Rev Al Green - Everything's OK

Published Friday 2nd December 2005
Rev Al Green - Everything's OK

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 7 7 7 7 7 7 7
LABEL: Blue Note 724387458420

Reviewed by Darren Hirst

Al Green. I saw him in concert twice this summer. The first at the Royal Albert Hall. Walking round town in my Al Green Live T-shirt was an interesting experience. Aging soul fans, aging rock fans, younger music fans all wanting to know how old that T-shirt was. The older ones had lost touch with him in the mid-'70 (that long ago!) before his 'The Belle Album', the younger ones discovered him in their parent's record collection (old vinyl, no shirt on the cover, said everyone). Where is he now? The Reverend Al Green (that's what it says on the new CD) played a UK tour. Second time, I saw him at Hammersmith (free tickets, guest list!) I'd begun to be more interested in this CD. Produced by Willie Mitchell who worked on all the classic Green albums for Hi Records that you'll find listed in the "must listen" section of every pop reference book but who had only produced one album for him since 1980. The new tour featured no songs from this new disc and only one from the previous collaboration, the title track "I Can't Stop" which was used as a show opener. Al did "Amazing Grace". Al did "Nearer My God To Thee". Al did "Tired Of Being Alone". Al did "Let's Stay Together" but he did nothing from 'Everything's Okay'. Why? Doesn't he like it? Isn't it any good? The reunion with Mitchell began in 2001. Nervously at first, Green wanted to do his new songs, Mitchell would only do them if the words Jesus and God were nowhere to be found on the lyric sheet. Most Christian singers would have walked away but Green is made of more mature stuff as befits his age and experience. He sings to his Creator as "You". On this disc the only direct personal reference to the name of a deity becomes g*d. Al has a sense of humour too. But is it any good? Well, it is exactly what it says on the booklet. Everything is okay. Not outstanding. Just okay. Some of the songs are really just extended jams, not really fully developed songs. "I Wanna Hold You" and "I Can Make Music" really don't go anywhere. "Perfect To Me" and "Real Love" are the best crafted songs. The voice and Mitchell's arrangements are as good as ever. These things haven't faded with age. But in truth this is interchangeable with any other Al Green album you might buy. The older albums have the hits - this one doesn't. If you only want one Al Green album, there really is no reason why this should be the one.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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