AL GREEN - DENMARK 1999

October 23, 2019 – 8:15 am

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AL GREEN
Denmark 1999 [no label, 1CD]

Roskilde Festival. Roskilde, Denmark; July 4, 1999. Very good soundboard.

While R&B might have wandered off from its roots from time to time, one of its key proponents who has stayed with its gospel foundations is Al Green. Even then, Green was more secular than religious when he achieved commercial success in the early ’70s. But the reverend found religion again after his girlfriend killed herself in 1974.

Al Green was a real contender. As Peter Guralnick pointed out, “Al Green had a run of success unprecedented in Memphis, or perhaps in all Southern soul music history.”

“Drawing on his gospel roots,” critic Craig Werner wrote, “Green forged a distinctive style that combined characteristics of Stax and Motown. Gospel music historian Anthony Heilbut once observed that on his first major hit, a cover of the Temptations’ I Can’t Get Next To You, Green sang in ‘three voices - a limpid falsetto, a streetwise crooner, a growling preacher.’ Although Green spent hundreds of hours perfecting his vocals on individual songs, each performance felt spontaneous.

“As rock critic Robert Christgau commented, ‘The miracle is that once you’re aware of this contradiction, it disappears. Fabricated or improvised? You can’t tell, and it doesn’t matter - he seems to inhabit a state of late-night hyperconsciousness in which obsessive calculation and unmoored inspiration meet on the other side of the moon’.”

With a hint of Marvin Gaye in his vocals (though Green would rather associate more with Sam Cooke), this show was recorded when Green was at his peak. For those who have ever wondered how a soul man would tackle the Bee Gees’ How Can You Mend A Broken Heart, you need look no further. It’s gut wrenching, to say the least.

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Among those who covered Al Green’s 1974 song, Take Me To The River, were Talking Heads - the song appeared on More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978). In the liner notes for Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads, singer David Byrne writes: “Coincidence or conspiracy? There were at least four cover versions of this song out at the same time: Foghat, Bryan Ferry, Levon Helm, and us. More money for Mr Green’s full gospel tabernacle church, I suppose. A song that combines teenage lust with baptism. Not equates, you understand, but throws them in the same stew, at least. A potent blend. All praise the mighty spurtin’ Jesus.”

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Thanks to hawkwind for sharing the show at Dime.

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Track 01. intro 0:55
Track 02. L-O-V-E/Falling In Love (In The Holy Name Of Jesus) 7:08
Track 03. He’s Coming Back 4:57
Track 04. Jesus Will Fix It For You 3:58
Track 05. band intro 0:54
Track 06. Let’s Stay Together 6:19
Track 07. Call Me (Come Back Home) 2:50
Track 08. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart 5:32
Track 09. Take Me To The River 9:33
Track 10. Medley 6:26
Track 11. Love & Happiness 6:57
56 mins

Click here to order Al Green releases.

  1. 3 Responses to “AL GREEN - DENMARK 1999”

  2. Rumor has it Al gots a Big Un

    By U L E on Oct 23, 2019

  3. Of course

    By U L E on Oct 23, 2019

  4. Great performer, great show, great sound quality!

    By Mark on Oct 23, 2019

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