Al Green -The Soul Doctor & More

Al Green – Widely renowned as one of the greatest voices in soul-music history. Not only is he charismatic, but he has a voice that can take you to church and other places. Performing live, he has the confidence and charisma that can make women go crazy sometimes just by singing one note. 

Definitely a master of swag especially when performing live. Besides his amazing voice, he always had top-notch musicians backing him up. He’s a class act that has made an impact on the world while touching the lives of so many people.  

The Early Years

Although he’s born in Arkansas in 1946 shortly after the family moves to Grand Rapids Detroit. Furthermore, he sang in a gospel quartet as the Greene Brothers, a family quartet called the Greene Brothers that toured extensively. Which at the time didn’t leave much time for anything else. Since his parents thought pop music is the devil’s music, the family isn’t allowed to listen to it. But did this stop Albert from listening to it? Nope, he would sneak down to the local record store and check out his favorite music idols.

Which includes James Brown, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, and Elvis. In the early sixties, Al and a couple of friends form the Creations, which later becomes Al Greene and the Soul Mates. One thing leads to another, and they have a hit “Back Up Train,” which brings them to a successful appearance at New York City’s Apollo Theater. After the Soul Mates fail to capitalize on their one hit, the group breaks up and Al Green starts out on his own. It’s at this time that he decides to drop the final “e” from his last name. 

His Career Starts to Take off

In 1968, while on the road in Texas, Green opens for producer Willie Mitchell. Impressed with what he heard, Mitchell signs Green to Hi Records of Memphis, Tennessee in 1969. Which, turns out to be a lucrative partnership. The result? Mitchell produces Green’s recordings and co-writes material with him for the next eight years. It’s an association that yields high-quality albums (such as I’m Still in Love With You, 1972 and Call Me, 1973), as well as thirteen Top 40 hits that helps to keep the sound of soul pure and alive in the Seventies.

Coming Around Full Circle – Gospel Music

It’s 1977 and although Al Green is still creating soul music, with mixed reviews from the critics. As well as personal issues, he realizes that he’s at crossroads in his life. After falling from a stage while touring, he takes this as a sign. Changing his career, he comes full circle and starts to put his energy into being a pastor at his church and gospel music.

From 1981 to 1989 Green records a series of gospel albums. While still under contract with Hi Records, Green releases the 1980 album, “The Lord Will Make a Way”. His first of six albums on the Christian label Myrrh Records. Later Green wins his first of eight Grammy Awards in the “Best Soul Gospel Performance category”.

In 1984, director Robert Mugge releases a documentary film, “Gospel According to Al Green”, including interviews about his life and footage from his church. In 1985, he reunites with Willie Mitchell along with Angelo Earl for “He Is the Light”, his first album for A&M Records. His 1987 follow-up, “Soul Survivor”, features the minor hit, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, which reaches number 22 on the Billboard R&B chart, his first top 40 R&B hit since “I Feel Good” in 1978.  

Returning to Secular Music Again

Returning to secular music once again, Green performs a duet with Annie Lennox for the movie Scrooged. Only to find him having a top ten pop hit since 1974. Shortly after in 1989, he had a hit with the track ‘The Message is Love” with Artur baker. With the best of both music worlds and Baker on board, he releases “Don’t Look Back”.  A duet with Lyle Lovett gives him his ninth Grammy award.

1995 brings an added bonus with his release of Your Heart’s in Good Hands happens. Green is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. While 2018, Al Green releases his first new recording in almost over ten years, “Before the Next Teardrop Falls,” previously popular by Freddy Fender. So, as you can see, Al is doing quite well for himself and with his music. 

Furthermore, be sure, to check out the other blog posts: https://jbonamassa.com/category/blog

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