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£6.48

Soul - Released October 23, 1972 | Fat Possum

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Soul - Released November 24, 2014 | Fat Possum

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Soul - Released September 19, 1975 | Fat Possum

In a short time, Al Green became a premier singer in R&B and pop. With songs like "Look What You've Done for Me" and "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," among many others, Green and producer Willie Mitchell refined the sounds of each genre. As Al Green Explores Your Mind was the peak of Green's insouciance, Al Green Is Love finds a starker reality -- the majority of the tracks here are ruminative but not always coherent. The first track, the propulsive "L-O-V-E (Love)," would be even more believable if Green didn't sound so ambivalent. Other up-tempo tracks, "I Gotta Be More" and "Rhymes," are edgy and dark, with great riffs from guitarist Mabon Hodges. The heart of Al Green Is Love is the ballads, though Green's not very happy, and those looking for heartwarming thoughts on romance won't find it here. "The Love Sermon" and, even better, "I Didn't Know" are spare, dirge-like songs that give Green great opportunities to turn in raw and emotional performances. "I Wish You Were Here" and "Could I Be the One" have producer Willie Mitchell offering suitably bleak arrangements to go with Green's airy vocals. The best track here, "There Is Love," strikes a balance between the customary production grace and the album's pervading sorrow. Al Green Is Love might be too depressing for some, but his fans will find Green's truthfulness appealing and some of the songs among his best. ~ Jason Elias
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R&B - Released July 12, 2005 | Arista - Legacy

Nearly forgotten by all but serious soul fans, Back Up Train is Al Green's debut. Released in 1967, when he was still billed as "Al Greene" and before he worked with producer Willie Mitchell, the record is a perfectly serviceable slice of slightly sweet period soul -- perhaps a little generic, but never less than pleasant. Much of the record was either written or co-written by the album's producers, Palmer E. James and Curtis Rodgers, who were not just part of Hot Line Records, but in the Creations, Green's previous backing band. Though they're fine as producers, they didn't have strong material as songwriters, never producing something as limber and memorable as Green's lone songwriting credit, "Stop and Check Myself." Musically, this number, along with a few other cuts, suggest the tight, sexy sound of his seminal Hi albums, but they're nowhere near as seductive as those slow grooves, nor are they as effortless. Still, it's possible to hear their roots throughout the record. Green's voice, while not as smooth as it would be just a few years later, shows enormous talent, he's equally comfortable with ballads and funky workouts, and the production, while dated, is quite appealing in how it falls somewhere between the grit of Memphis and the sweetness of Chicago soul. Back Up Train is good enough that if Green hadn't gone on to greater work, this would be the kind of record soul fanatics would treasure and trade, speculating on what might have happened if Green had been given another shot. Of course, Green went on to bigger, better things, and this stands as no more than a footnote to his career, but it's an interesting, enjoyable footnote all the same. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released January 1, 1994 | A&M Records

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R&B - Released January 1, 2008 | Blue Note Records

The big question that greets listeners encountering Al Green's third Blue Note album, Lay It Down, is: what happens when you put that amazing soul-drenched voice in the hands of hip-hop producers Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of the Roots and James Poyser, and add a slew of superstar guests? Answer: a killer Al Green soul album. Thompson and Poyser weren't interested in straying far from the classic sound Green and producer Willie Mitchell created at Hi Records in the 1970s, but they did want to place it in a more contemporary -- albeit analog -- setting. Green cut his previous offerings for the label -- 2003's I Can't Stop and 2005's Everything's OK -- with Mitchell, and the results were good, not great, albums because Green's sound was simply re-created nostalgically. Even though Thompson and Poyser have been very creative here with their nuanced percussive, textural, and dynamic touches, Lay It Down is more of a classic-sounding Al Green record than either of its predecessors. The producers are at the core of a studio band (on drums and various analog keyboards, respectively) that also includes Mighty Clouds of Joy guitarist Chalmers "Spanky" Alford (in whose memory the album is dedicated), bassist Adam Blackstone (Jill Scott), and the Dap-Kings Horns. Lay It Down is a slow-burning, solid groover of a soul record; its dynamics and textures shift subtly and purposely to keep Green's voice at the center of its sound. If there is a flaw on the set, it's that individual tracks don't assert themselves immediately. Green, Poyser, and Thompson were going for immediacy and feel: nine of the album's 11 cuts had basic tracks done in their first session. They achieved their goal and then some -- the album feels of such an atmospheric piece and is so present that it initially comes off as a whole. That said, there is no better place to spend 45 minutes than in Lay It Down's dreamy, sensual, gritty, and tender sound world. ~ Thom Jurek
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Soul - Released March 23, 2015 | Fat Possum

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R&B - Released July 15, 1999 | Arista

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R&B - Released May 29, 1975 | Fat Possum

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Soul - Released March 9, 2018 | Fat Possum

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Blues - Released March 27, 2018 | Vintage Jukebox

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R&B - Released December 1, 2016 | Fat Possum

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Soul - Released August 14, 1971 | Fat Possum

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R&B - Released December 1, 2016 | Fat Possum

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R&B - Released December 1, 2016 | Fat Possum

£6.48

Soul - Released October 2, 1974 | Fat Possum

£7.99

R&B - Released December 1, 2016 | Fat Possum

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Soul - Released September 18, 2015 | Fat Possum

£6.48

R&B - Released December 1, 2016 | Fat Possum

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R&B - Released December 1, 2016 | Fat Possum