Video Birthday Tribute – Al Green

“When I got Al Green, everybody else was hot…And I was looking for another sound to get away from all of that.  I said ‘OK, I’m going to give him some jazz chords and see how he works with this’. I got him some Charlie Parker records.”Willie Mitchell

Al Green is one of the greatest singers alive. Period. Be it Soul, R n’ B or Gospel, Reverend Green is still better now, in the Autumn of his career, than most cats have been on their best day.

Al Green hit his stride after meeting Willie Mitchell in Texas in the late ’60’s. Mitchell had been a moderately successful trumpet player/bandleader.   But when Green’s voice and Mitchell’s production came together, the results were breathtaking.

Mitchell taught Green to approach Soul singing with the cool of Ellington, rather than the grit of say, Otis Redding “I tried to get a top on the music that was pleasant” said Mr. Mitchell. It was a sound like no one else and the public sopped it up like it was sweet molasses on a fluffy biscuit.

Rev. Green still epitomizes a unique brand of Southern Soul, with a little jazz cool on the side. It’s no accident that President Obama chose “Let’s Stay Together” for the public debut of his vocal prowess.  I’ve been a Green fan ever since my early teen years, when my mother would play his version of “For The Good Times” over and over again. However, I moved past that track (which is one of my least favorite Green performances), on the I’m Still in Love With You album and dug “Love and Happiness”; “I’m Glad You’re Mine” and “Simply Beautiful”.

Yesterday, April 13, Reverend Al Green turned 66 years old.  Many have come along since him, but still none can match him.  I hope that you dig these clips of a master, practicing his craft.

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