Al Green


Band members                             Related acts

- Al Green -- vocals, guitar
 

 

- The Creations
- Al Greene and the Soul Mates

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Green Is Blues

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32055

Year: 1969 

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: this is the 1973 reissue' original Hi inner sleeve

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 5409

Price: $20.00

 

1969 proved a monumental year for Al Greene.  Having been dropped by Bell he was introduced to Hi Records vice president/produced Willie Mitchell, who promptly signed Green to a recording contract with the company.   Over the next year Green and Mitchell began working with The Memphis Horns and The Hi Rhythm Section, releasing a pair of little heard singles:

 

- 1968's 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' b/w 'What Am I Going To Do with Myself' (Hi Records catalog number 2159)

- 1969's 'You Say It' b/w 'Gotta Find a New World' (Hi 2172)

 

While the two singles did little commercial (the Green-penned second one was actually a minor R&B success), Mitchell and Hi decided to finance an LP.  While it wasn't Green's best release, 1969's "Green Is Blues" deserved notice as the true start of what would be an amazing partnership with producer//writer Mitchell, The Memphis Horns and The Hi Rhythm Section.  I should quickly backtrack and tell you that in spite of that opening comments the album had more than it's share of treasures and was well worth checking out.  One of the things that's always fascinated me about this one was the  fact it didn't sound anything like the silky smooth 'love man' persona Green rode to mega sales in the mid-1970s.  Producer Mitchell surrounded Green with a surprisingly taunt soul sound - think along the lines of the Stax sound and you'll be in the right aural neighborhood.  For his part Green utilized a darker and rougher vocal style than what he'd later become famous for.  Mind you, his voice remained instantly recognizable, but it was cool hearing him tough it out on tracks like 'Talk To Me' and 'What Am I Gonna Do with Myself'.  Maybe it was just me, but every time I listen to the LP I hear echoes of Otis Redding.  Musically the set was heavy on popular pop and soul covers.  On songs like 'My Girl', The Box Tops' 'The Letter' and The Beatles 'Get Back' Green's covers didn't stray too far from the original arrangements, but were still modestly entertaining.  Interestingly the two Green originals were less impressive.  'Get Back Baby' sounded like a James Brown rip off, while 'Tomorrow's Dream' just kind of stumbled around - a good song looking for a certain missing ingredient.  Still, anyone who thought Green's string of hits sounded similar should check this baby out ...   Commercially the set did well hit # 2 on the R&B charts and # 19 pop.

 

"Green Is Blue" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) One Woman   (Chalmers - Rhodes) - 2:59

2.) Talk To Me   (Seneca) - 3:03

3.) My Girl   (Smokey Robinson) - 2:47

4.) The Letter   (Wayne Thompson Cason) - 2:22

5.) I Stand Accuse   (W. Butler - Jerry Butler) - 3:12

(side 2)

1.) Gotta Find a New World   (Smith - Oliver) - 2:22

2.) What Am I Gonna Do with Myself   (Jones - Willie Mitchell) - 2:22

3.) Tomorrow's Dream   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - 2:18

4.) Get Back Baby   (Al Green) - 2:10

5.) Get Back   (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 2:1

6.) Summertime   (Heywood - Gershwin) - 2:56

 

Anyone know the story behind the withdrawn original cover?  All I can figure is that Hi management was concern the Al Green photo was too ominous for white audiences ...

 

 original withdrawn LP cover

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Al Green Gets Next To You

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32062

Year: 1970

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring wear; promo sticker on front cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5419

Price: $20.00

 

In contrast to his first Hi release, 1970's "Al Green Gets Next To You" found Al Green opening up the doors to show off his Southern soul and light funk roots.  The results were unexpected but proved to be a major step towards commercial acceptance.  Backed by the Hi house band (including drummer Al Jackson, bassist Al Hodges, keyboardist Charles Hodges, guitarist Mabon Hodges, and the horn section of Jack Hale, Ed Logan, Andrew Love, Wayne Jackson and James Mitchell), Green sounded remarkably confident and in-control throughout the collection. While the whole set was riveting, highlights included the half-speed cover of the Temptation's 'I Can't Get Next To You' and the horn propelled 'Are You Lonely for Me'.  Elsewhere the album showcased Green's first rate writing skills, including 'Right Now Right Now', 'Driving Train', 'I'm a Ram' (the latter two easily the best funk tracks Green ever wrote or performed) and 'Tired of Being Alone' (which proved to be his first top-40 pop hit).  Among the few missteps were a needless cover of The Doors' 'Light My Fire' and ''.  Okay, okay you could also point out the tasteless ruffled sleeves and blue fur trim on his blue double breasted jacket.  Hi tapped the album for a series of singles in the form of:

 

- 1970's 'I Can't Get Next To You' b/w 'Ride Sally Ride' (Hi catalog number 45-2182) Pop # 60, R&B # 11

- 1970s 'You Say It' b/w 'Gotta Find a New World' (Hi catalog number 45-2172) R&B # 28

- 1970s 'Right Now Right Now' b/w 'All Because (I'm the Foolish One)' (Hi catalog number 45-2177) R&B # 23

 

 

Propelled by the singles and strong reviews from critics, the album proved his first crossover success, hitting a well deserved # 58 pop.

"Al Green Gets Next To You" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) I Can't Get Next To You   (Norman Whitfield) - 3:42
2.) Are You Lonely For Me Baby   (Bert Berns) - 3:56
3.) God Is Standing By   (Johnnie Taylor) - 3:14
4.) Tired of Being Alone   (Al Green) - 2:50
5.) I'm a Ram   (Al Green) - 3:47

(side 2)

1.) Driving Wheel   (Roosevelt Sykes) - 2:58
2.) Light My Fire   (Jim Morrison - Ray Manzarek - Robbie Krieger - John Densmore) - 3:52
3.) You Say It   (Al Green) - 2:52
4.) Right Now Right Now   (Al Green) - 2:50
5.) All Because   (Al Green) - 2:45

 

 

Thanks to YouTube you can check out a live performance of 'Tired of Being Alone':

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vg4dnFx6JW0&feature=related

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Let's Stay Together

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32070

Year: 1972

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Comments: --

Available: 2

Catalog ID: 

Price: $10.00

 

 

For many folks (particularly those for whom the early-1970s were their prime music listening timeframe), 1972's "Let's Stay Together" probably serves as the ultimate make out album. Initiating Green's long-lived collaboration with producer/writer Willie Mitchell, Green's seldom sounded as confident and comfortable on the mix of originals and well chosen covers. Interestingly, better known for his ballads, many of the highlights came in the form of up tempo Stax and Volt inspired soul material, including the horn punched "So You're Leaving", the slinky "It Ain't No Fun for Me" and "I've Never Found Me a Girl" (dare you to sit still during the latter). On the other hand, the classic title track and his cover of The Bee Gees "How Do You Mend a Broken Heart" (which rips the original to shreds) firmly established Green's "love man" persona. Released as a single "Let's Stay Together" b/w "Tomorrow's Dream" (Hi catalog numbers 45-2202), provided Green with a chart topping pop and R&B hit.  A mid-1970s classic, the collection quickly went top-10, earning Green the first in a string of gold albums.

"Let's Stay Together" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Let's Stay Together (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 3:15
2.) La-La For You (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 3:29
3.) So You're Leaving (Al Green) - 2:53
4.) What Is This Feeling (Al Green) - 3:40
5.) Old Time Lovin (Al Green) - 3:17

(side 1)

1.) I've Never Found a Girl (Booker T. Jones - Eddie Floyd - A. Isbell) - 5:57
2.) How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Barry Gibb - Robin Gibb) - 6:21
3.) Judy ( Al Green) - 3:44
4.) It Ain't No Fun To Me (Al Green) - 3:27

 

 




Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title: I'm Still In Love with You

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32074

Year: 1972

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original Hi inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5399

Price: $20.00

 

 

Anyone looking for major artistic changes need not bother adding 1972's "I'm Still In Love with You" to their collection.  That said, fans no that this album was every bit as good as the earlier release.  Produced by Willie Mitchell and backed by the Hi rhythm section, the collection offered up another stunning set of 'love man' ballads and mid-tempo numbers.  If there was a slight difference this time out, it came in the form of Al Green's willingness to explore new musical genres; in this case country music via covers of Kris Kristofferson's 'For the Good Times' and Roy Orbison's 'Oh, Pretty Woman'.   For his part Al Green seemed to be firing on all eight cylinders.  Virtually every one of the nine tracks had something going for it.  Lots of folks will disagree, but the only song that didn't really connect with me was the needless Orbison cover.  Just my opinion, but Green's cover simply didn't add anything to the original.  Personal favorites included the classic top-5 title track, 'Love and Happiness', and the acoustic ballad 'Simply Beautiful'.  Hi tapped the album for a pair of singles:

- 1972's 'Look What You Done for Me' b/w 'La La For You' (Hi catalog number 45-2211)

- 1972's 'I'm Still In Love with You' b/w 'Old Time Lovin' (Hi catalog number 45-2216

 

While it was another massive commercial success hitting # 4 pop, today it's frequently forgotten in comparison to "Let's Stay Together", though it's every bit as good, if not even better. Curiously some four years later Hi came back to the album for another single:

 

- 1977's 'Love and Happiness' b/w 'Glory Glory' (Hi catalog number 45-2324).  Released long after Green's commercial heyday, the 45 hit # 104 pop and # 82 R&B.  

 

"I'm Still In Love with You" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) I'm Still In Love with You   (Al Green - Al Jackson - Willie Mitchell) - 3:12

2.) I'm Glad You're Mine   (Al Green) - 2:54

3.) Love and Happiness   (Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 5:00

4.) What a Wonderful Thing Love Is   (Al Green) - 3:38 

5.) Simply Beautiful   (Al Green) - 4:08


(side 2)

1.) Oh, Pretty Woman   (Roy Orbison - B. Dees) - 3:22

2.) For the Good Times   (Kris Kristofferson) - 6:27

3.) Look What You Done For Me   (Al Green - Al Jackson - Willie Mitchell) - 3:04

4.) One of These Good Old Days   (Al Green) - 3:15

 

 

Here's a YouTube clip of Green performing 'Love and Happiness' on PBS's Soundstage television program:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83Fu0zqztkY

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  Call Me

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32077

Year: 1973

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original Hi inner sleeve

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD

 

To my ears 1973's "Call Me" may well be Al Green's creative peak.  It's certainly one of my all time favorite albums and one of the few albums in my collection I'd give a five star rating.  This was the album where Green and producer Willie Mitchell hit high gear.  There weren't any major departures from the pair's signature sound, rather on this one they perfected the approach.  Green's silky smooth voice was in prime shape, injecting an almost intoxicating funkiness into material like the title track, 'Have You Been Making Out Okay' and 'Here I Am (Come and Take Me)'.   Green's earlier stabs at adapting county material never did much for me, but this time around he figured it out - his covers of Willie Nelson's 'Funny How Time Slips Away' and the Hand Williams chestnut 'I'm So Lonely I Could Cry' were killer.  There simply wasn't a misstep on the entire album.  Classic Memphis soul ...  classic make out music.

 

The album spun off another series of pop and R&B hits:

 

 

 

 

- 1973's 'You Ought To Be with Me' b/w 'What Is This Feeling' (Hi Records catalog number 45-2227)

- 1973's 'Call Me' b/w 'What a Wonderful Thing Love Is' (Hi Records catalog number 45-2235)

- 1973's 'Here I Am (Come and Take Me)' b/w 'I'm Glad You're Mine' (Hi Records catalog number 45-2247)

 

"Call Me" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Call Me (Come Back Home)   (Al Green - Al Jackson - Willie Mitchell) - 3:08

2.) Have You Been Making Out Okay   (Al Green) -3:12

3.) Stand Up   (Al Green) - 3:26

4.) I'm So Lonely I Could Cry   (Hank Williams) - 3:10

5.) Your Love Is Like the Morning Sun   (Al Green) - 3:09

(side 2)

1.) Here I Am (Come and Take Me)   (Al Green - Hodges) - 4:14

2.) Funny How Time Slips Away   (Willie Nelson) - 5:38

3.) You Ought To Be with Me   (Al Green - Al Jackson - Willie Mitchell) - 3:16

4.) Jesus Is Waiting   (Al Green) - 5:38

 

Here are a couple of YouTube clips:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CslaDEc2PS8

'Jesus Is Waiting'

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBrLavAsWBk

'Here I Am (Come and Take Me)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF7f4SSV6ms

'You Ought To Be with Me'

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzb5BFqTGIo

'Funny How Time Slips Away' (1994 remake with Lyle Lovett)

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Livin' for You

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32082

Year: 1973

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original Hi inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5406

Price: $20.00

 

Exemplified by 1973's "Livin' For You" in hindsight Al Green's string of classic mid-1970s releases is simply staggering.  With the possible exception of Stevie Wonder its hard to think of another artist who managed to churn out such a volume of quality material in such a compressed timeframe.   Produced by Willie Mitchell, exemplified by originals like the title track, 'Home Again' and the slinky 'So Good To be Here' this time out Green seemed in a more relaxed mood, turning in some of his most beguiling ballads.  Some critics have slammed the LP for sinking into 'sound alike' realm, but I'd heartily disagree.  Sure Green's parented sound was instantly recognizable, but the man continued to surprise with subtle changes and occasional slice of funk, including the mesmerizing 'Free At Last' and 'Sweet Sixteen'.  The other highlight was an extended live take off 'Beware'.  Simply killer.  The album wasn't perfect.  Green's doubled tracked cover of the chestnut 'Unchained Melody' was interesting - better than 99% of the covers, but still couldn't match his original material. Perhaps not his creative zenith, but I'll tell you this one has slowly grown into one my favorite Green albums.

 

Elsewhere the album spun off a pair of pop and R&B hit singles:

 

- 1973's 'Living' For You' b/w '' (Hi catalog number 45-2257) 

- 1974's 'Let's Get Married' b/w 'So Good To Be Here' (Hi catalog number 45-2262) 

 

"Al Green Liviin' For You" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Livin' For You   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - 3:09

2.) Home Again   (Al Green) - 3:56

3.) Free At Last   (Al Green) - 3:26

4.) Let's Get Married   (Al Green) - 5:28

5.) So Good To Be Here   (Al Green - M. Allen) - 2:40

(side 2)

1.) My Sweet Sixteen   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - 3:26

2.) Unchained Melody   (A. North - H. Zaret) - 5:33

3.) My God Is Real   (K. Morris) - 2:43

4.) Beware   (Al Green) - 8:12

 

I found YouTube clips of Green performing a couple of these tracks (years later):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-J7gOt2tX8

 

And a 1990 performance of 'How Do You Mend a Broken Heart' at The Apollo Theater:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VwdpcHOiss

 

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  Al Green Explores Your Mind

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32087

Year: 1974

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: little handwriting on white collar (five month anniversary gift)

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1174

Price: $20.00

 

 

When an artist falls into reworking a successful formula the results frequently aren't very promising.  1974's "Al Green Explores Your Mind" is one of those rare exceptions.  Continuing his collaboration with producer Willie Mitchell and the Hi rhythm section, musically this wasn't all that different from the last couple of Al Green albums, yet Green seemed thoroughly reinvigorated throughout the nine songs.  At least to my ears part of the reason this album was so great could be traced back to the fact it found Green taking a couple of tentative steps away  from his patented 'love man' imagine.  Nothing too drastic and sure there were plenty of top-notch romantic ballads ('Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)', 'I'm Hooked On You' and 'Stay With Me Forever;), but elsewhere the collection proved Green could navigate a surprisingly wide array of other genres.  His gospel roots were displayed in the stunning 'God Blessed Our Love', but far more impressive and appealing were tracks like the up tempo 'The City', his not-so-sly nod to the pleasures of life on the road ('One Nite Stand'), the doo wop-ish 'School Days' and the true soul classic 'Take Me To the River' (which was dedicated to his cousin 'Little' Junior Parker).  By the way, if you grew up with The Talking Heads' version of 'Take Me To the River' you owe yourself to hear the original.  As much as I love David Byrne and company's jittery cover, Green's original shreds it to dust.  Killer track.   

 

"Al Green Explores Your Mind" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)  (Al Green) - 3:01

Silky smooth, exquisitely sexy, and easily the most commercial song on the album, 'Sha-La-La' had an ugly history given it was the song Green was working on when former girlfriend Mary Woodson broke into his home, pouring boiling grits on Green while he was in the shower.  Green suffered severe burns, while Woodson subsequently committed suicide.  Thanks to YouTube you can see a live performances of the song on Soul Train: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjBChRG-nok   rating: ***** stars

2.) Take Me To The River  (Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 3:45

With it's heartfelt dedication to Green's late cousin 'Little' Junior Parker, there isn't a great deal to say about the blazing 'Take Me To the River' other than it's a classic tune that's been covered dozens of times, though nobody has come close to the original  Thanks to YouTube, here's another live Soul Train performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Tgm7v284JI  rating: ***** stars

3.) God Blessed Our Love  (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - E. Randle) - 3:57

Admittedly it took awhile for this ballad to kick into gear, but when Green got going ...   wonder how many people have been married to this tune ?   With green literally taking-it-to-the-church, the extended live Soul Train performance is even better than the studio version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rZAlMbiJS0    rating: **** stars

4.) The City  (Al Green - Charles Hodges) - 3:25

With a breezy, slightly jazzy feel, 'The City' wasn't as instantly enjoyable as the earlier tracks, but it was a grower that improved with each spin. In fact, my only complaint is the song wasn't long enough.   rating: *** stars

5.) One Nite Stand  (Al Green) - 2:26

I'm guessing this is one of the tunes that drove Green to abandon secular music for a couple of decades.   I imagine it was quite risque in 1974, though by today's standards it is pretty platonic.  Ever wanted to hear some funky strings ?  Well The Memphis Horns provided it on this slinky tune.  The tune would have been even better without the shrill backing singers.   rating: *** stars


(side 2)

1.) I'm Hooked On You  (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - 3:22

There simply has never been anyone who can sound as effortlessly smooth as Green and that talent has seldom come off as well as on the breezy ballad 'I'm Hooked On You'.   rating: **** stars

2.) Stay With Me Forever   (Al Green - A. Sanders)- 3:15

A rare up-tempo tune, 'Stay with Me Forever' was also surprising in that it sounded somewhat flat and uninspired.   Green sounded like he was going through the motions on this one.  rating: ** stars

3.) Hangin' On  (Al Green - M. Allen) - 4:21

Had not been for Green's fractured falsetto, 'Hangin' On' would have been one of the album's standout performances.   Even with that momentary lapse, the song was still pretty good with a nice melody, multi-tracked harmony vocals, and some interesting "plucked" strings.   rating: *** stars

4.) School Days  (Al Green) - 3:14

Ah, nostalgia ... the good old days ...   Well, they probably weren't really that good, but thankfully for many of us memory has a way of fading out the bad and focusing on the good.   One of Green's sweetest performances and another album highpoint.  Wish there was a live version of this out there somewhere.  Killer drums from Howard Grimes.     rating: ***** stars

 

As mentioned, the album spun off one of Green's bigger hits: 

 

  

 

- 1974's 'Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)' b/w 'School Days' (Hi catalog number 2274)

 

Propelled by the single the parent album hit # 15 pop continuing Green's mid-'70s chart domination.  By the way, not that a 50-something man even remembers what making out is like, but as a young person "Al Green Explores Your Mind" was one of the all time make-out albums.   Hope it retains some of that reputation in this day and age.   

 

 



Genre: soul

Rating: ***** (5 stars)

Title:  Al Green's Greatest Hits

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32089

Year: 1975

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original Hi inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5407

Price: $10.00

 

 

I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about this one.  Suffice it to say that "Al Green: Greatest Hits" stands as one of soul's classic 'best of' albums.  Capturing ten of his biggest radio hits, if you were a passing fan, or simply curious to hear what all the excitement was about this was a great place to start.  If you were a long standing fan then this album was somewhat redundant, but served as a convenient way to hear his radio friendly hits in one spot.  

 

"Al Green: Greatest Hits" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Tired of Being Alone   (Al Green) - 2:50

2.) Call Me (Come Back Home)   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 3:03

3.) I'm Still In Love with you   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 3:12

4.) Here I Am (Come and Take Me)   (Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 3:09

5.) How can You Mend a Broken Heart   (Barry Gibb - Robin Gibb) - 6:21


(side 2)

1.) Let's Stay Together   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 4:45

2.) I Can't Get Next To You   (Norman Whitfield - Barrett Strong) - 3:42

3.) You Ought To Be with Me   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 3:15

4.) Look What You Done For Me   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 3:04

5.) Let's Get Married   (Al Green) - 4:20

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Al Green Is Love

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL-32092

Year: 1975

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: original Hi inner sleeve

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5401

Price: $10.00

 

 

Showcasing another Al Green and Willie Mitchell collaboration, (with able assistance from the Hodges brothers and the Hi rhythm band) musically 1975's "Al Green Is Love" wasn't a major change in direction.  That said, it was one of Green's better mid-1970s releases.  Judging by material like 'L-O-V-E (Love)', 'Could I Be the One'' and 'I Wish You Were Here' Green's instantly recognizable silky voice and patented blend of love man ballads was in fine shape  throughout indicating he'd made a physical, though not mental recovery from a 1974 incident where ex-girlfriend Mary Woodson had thrown a pot of boiling grits on Green while he was showering - she subsequently committed suicide. That said, the collection did reflect some subtle differences from earlier releases.  The album certainly displayed Green's growing confidence as a writer - eight of the ten tracks written or co-written by Green.  Almost certainly a reflection of the earlier assault, lyrically the album was considerably darker than recent releases, underscoring Green's growing personal conflict between secular and non-secular concerns.  Sure, earlier albums had reflected similar concerns, but seldom as blatantly as 'The Love Sermon'.  Interesting, when all was said and done, the standout performances were the atypical funk workouts 'Rhymes' and 'I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher)' and the Latin flavored 'Love Ritual'.  Perhaps because they were sooooo different, these three tracks simply made you forget all about the ballads.  Elsewhere Hi tapped the album for a pair of singles in the form of: 

 

- 1975's 'L-O-V-E (Love)' b/w 'I Wish You Were Here' (Hi catalog number 5N-2282) 

- 1975's 'Oh Me, Oh My (Dreams In My Arms" b/w '' (Hi catalog number 5N-2288) 

 

Propelled in part by the singles, commercially the album continued Green's successes, hitting # 1 on the R&B charts and # 28 pop.

 

"Al Green Is Love" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) L-O-V-E (Love)   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 3:09

2.) Rhymes   (Al Green - M. Hodges) - 3:36

3.) The Love Sermon   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green - E. Randle) - 6:34

4.) There Is Love   (Willie Mitchell - Y. Mitchell) - 3:04

5.) Could I Be the One?   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green - A. Mitchell) - 4:06


(side 2)

1.) Love Ritual   (Al Green) - 4:19

2.) I Didn't Know   (Al Green) - 7:46

3.) Oh Me, Oh My (Dreams in My Arms)   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green - M. Hodges) - 2:48

4.) I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher)   (Al Green) - 2:45

5.) I Wish You Were Here   (Willie Mitchell) - 3:18

 

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Al Green's Greatest Hits Volume II

Company: Hi

Catalog: SHL 32105

Year: 1977

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID:  SOLD 5439

Price:  SOLD $8.00

 

Not much to say about this one, other than if you have "Greatest Hits, Volume 1" and this set, you've got two of soul's classic 'best of'' compilations.  There's still lots of Al Green to explore, but with these two sets you've got the majority of Green's commercial successes.  (Wow, I'd forgotten how many of these tracks guitarist Mabon Hodges had co-written.)

 

"Al Green's Greatest Hits Volume II" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Love and Happiness   (Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 5:00

2.) Sha La La (Makes Me Happy)   (Al Green) - 2:56

3.) Take Me To the River   (Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 3:43

4.) L-O-V-E (Love)   (Al Green - Mabon Hodges - Willie Mitchell) - 3:03

5.) Rhymes   (Al Green - Mabon Hodges) - 3:33


(side 2)

1.) For the God Tumes   (Kris Krisofferson) - 6:27

2.) Keep Me Cryin'   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - 3:06

3.) Livin' for You   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - 3:09

4.) Full of Fire   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell) - Mabon Hodges) - 5:12

 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Love Ritual

Company: Hi

Catalog: PS 710 

Year: 1978

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small cut out notch lower right corner; still  in shrink wrap

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5513

Price: $20.00

 

 

This one's not exactly rare, but has become surprisingly hard to locate in good condition.  Part of the explanation probably having to do with the fact it didn't sell worth squat when released ...  From a marketing perspective the album was kind of odd.  Released after Hi Records ended it's distribution agreement with London Records, it may have been a last ditch effort to squeeze a little additional cash out of Green's rapidly fading fan base.  Creatively the album was released after Green had ended his long standing partnership with producer/writer Mitchell Green and as he was rapidly losing interest in commercial releases and the accompanying popular success.  Produced by Mitchell, 1978's "Love Ritual" served as a compilation pulling together ten miscellaneous tracks from Green's mid-to-late 1970s Hi catalog,  That kind of slapdash birth wouldn't seem to bode well for the album, but this was one of the exceptions to the rule.  With Mitchell adding new mixes to a number of the songs, the set was a pleasure through and through.  Perhaps because so many of these tracks had been relegated to the 'odds and ends' bin, they showed Green in a more relaxed and experimental mode.  I'm certainly not talking Brian Eno, or Philip Glass here, but the remixed title track was easily one of the funkiest things Green ever recorded and was worth the price alone.  Equally good 'I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher)', 'Let It Shine', 'Glory Glory' and 'Something' showcasing a sterling guitar solo from Mabon Hodges.   You probably don't need the album if you owned the original studio sets, but if you didn't have them in your collection this one was well worth finding.     

 

"Love Ritual" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Love Ritual  (Al Green) - 4:18

2.) Smile a Little Bit More   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 2:51

3.) I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher)   (Al Green) - 2:45

4.) Let It Shine   (Al Green - M. Hodges) - 3:12

5.) Glory Glory   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 2:45


(side 2)

1.) Keep Me Crying   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 3:06

2.) Something   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 4:24

3.) Oh Me,Oh My (Dreams In My Arms)    (Willie Mitchell - Al Green - M Hodges) - 2:45

4.) I'm Hooked On You   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 3:19

5.) I Tried To Tell Myself   (Willie Mitchell - Al Green) - 3:24

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  Truth N' Time

Company: Hi

Catalog: HLP 6009

Year: 1978

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; small punch out hole lower right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5427

Price: $10.00

 

 

Self-produced, 1978's "Truth N' Time" found Al Green returning to a largely secular oriented sound (his last truly secular studio release for some 20 years).  In case anyone cared. of the eight tracks the only overtly religious offering was the charming 'King of All'.  To be honest stylistically the album didn't offer up any major surprises.  Green sounded in good form throughout, though occasionally a little removed from the results.  That said, slightly reserved Al Green was still better than 95% of the competition even when they were firing on all cylinders. The title track, 'King of All' and his cover of the Bacharach-David standard 'Say a Little Prayer' were all well worth hearing.  For goodness sake the man even managing to turn in a decent slice of disco-funk on 'Wait Here'.   To my ears the only real misstep was a needless cover of Lulu's 'To Sir with Love' (which for some weird reason was tapped as a single).  Dedicated to his father, Green's version was certainly heartfelt, but simply didn't add anything to the original.  The only other complaint was the fact the album was extremely short - combined, all eight tracks clocked in at under 30 minutes.  Hi tapped the album for a single in the form of:

 

 

- 1979's 'To Sir with Love' b/w 'Wait Here' (Hi catalog number 78522) # 71 R&B and # 44 R&B  

 

The single was also released in a 12" format Hi catalog number HD 78523).  Commercially the album proved a disappointment.  It hit # 44 on the R&B charts, but failed to hit the pop charts.  Shame since while not classic Green, it came darn close and served up another one of his albums that grows on you with repeated spins.  

 

"Truth N' Time" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) Blow Me Down   (Bernard Stanton - Carol Stanton) - 3:10

2.) Lo and Behold   (Fred Jordan - Bernard Stanton) - 3:15

3.) Wait Here   (Al Green - Fred Jordan - Reuben Fairfax Jr.) - 2:45

4.) To Sir with Love   (Burt Bachrach - Hal David) - 4:09


(side 2)

1.) Truth 'N Time   (Al Green) - 3:41

2.) King of All   (Bernard Stanton - Carol Stanton) - 2:23

3.) Say a Little Prayer   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) - 2:13

4.) Happy Days   (Al Green) - 5:13

 

 


Genre: soul

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Tokyo Live

Company: Motown

Catalog: 5302ML2

Year: 1980

Country/State: Forrest City, Arkansas

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: still in shrink wrap; double LP; small cut out notch along edge

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5410

Price: $20.00

 

 

A double LP, 14 track collection, "Tokyo ... Live" was recorded during a pair of June 1978 performances at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall, Tokyo during his "Belle" tour.  One of the problems with any Green live package stems from the fact he has so many classic songs to chose from that coming up with a set list that pleases everyone is simply going to be impossible.  In this case Green and company ran through an okay mixture of radio hits, lesser known tracks (a cover of Kris Kristofferson's 'For the Good Times'), and several then-new numbers ('Belle' and 'I Feel Good').  Green was in good voice throughout, occasionally talking to the audience (which seemed to know most of his catalog).  The arrangements seldom strayed far from the studio versions, though several numbers were stretched to the breaking point  eight minute renditions of  'Let's Get Married' and 'I Feel Good' really weren't necessary).  Elsewhere Green's backing band was enthusiastic, if occasionally a little distracting (particularly the female chorus and some of the fussy horn arrangements).  Highlights included a rousing 'Let's Stay Together', 'Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)' and ''.  Yeah, in case you didn't guess I tend to lean to his commercial catalog.

 

Tokyo Live" track listing:

(side 1)
1.) L-O-V-E (Love)   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Mabin Hodges) - 4:04

2.) Tired of Being Alone   (Al Green) - 5;18

3.) Let's Stay Together   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 3:15

4.) How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?    (Barry Gibb - Robin Gibb) - 3:50

5.) All 'n All   (Al Green - Shirley Green) -  2:32


(side 2)

1.) Belle   (Fred Jordan - Reuben Fairfax Jr.) - 6:24

2.) Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)   (Al Green) - 5:06

3.) Let's Get Married   (Al Green) - 8:09

 

(side 3)
1.) God Blessed our Love   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Earl Randle) - 5:38

2.) You Ought to be With Me   (Al Green - Willie Mitchell - Al Jackson) - 5:41

3.) For the Good Times   (Kris Kristofferson) - 5:29


(side 4)

1.) Dream   (Al Green) - 2:59

2.) I Feel Good   (Fred Jordan - Reuben Fairfax Jr.) - 8:20

3.) Love & Happiness   (Al Green - Mabin Hodges) - 7:24

 

I've seen the set with two alternative covers:  left to right: French pressing Cream Records (catalog 426005); US Right Stuff CD package, US Hi CD package

 

 

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