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Al Green Back to Memphis Soul

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The legendary soul singer returns to secular soul this fall – he is recording an album in Memphis with Willie Mitchell:

    “I Can’t Stop” finds Al Green repeating history. He has again teamed with legendary production mate Willie Mitchell, and the album is being recorded at the pair’s old stomping grounds, Memphis’ Royal Studio. Green is even recording with the same mic he used in the ’70s.

    The album also marks a couple of firsts. Green is now signed to Blue Note. And his work in progress has the jazz-oriented label stretching into R&B. “I Can’t Stop” is due Nov. 18. Its impending debut pushes the release of the four-CD EMI package “Al Green: The Immortal Soul of …” to early 2004. [Billboard]

No one deserves the royal comeback treatment more than the Reverend Al, and I am very excited to hear what he comes up with Mitchell, who helped construct Green’s immortal sound of the ’70s.

I recently paid tribute to Green:

    Born the youngest of ten children to deeply religious Arkansas sharecroppers, Green was the last of the great southern soul singers, creating a spare, sexy, spiritual sound out of simple yet elegant production (by Willie Mitchell) and a classic Memphis soul band in the Stax/Volt tradition almost ten years after the sound had peaked.

    They say “Al Green is love,” and His Greatest Hits makes gloriously clear the relationship for Green between romantic love and love of God, that others, including Prince, have pursued with much less success. Recorded between ’71 and ’75, Green had an amazing run of hits written alone or with Mitchell including “Let’s Stay Together,” “Tired of Being Alone,” “I’m Still In Love With You,” “Here I Am (Come and Take Me),” “Call Me,” and a stunning version of the Bee Gees’ “How Can You Mend a Broken Heart.”

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About Eric Olsen

  • Will

    I saw Al Green at the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Friday. He described his new album as, and I quote, “burnin’ ass.” Talk about mixing the sacred with the profane. He gave a great performance once he “shook out the cobwebs.”

  • Eric Olsen

    Excellent to hear Will, thanks! I really look forward to hearing the new album.

  • empee

    i was there during the recording of al’s new album.. it is truly a great album. it is like they jumped in a time machine and travelled back to 1974!!! another classic!!

  • Eric Olsen

    Thanks Empee, very excited to hear it!

  • http://macaronies.blogspot.com Mac Diva

    Eric says:

    “They say “Al Green is love,” and His Greatest Hits makes gloriously clear the relationship for Green between romantic love and love of God. . . .”

    The song that most captures that for me is “Belle.” In it, the rev is explaining he needs both kinds of love, but ultimately priority goes to God. I am not religious at all, but I love that song.

  • JR

    I picked up “I Can’t Stop” last week. After a couple of listens, nothing jumps out as a hit song on the order of “Let’s Stay Together”, but it’s solid material all the way through. Soundwise it’s fantastic. It really, REALLY sounds like a return to the ’70s sound – if I didn’t know better I’d think it was a remaster of some R&B classic. I’m not too familiar with Al Green’s work, but this sounds like a great singer at the top of his game.

  • Eric Olsen

    I feel about the same way, will be reviewing soon

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Let the church say amen: Al Green takes me to heaven whether he croons, growls, or wails something spiritual or secular. God, can that man sing; he has a gorgeous instrument, and wow, he knows how to use it.

  • http://www.hollywoodprize.com/Contests/2005/AlGreenSweeps.php Joe Michaels

    Starting today (11/30/05) until Christmas Day (11/25/05), there is the Al Green 4 CD Box Giveway distributed by Hi Records/The Right Stuff Sweepstakes Contest. ONE (1) GRAND PRIZE WINNER, chosen at random, will receive the 4 CD Box set called “The Immortal Soul of Al Green”. FIVE (5) SECOND PLACE winners will be given their choice of one Al Green CD from those currently being offered for sale on HiRecords.com. One entry per person. 18+ USA Canada only.