So I'm sitting here at the laptop, listening to Al Green sing "Call Me (Come Back Home)" and "Look What You Done for Me" on the built-in CD player. A family member is behind me cooking up turkey wings and mashed potatoes in the kitchen and chiming in with the occasional "Yeah, yer right!" when the song gets good to her. It suddenly occurs to me that this is one man who doesn't need hype.
It almost feels clichéd to point out just how much of an outstanding influence Green has had, not just on R&B and pop music but on pop culture as well. In the 30-odd years since "Let's Stay Together" oozed out of east Memphis like honey, it has become all things to all people -- Al Green's signature tune, an overexposed soul classic and a definitive love song. It's also the song most white people pull out of their asses when asked to name their favorite R&B track.
And even though he has dropped out of the secular-music swing of things and become a man of the cloth, and has yet to recapture his Hi Records prime, he's still a man with a legacy, a legacy he doesn't mind reliving and sharing with audiences. (For a refresher course on that, pick up the remarkable boxed set The Right Stuff.)
Hell, there's a good chance many of you were conceived while Al Green -- the lord of all babymakers (Barry White and Marvin Gaye and the quiet-storm crowd not excepted) -- was singing in the background. In a way, you owe it to Green to show up at one of his concerts during your lifetime and give the man some damn props. You might owe him your very existence, so make it now!
As somebody once said, there cannot be a world with too much Al Green, and he's been gone too long from Houston.
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