Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

12/07/2018

Lloyd Allen, legendary Portland Blues man remembered

By MICHAEL "SHOEHORN" CONLEY // Portland music fixture Lloyd Wesley Allen, born January 7th 1937, died November 27th 2018. His memorial was December 6.

 Lloyd Allen was a vital part of the Portland Music Community for over 6 decades, beginning as a teenager when he joined jazz legend Warren Bracken’s band. The always-dapper guitarist projected a debonair image and sang sophisticated blues songs dealing with issues from everyday life, made real by an honest delivery and an easy command of the audience. He was fond of strolling through the crowd with an extra-long guitar cable and remote headset mic, singing to individuals and tables, making it personal for those in attendance.

His “Homegoing Celebration” was held Thursday morning at Daniels Memorial Church of God In Christ on NE Killingsworth Street in Portland. Fully one third of the seating was roped off for his extended family, which includes 3 surviving siblings, 14 children and 18 grandchildren, plus cousins, nieces, nephews, and great-grandchildren. The rest of the church was packed with members of the community, including many musicians.

The service began with organ music and a processional of clergy and family members, followed by a prayer of comfort by Julia Lambert and scripture readings by Minister James Arceneaux.  Singer Wendy Jackson led a Praise and Worship Medley and Mother Wright offered words of comfort followed by more music by LaDonte Horsley. Following this several friends and family members offered memories; these were mostly fondly humorous recollections of the impish blues man.

Singer Wendy Jackson sang a number and acknowledgements were read by Ms. Fern Patterson.  Ms. Trayla Lomax read the obituary, and Sherry Moffatte took the mic to sing.

The eulogy was given by Lloyd Allen’s maternal grandson, Pastor Marcus Shambry of Project Truth Community Church. This was a quite a moving sermon dealing with issues of faith and deliverance, and was met with plenty of response from those in attendance in the form of “yeah”, “word!” “amen” and other exclamations of approval.

The entire service was skillfully accompanied and punctuated by an organist, an older man with a ponytail and rose-colored glasses, who was later spelled by a younger man who was a very powerful player. Neither of these musicians was known to this writer but they were supported by local bassist Ben Jones and Lloyd Allen's nephew Brian Foxworth on drum set.

Several of the speakers made a point of mentioning that Mr. Allen had returned to Jesus after many years winding his way through life outside of the faith. Mr. Allen's father was the Reverend Daniel Lee Allen, his mother's name was Pearl Allen.

Some interesting anecdotes were shared, among them the fact that Lloyd Allen was an animal lover and at various times had kept monkeys, snakes, many dogs, a squirrel and at one point, a two year-old male lion named Herbie.

Although short of stature Mr. Allen had played semi-pro basketball with the Court Justice team.

Several of his relatives noted that they were happy that they got to spend Thanksgiving with him a few days before he passed. One of the men noted that Lloyd had told him he was ready to go, since he was having so much difficulty breathing.

Last month Lloyd Allen was serenaded at his residence home by members of the Norman Sylvester Band, and though he could barely make it to the stage, he strapped on his guitar and began to sing with the Boogie Cat and his crew.

At the end of the service congregants passed by the open casket in front of the altar to view Mr. Allen’s body decked out in a sharp red suit.

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