BACK TO BLACK - AL GREEN, NEW YORK 1972

January 31, 2009 – 4:32 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

AL GREEN
The Gospel Of Love [no label, 1CD]

Live on Soul! TV, WNET Studios, New York, 1972. (The artwork lists 1973). Very good broadcast quality.

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. As for The Carpenters’ We’ve Only Just Begun, just call it sweet soul music.

These tracks are no longer available for sharing. 01. Intro
02. Tired Of Being Alone
03. Look What You Done For Me
04. How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
05. I’m Still In Love With You
06. Judy
07. You Ought To Be With Me
08. Love And Happiness
09. We’ve Only Just Begun/Let’s Stay Together

Click on the link to order Al Green albums.

  1. One Response to “BACK TO BLACK - AL GREEN, NEW YORK 1972”

  2. Al Green. Now they say “Gravitas”. Back then, it was “He’s the MAN!” He took the Bee Gee’s How do you mend a broken heart? and the Carpenters’ We’ve Only Just Begun and didnt just make them his own. He discarded any triteness, if that were a word, and acknowledged the sincerity of the writing. But he took the gold remaining and fashioned them into receptacles of the SOUL of a people that had “just begun” to “mend their broken hearts”. Al Green went on to partner with the One who is the Great Physician, who is King of mending broken hearts for all people, Who anxiously awaits that all souls would long for Him. God bless you, Mr. Green.

    By 2yrsnojob on Sep 9, 2010

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