132. Al Green

Happy New Year 2010. Let’s get started again.

Here’s what the All Music Guide says about Al Green: “Al Green was the first great soul singer of the ’70s and arguably the last great Southern soul singer.”

Whenever Dave Morey would play an Al Green song in his “10 at 10” show each weekday morning, he would speak the man’s name in hushed tones, displaying his reverence for the sweet singer. I love Al Green. However, the familiar instrumentation and approach used by producer Willie Mitchell leaves a somewhat limited repertoire. Another way to say the songs sound similar.

Al Green’s Wikipedia’s Page

Here is the man in his prime:

Over the years, I always favored “Look What You’ve Done For Me” over “Let’s Stay Together”, but I have an extended version (4:45) of “Let’s Stay Together” that sounds pretty damn good today. The way radio stations are programmed today, you rarely hear anything but “Let’s Stay Together”, which is a shame, since his best songs are all very good.

I’m also a big fan of “Take Me To The River”, better known by The Talking Heads, but I like Al Green’s original version the best. I removed a couple of top 40 hits I didn’t like, and added a few album tracks from his heyday in the early 1970s. I did not add any of his gospel music from his second career as a gospel singer.

Last comment: I saw Al Green in 1988 or so, at the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, CA. Always in fine form, he politely refused a request to play “Love And Happiness”, saying something along the lines that “I don’t think the Lord would want me to sing that one”.

Look What You Done For Me, Al Green ✭✭✭✭
Take Me To The River, Al Green ✭✭✭✭

Let’s Stay Together, Al Green ✭✭✭
Tired Of Being Alone, Al Green ✭✭✭
Love And Happiness, Al Green ✭✭✭
You Ought To Be With Me, Al Green ✭✭✭
Simply Beautiful, Al Green ✭✭✭

Here I Am (Come And Take Me), Al Green ✭✭
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?, Al Green ✭✭
I Can’t Get Next To You, Al Green ✭✭

For The Good Times, Al Green
Call Me (Come Back Home), Al Green

Related songs:

I Can’t Get Next To You, The Temptations ✭✭✭
How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?, The Bee Gees ✭✭✭✭
Take Me To The River, Talking Heads ✭✭✭

2 thoughts on “132. Al Green

  1. Richard Supan January 12, 2010 / 5:08 AM

    Good write-up John on Al Green! Happy New Year!

    Before “Let’s Stay Together” came out, a modest hit released was “Back Up Train”. I always enjoyed the lyrics and strong gospel influence of the song.

    Southern Soul was best with Al Green, the Soul Clan (Solomon Burke, Arthur Conley, Don Covay, Ben E. King, and Joe Tex), Wilson Pickett, and the Memphis Stax label headlined by Otis Redding. Of course, the top Southern Soul singer in my opinion is Soul Brother No. 1- James Brown.

    A good book on Southern Soul Music is by
    Peter Guralick, Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom (1986).

  2. Cheryl March 7, 2010 / 7:06 AM

    OK – call me a lover of sappy songs but I have four Al Green songs that are rated four stars in my collection: Tired of Being Alone, I’m Still In Love With You, Let’s Stay Together and Look What You Done For Me. Not only do I like his voice but I find the words to these songs just hit that sweet spot in my heart. Not to mention they are also very nice dance songs.

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