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Al Green Is Love

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Album Review

In a short time, Al Green became a premier singer in R&B and pop. With songs like "Look What You've Done for Me" and "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," among many others, Green and producer Willie Mitchell refined the sounds of each genre. As Al Green Explores Your Mind was the peak of Green's insouciance, Al Green Is Love finds a starker reality — the majority of the tracks here are ruminative but not always coherent. The first track, the propulsive "L-O-V-E (Love)," would be even more believable if Green didn't sound so ambivalent. Other up-tempo tracks, "I Gotta Be More" and "Rhymes," are edgy and dark, with great riffs from guitarist Mabon Hodges. The heart of Al Green Is Love is the ballads, though Green's not very happy, and those looking for heartwarming thoughts on romance won't find it here. "The Love Sermon" and, even better, "I Didn't Know" are spare, dirge-like songs that give Green great opportunities to turn in raw and emotional performances. "I Wish You Were Here" and "Could I Be the One" have producer Willie Mitchell offering suitably bleak arrangements to go with Green's airy vocals. The best track here, "There Is Love," strikes a balance between the customary production grace and the album's pervading sorrow. Al Green Is Love might be too depressing for some, but his fans will find Green's truthfulness appealing and some of the songs among his best.

Biography

Born: April 13, 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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Al Green Is Love, Al Green
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