Black Music Matters Festival

Allan enjoys homecoming show

Western Connection, San Dimas, Cal., Nov. 10, 1999

By Dan MacIntosh

SAN DIMAS, CAL. - Although this show was billed as an audience appreciation event for a local radio station, it turned out to be closer to a homecoming show for this California native.

Among this audience of radio station loyalists were Allan's parents. In fact, his dad even helped introduce him. Adding to the familial atmosphere, one just had to just chuckle every time Allan apologized to mom for cussing from the stage. (Don't worry mom. It only happened a couple times).

But nobody had any reason to cuss Allan's performance this particular night. Whereas the singer's previous performance in the area was marred by a little too much visual flash and girl-baiting, this show found Allen straight up at the microphone and all business.

This is not to say that the singer didn't have any fun. Within the intimate surroundings of this rural (by LA standards) club, Allan was able to present a fulfilling 2-hour set, one which found the singer smiling and laughing much of the time.

If the selections he chose to perform from the new album "Smoke Rings in the Dark" are any indication, Allan appears to be sporting an appreciation for the more traditional Western aspects of country music. These ranged from "Cowboy Blues," where he whisteled the intro- which Allan admitted, is much harder to do after you've had a few - to the Sons of the Pioneers-esque title track.

When Allan reached for cover material, more often than not he went for the hardcore, good stuff. These included a couple from Haggard and one by Jones.

The biggest crowd responses, though, came when Allan's takled his own hits. Fortunately, "Her Man," and his version of the great Jim Lauderdale song "Wake up Screaming," stand up well next to his personal favorite classics.

Allan carried himself with the same work ethic he most certainly must have applied back when he was working his way up to the top by playing such clubs as the Western Connection. And though the female audience members still found plenty of reasons to scream with delight at Allan, he was anything but an applause whore. Unlike the Haggard tune he covered, this was a "Working Man"- only without the "Blues" part.