Al Green | The Best of the Gospel Sessions
Album Review: Al Green | The Best of the Gospel Sessions
By Peggy Oliver
From Billboard Magazine’s ranking as one of the top one-hundred Greatest Artists of All Time to being inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Al Green fully deserves all of those props for his overall contributions to popular music culture. Many classic soul connoisseurs know him for his caressing and strong pipes on “Let’s Stay Together,” “Tired of Being Alone” and other hits for the Memphis based Hi Records guided by producer and engineer Willie Mitchell. As a southern soul stylist who had a respectable run throughout the late sixties and the seventies, Green charted several number one soul/R&B albums. But it was his gospel catalog that finally brought him Grammy Award recognition – winning eight Grammy’s in all.
While dedicating himself to gospel during the eighties, Green racked up a few fairly successful albums – five which charted in the top twenty and a top twenty-five single “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” for Myrrh, The Right Stuff, A&M and Word Records. He even reunited with Mitchell in 1985 for He Is The Light. Green eventually returned to his original bread and butter in the early nineties; occasionally crossing over into country, pop and neo-soul. Yet he has not recorded a full gospel project since. However, that is not to forget that Green’s gospel contributions were significant enough to receive an induction into The Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Best of the Gospel Sessions is the latest Green gospel compilation that presents a healthy menu of traditional and contemporary styles. Of course, Green’s biggest gospel single to this day, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” is on the bill with its funky mid-tempo grooves. Green shows his obvious affection for gospel legend -- Thomas Dorsey -- with three selections (two arranged by Green): “No Not One,” “The Lord Will Make A Way” and “None But The Righteous”. “Hallelujah (I Just Want to Praise the Lord),” co-written by Green, is unapologetic, Sunday morning southern-fried church. “Power” is vintage Green with heavenly southern soul topped by the Memphis Horns and Strings with Mitchell at the production helm.
It has been awhile since a Green gospel compilation has been released. That said, The Best of the Gospel Sessions is another reminder of Green’s remarkable and timeless talents to the music industry.
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