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I'll Rise Again

Al Green

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Album Review

This is the regular release follow-up to 1982's Precious Lord. That effort had Green doing a pretty much straight-faced religious effort. Despite a few gorgeous notes and some heartfelt standards, it may have been too staid and Nashville for his fans. This presents Green putting more R&B and his own free sprit into the mix. Whereas on efforts ranging from Full of Fire to Truth N' Time he seemed to reign himself in, by the first notes of 1980's Lord Will Make a Way, Green was back to using all of his confidence and charm. This effort also reflects that thinking. The first track, the suitably quirky and proficient "It Don't Take Much," has Green's religious message taking a backseat to his melismatic flourishes. It's a compromise most Green fans can live with. Green's charisma throughout seems to be oblique to the pretty strong religious content that's here. But often when Green is attempting to hit listeners over the head with it, the results are just so-so. "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and "I Just Can't Make It By Myself" are for the traditionalists, but his flagging attention span sinks them both. That's certainly not true of one particular track. This album's transcendent moment belongs to "Ocean Blue (I'll Rise Again)." Mixing in sounds of crashing waves, and a methodical, steady arrangement, Green's conviction and winsome qualities come in loud and clear. Recorded at Green's own American Music Studio, I'll Rise Again is a warm and skilled effort that can stand with some of Green's best work.


Born: 13 April 1946 in Forrest City, AR

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Al Green was the first great soul singer of the '70s and arguably the last great Southern soul singer. With his seductive singles for Hi Records in the early '70s, Green bridged the gap between deep soul and smooth Philadelphia soul. He incorporated elements of gospel, interjecting his performances with wild moans and wails, but his records were stylish, boasting immaculate productions that rolled along with a tight beat, sexy backing vocals, and lush strings. The distinctive Hi Records sound that...
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