is not your first live album. over all these 45 years. how did you choose san francisco for this one? >> i had my manager and all of us talked. i had a wonderful, wonderful godmother who lived out that way. she's gone to heaven now. i wanted to go out there. she kept telling me, why don't you bring your group out this way. she was at that concert. >> ooh. >> and -- >> did she live long enough to see it -- >> she lived long enough to see it. at one point i called her by
name. >> that's right. >> it was a -- then the area that we were in, rance allen group have been blessed to have a bunch of fans down that way. and after all of these years, these people come out and, oh, man, they are ready when they come out. they -- they're dancing and leaping and clapping hands and screaming and -- ? of that is because obviously you guys sound oh good together on stage. some of that's because it's impossible to watch you as we've done each in the studio. i was -- done even in the studio. i was watching you in rehearsal today, and you got white folks shouting all across the back of the studio. my point is there's something about the gospel music thing. >> yeah, man. >> and something infectious about watching the way you move on stage. and people -- i think as they say what comes from the heart reaches the heart, when they see -- when they see the holy ghost working in you, it will jump
around the room. >> it will. >> yeah. >> and that's the thing i love about it. the first thing i see normally is little kids. kids bring their parents into it. you know, we be jamming and that music is flowing. next thing you look out, there's a kid over there -- yeah. and then the next thing, look behind the kid. and -- and mom is going -- >> yeah. yeah. >> yeah. >> and before it's over, everybody is on the floor. >> they say the child should shall lead -- child shall lead them. >> amen. >> what's your assessment of how gospel has changed over these 45 years? every one of these young people refers to you in some way, shape, or form as the godfather. >> overall, i love the changes. back when we started just to have gospel played every day was a dream. >> yeah. >> if you missed it on sunday, you missed it until next sunday.
>> yeah. >> today it ae's played every d all day long. today it ae's a genre compared r&d -- and r&b and so on. >> and gospel, your music, is hegemonic. celebrating 45 years ago. the rance allen group, the latest project is "live from san francisco." we will close tonight with another performance. here is the rance allen group singing, "a little louder, clap your hands." get ready to move, i can promise you. that's our show for tonight. good night from l.a. thanks for watching. as always, keep the faith. ♪ clap those hands a little louder
listen ♪ ♪ yeah look here ♪ ♪ clap your hands a little bit louder ♪ ♪ stomp your feet just a little bit ♪ ♪ raise your voice raise louder ♪ ♪ ooh he o oh hallelujah ♪ ♪ i say clap your lanhands a lie bit louder stomp your feet a little bit louder ♪ ♪ hallelujah ♪ the promises of god so are we have every reason to shout ♪ ♪ here's the great and mighty king so come on everybody praise the lord with me ♪ ♪ let me see you move uh-huh ooh ♪ ♪ ahh-hallelujah
come on and sing ♪ ♪ whoa ♪ ♪ clap your hands a little bit louder stomp your feet a little bit harder ♪ ♪ and raise your voice higher ♪ ♪ hallelujah ♪ i said clap your hands a little bit louder stomp your feet just a little bit harder ♪ ♪ raise your voice just a little bit harder ♪ ♪ hallelujah ♪ we've got a reason to pray got a reason to stop our foot ♪ ♪ we've got a reason to sing ♪ cuz we've been good
we've got a reason to pray ♪ ♪ oh ohoh ♪ ♪ we've got a reason to stomp our feet we do ♪ ♪ we've got a reason to scream oh yes sir why ♪ ♪ because you've been good to us look here ♪ ♪ has god been good to you and you know that he's been good ♪ ♪ hallelujah hallelujah ♪ ♪ come on everybody let your hands go ♪ ♪ let me see you move yeah ♪ ♪ clap your hands clap 'em clap them a little bit louder ♪ ♪ do your dance ah-ooh ♪ ♪ yeah
ahh ♪ ♪ clap your hands cl clap them ♪ ♪ do your dance do your dance a little bit harder ♪ ♪ ah-ooh ♪ all right hallelujah ♪ ♪ hallelujah ♪ [ applause ] >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org. >> hi, i'm tavis smiley. join me next time as we take a deep dive into what's happening around the country. that's next time. we'll see you then.
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