Vee Allen was very well connected musically. Her brother was Detroit music man Al Perkins and her husband noted vocalist Na Allen. Her career started at the end of the 60s and it is a pleasure to note that she continues to make music into the new millennium.

She started singing professionally in Detroit and her first recording session was arranged by her brother. He took the results to Twinight’s Peter Wright in Chicago, a city he spent many years working in prior to settling in the Motor City. Twinight gave the disc a release #140 but it never made it to a commercial release. It is known now only as a very rare test pressing but thanks to those nice guys at Eccentric Soul who put both sides on their Twinight’s Lunar Rotation CD we can now hear them in good quality audio.

The tracks are credited to Velma Perkins, her maiden name, and her version of the Jerry Butler / Bobby Womack / Jimmy Holiday beat ballad “Yes My Goodness Yes” compares favourably with her brother’s version on Atco and the excellent Willie Hobbs outing on Silver Fox. The other side is a gentle ballad “I’ll Always Love You” on which her rather “little girl” tone sounds right at home. And it is worth noting that although the rhythm tracks may have been cut in Detroit it sounds very much as though the horn charts were laid down in Memphis where Al Perkins already had connections.

MIER-3Using just the name “Vee” Ms Allen had two 45s on her brother’s own Mier label, both of which are very fine efforts. The first of these coupled a very soulful rendition of Curtis Mayfield’s "The Makings Of You", a gentle ballad on which Vee’s fragility is beautifully evident. The flip Womack’s ListenTrust In Me may be even better thanks to the superb arrangement of the Hi Rhythm section and some tasteful strings.

And although neither of the two Mier releases were big sellers, they did well enough for Al Perkins to land his sister, now Vee Allen, a contract with MGM’s Lion subsidiary which resulted in no less than four 45s being issued. The first reused the excellent ListenCheating Is A No No from the second Mier single, and added the subtle ballad “Can I” to the disc, a song that Vee has returned to again recently.

“Trying To Forget” on the next 45 was very much in a similar mood, but I rather prefer the more potent and melodic beat ballad “Love Is All Around Me”. The next release was a splendid take on “Let’s Move And Groove” beautifully realised by arranger Rudy Robinson. This was flipped with another strong Allen vocal on a lovely tuneful ListenI Can’t Give You Up on which Vee got a co-writer credit. Allen’s 1970s recordings finished with a delicate “Don’t Go To Strangers” whose jazzy feel presaged her musical direction after 2000. The slightly more uptempo “Love Is All Around Me” completes a very worthy selection of Lion tracks.

LION-157After a decade away from the music business Vee Allen returned in 1983 with a new contract with giant MCA. The company issued Vee’s first album entitled “All About Love” which is well regarded as a funky disco set but which had a couple of really good ballads in the “quiet storm” style on it as well. One of these “I’m So Crazy” was featured as the initial single from the set – and its quality has only matured upwards since its release. The second quiet storm tune ListenI’m Still Your Lady, penned by Vee and Kevin McCord, was the flip of the second MCA 45 taken from the album and may just be the best thing that Vee Allen ever recorded.

Vee Allen has recorded two further sets since the year 2000 and both are very listenable. Unlike so many vocalists of her generation she has avoided the dreaded synth led electronic music in favour of real musicians playing real instruments. Her voice has mellowed really well over the years and gained a considerable amount of depth which has really aided her power and presence. The settings are often more jazzy than her material to date – and she obviously feels really at home in this style. Both sets are recommended listening from this source, but being a New Orleans music freak I do have a slight preference for the later set “Blues In The Big Easy” which features Dr John’s wonderful piano on several of the selections.

MIER-4Long may Vee Allen continue to make real music.








I’ll always love you / Yes my goodness yes ~ TWINIGHT 140 (1970)


The makings of you / ListenTrust in me ~ MIER 3 (1972)
ListenCheating is a no no / A stone good lover ~ MIER 4 (1972)


Can I / Cheating is a no no ~ LION 140 (1972)
Trying to forget / Love is all around me ~ LION 152 (1973)
Let’s move and groove together / ListenI can’t give you up ~ LION 157 (1973)
Don’t go to strangers / Love is all around me ~ LION 159 (1973)
I’m so crazy / Ain’t no easy way ~ MCA 52186 (1983)
Love don’t wait / ListenI’m still your lady ~ MCA 52255 (1983)


All about love ~ MCA 5398 (1983)
Woman enough (2007)
Blues In The Big Easy (2015)

Special thanks to my friend Marshall Adams for the excellent suggestion.

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