R&OBIT: Gene Allison, one of Nashville's key R&B artists, has died from liver and kidney failure in a Tennesse hospital. He was 69. His first breakthrough came in 1957 with a gospel reading of Ted Jarrett's You Can Make It If You Try, a track which crossed over onto the Billboard Pop 40 and which would later be covered by the Rolling Stones. So impressive was Allison's phrasing and ability to wring emotion from a single note even Sam Cooke was impressed, once saying "I wish I could sing like Gene Allison." Although You Can Make It If You Try was his biggest hit, he went on to have two more R&B success before his star started to fade in the early sixties. He had been considering a comeback in recent years, and had contributed to the Country Hall of Fame's Nashville R&B exhibition, due to open on March 27th.