Sunday, June 14, 2015
"I'm Still In Love With You" by Al Green (October, 1972)
This album brings back memories. I didn't have the record back in the day, but some of the songs were radio staples, and the sound is so typical of early seventies soul that it was everywhere, whether performed by Green or his contemporaries. It topped the Billboard R&B chart, and hit #4 on the Billboard Top 200.
Al Green has this smooth, classic soul voice, and the songs are perfect for his vocal stylings. The title song, for example, is everything you need to know about soul love songs in 1972 wrapped into one tight little package: not too deep, not too poetic, but loaded with emotion and, well, soul. The other hit, "Look What You Done For Me," is, not surprisingly, a radio-friendly love song punctuated by those early seventies horns and a soft and gentle groove. The second song on the record, "I'm Glad You're Mine," isn't one of the stronger songs, but it still has this cool funky groove that you don't always hear on a ballad, a little reminiscent of Sly Stone. Even Roy Orbison's "Oh, Pretty Woman," gets a groovy soul update that works pretty well. And who knew that the other cover on the album, Kris Kristofferson's "For The Good Times," could be so soulful? But then, Ray Charles already showed us how full of soul a country song could be.
The album is full of songs created in that vein, with Green delivering easy soulful ballads full of his smooth singing and tight, emotional squeals. There;s a sameness (or a unity, if you prefer) that makes the songs flow together, with nothing that jumps out and spoils the mood that the record creates. Typical of this genre, the songs aren't as much about the music or lyrics as they are the vocal stylings, the singing and the little sounds--the squeals and growls and moans--that create the feeling that the songs are trying to convey. At his best, Green was a master of the soul delivery.
If you like your soul on the softer side, or if you're just in The Mood, put this one on. It's such a cool, mostly mellow album full of gentle soul funk. It sounds like sleeping in with your honey late on a Sunday morning.
The album art should have been Al Green sitting on a bed, rather than him alone in a chair. It would have been a lot more fitting for these sexy 35 minutes.
The album never drifts away from the 70's sexy-time soul style, which makes it very cohesive. If you like one song, you'll like them all. However, there were still a couple songs that stood out to me. "Love and Happiness" has a really nice beat and groove. "Simply Beautiful" is extra soft and extra sexy, like he is whispering right into the girl's ear that he's singing to. And of course, his twist on the Roy Orbison classic "Oh, Pretty Woman" is a highlight and is very fitting for this album. And like I said, if you like one song, you'll like them all. There isn't a song on here that I didn't enjoy.
I've never gotten into Al Green before this, and I'm kind of disappointed in myself for it. I see this specific LP at an antique store that I frequent whenever I am in the mood to shop for old used records. For whatever reason, I notice it every time I am sifting through the records, and now I realize that I should finally pick it up since it's always caught my eye, now that I know it catches my ear too.