SOUNDS: Al Green @ BB King’s 10/16 & 17

From the BB King’s site: With his incomparable voice, full of falsetto swoops and nuanced turns of phrase, Al Green rose to prominence in the Seventies. One of the most gifted purveyors of soul music, Green has sold more than 20 million records. During 1972 and 1973, he placed six consecutive singles in the Top Ten: “Let’s Stay Together,” “Look What You Done for Me,” “I’m Still in Love With You,” “You Ought to Be With Me,” “Call Me” and “Here I Am (Come and Take Me).” “Let’s Stay Together” topped the pop chart for one week and the R&B charts for nine; it was also revived with great success by Tina Turner in 1984. In terms of popularity and artistry, Green was the top male soul singer in the world, voluntarily ending his reign with a move from secular to gospel music in 1979.

Beyond his chart-making abilities, Green set a new standard for soul music and essentially created a new kind of soul – one that combined the gritty, down-home sensibility of the Memphis based Stax-Volt sound with the polished, sweeter delivery of Motown. Over a fat, funky bottom, Green’s subtle and inventive voice would soar into falsetto range with beguiling ease. His finest recordings showcase a penchant for jazzy filigree and soulful possession rivaled by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. They also are the products of teamwork, as Green benefited immensely from a longstanding association with producer Willie Mitchell and the house band at Hi Records.

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