Friday, April 13, 2018

Celebrating Al Green, Soul Legend

Today is soul music legend Al Green's 72nd birthday, and to mark the occasion here at The Wild Reed I share a video of Green performing one of his most famous songs, "Love and Happiness," live on Soul Train in the early 1970s.

But first, here's a brief excerpt from an insightful 2008 piece by Matt Rogers about Al Green . . .

Like one of his idols, Sam Cooke, [Al Green] fits into the crowded pantheon of gospel and pop singers who have been tormented by the tug-of-war between church and club. It’s no secret the pulpit has informed and shaped popular music, let alone soul music, from the get-go – there is a list of singers perhaps as thick as the Bible itself who’ve crossed the pew lines and brought that sacred fire and phrasing to the land of milk and honey(s).

. . . It’s a fool’s game, certainly, but draw up your list of the greatest male pop singers, and though some may be as good – Sam, Jackie, Smokey, Marvin, Curtis – none were better than Al Green. Particularly at helping you and that special someone slip into something just a little bit more comfortable. Armed with a quiver of slinky, sensual songs that praised love, beauty and happiness, and delivered with an unmatched tenor and charisma, unmoored and siphoned from the church, Green created music that got under your skin, while your skin got under the sheets.

And here's a little of what Wikipedia says about Al Green:

Albert Leornes Greene (born April 13, 1946), often known as The Reverend Al Green, is an African American singer, songwriter and record producer, best known for recording a series of soul hit singles in the early 1970s, including "Take Me to the River," "Tired of Being Alone", "I'm Still in Love with You," "Love and Happiness", and his signature song, "Let's Stay Together."

Inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, Green was referred to on the museum's site as being "one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music." He has also been referred to as "The Last of the Great Soul Singers." Green was included in the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, ranking at No. 65.

Related Off-site Links:
Al Green: One of the Refiners of American Soul Music – Farida Dawkins (Face 2 Face Africa, April 13, 2018).
Seven of Al Green's Greatest SongsSmooth Radio (April 10, 2018).
Al Green Strives for Perfection – Matt Rogers (Wax Poetics, 2008).
The Gospel According to Albert Green – Atomic Cafe (August 4, 2011).
Al Green's Journey to Glory: "What I Learned . . ." (April 13, 2018).

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