Al Green | The Best of the Gospel Sessions

Album Review: Al Green | The Best of the Gospel Sessions

By Peggy Oliver
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.
Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene

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