Album: The Reverend Al Green

Everything's OK, BLUE NOTE
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The Independent Culture

Al Green's second Blue Note reunion with his Seventies producer Willie Mitchell is an improvement on 2003's I Can't Stop. Now calling himself The Reverend Al Green even on his soul albums, in an attempt to dissolve the conflict between his gospel and secular selves, Green seems more relaxed and open this time around, less desperate to convince us of his emotional engagement with the songs. The result is a likeable collection on which his trademark ecstatic squeal is rationed out a little more tightly than before, and the captivating spirit of those classic old Hi Records releases courses more freely through songs such as "Build Me Up" and "Nobody But You", two of several potential singles. Another would be the smart, strutting "Be My Baby" (not the Ronettes hit), which features an alto-sax break of admirable tautness. Less successful is the album's only cover, a routine run through "You Are So Beautiful" that is certainly no match for Joe Cocker's version. Apart from "I Can Make Music", which u

Al Green's second Blue Note reunion with his Seventies producer Willie Mitchell is an improvement on 2003's I Can't Stop. Now calling himself The Reverend Al Green even on his soul albums, in an attempt to dissolve the conflict between his gospel and secular selves, Green seems more relaxed and open this time around, less desperate to convince us of his emotional engagement with the songs. The result is a likeable collection on which his trademark ecstatic squeal is rationed out a little more tightly than before, and the captivating spirit of those classic old Hi Records releases courses more freely through songs such as "Build Me Up" and "Nobody But You", two of several potential singles. Another would be the smart, strutting "Be My Baby" (not the Ronettes hit), which features an alto-sax break of admirable tautness. Less successful is the album's only cover, a routine run through "You Are So Beautiful" that is certainly no match for Joe Cocker's version. Apart from "I Can Make Music", which utilises a predatory funk groove, Willie Mitchell's arrangements cleave as closely as possible to his 1970s formula, with a commendable lack of clutter - although they do rather lack the peculiar enervated quality of those classic grooves.

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