We're Still In Love With Al Green

Al Green performs during the 2009 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. i i

Al Green performs during the 2009 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Sean Gardner/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Al Green performs during the 2009 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Al Green performs during the 2009 Essence Music Festival at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Arguably the pre-eminent male soul singer of the 20th century, Arkansas-born Al Green shot to fame in the 1970s on a string of deeply Southern, arch-soulful hits in collaboration with Memphis producer Willie Mitchell like "Let's Stay Together" and "I'm Glad You're Mine." When the hits dried up, he become ordained as a minister, and in the late 1980s, he made a poignant return to secular music. Beyond his timeless brilliance as a pop songwriter, and despite years of troubling domestic problems, Al Green's peerless voice rises to the surface: ranging from a suffocated silken warble to a gritty sandpaper shout, his trademark singing is memorialized on five decades of recordings that are by turns interior and raucous, delicate and gutbucket-funky. Happy birthday, Rev.

You can always hear more Al Green on NPR's R&B and Soul music channel, I'll Take You There.

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