Results for Al Green

specials

Remembering Prince

Prince Remembered

"Life is just a party, and parties weren't meant to last." Yet the party ended much too soon for music legend Prince, who died on April 21 at the age of 57 at his Paisley Park home and recording studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota. Volumes have been said about the late Prince Rogers Nelson in the past week, but Jim and Greg draw attention to aspects of his music and career that aren't acknowledged enough. Growing out of the Minneapolis funk scene, Prince refused to be boxed into a single genre, fearlessly blending funk, pop, rock, soul, new wave, and R&B to create a sound all his own. He was known as a guitar god, but could really play any instrument he touched and often was the only musician on his recordings. Prince carried on the Marvin Gaye and Al Green tradition in R&B of mixing the sacred and the profane, sex and salvation. On records like The Black Album, he created some of the most lascivious music ever, but at the same time, Jim and Greg argue he showed a deep respect for women. Not only did he mentor and collaborate with up-and-coming female stars, but he also was eager to help out his idols like Chaka Khan and Mavis Staples.

Prince was unafraid to explore psychedelia, especially in the crucial three album run of Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, and Parade in the mid-80s. He spent the rest of his life toiling away at Paisley Park, churning out recording after recording – not without quality control issues. But in the past couple decades, Prince was defined by his unpredictable and often transcendent live performances. Prince was ahead of his time in recognizing the internet as a way to sell music directly to his fans without a label. But his greatest legacy will of course be his music, and his influence on generations of artists is immeasurable.

Go to episode 544
classic album dissections
The Belle AlbumThe Belle Album available on iTunes

Al Green The Belle Album

Al Green is known for archetypal soul hits like "Love & Happiness," "Let's Stay Together," and "I'm So Tired of Being Alone." But, while Al's songs are known around the world, the man himself is a bit of an enigma. To get a better sense of who Al Green is, Jim and Greg sat down with Jimmy McDonough, author of a new biography called Soul Survivor.

They also unpack a lesser known album from Al Green's catalogue: The Belle Album. The album, released in 1977, came out at a crucial period in Green's life. He had just left a lucrative career in soul music for the ministry. The album was his first gospel album, one that blended funk, disco, and according to Jim, even elements of punk. It was also Al's first dip into self-producing an album. His previous work had been produced by the legendary Willie Mitchell at Hi Records in Memphis. The album with its rough, almost garage-gospel sound is an outlier among Green's earlier works. The Belle Album means a lot to both Jim and Greg. Greg calls it "a transitional album that was also a masterpiece."

Go to episode 625
reviews
Lay It DownLay It Down available on iTunes

Al Green Lay It Down

Lay It Down is the latest release from Reverend Al Green. The Memphis-based soul singer collaborated with Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of The Roots for the album, which also features guest spots from Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae. Jim notes that Green could sing the phone book and make it compelling… and his lyrics are about as interesting as that. He's trying to sing love songs, but whether they are about earthly or divine love is unclear. Greg agrees that the material is not very strong, but Green's amazing voice overcomes it. Both Jim and Greg think Lay It Down is worth a listen and give the album a Try It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 130
The GreatestThe Greatest available on iTunes

Cat Power The Greatest

Both albums reviewed this week are independent label releases. The first is by Chan Marshall, better known as Cat Power. A much-hyped indie darling for some time now, Cat Power just released her fourth full length album, The Greatest, on the Matador label. Our critics ponder whether it was appropriately named. According to Jim—not at all. Frankly, he hates it. He has never been a Cat Power fan, however, and doesn‘t understand the appeal of Marshall’s albums nor her onstage antics. Greg agrees that The Greatest is not, in fact, the greatest. But he does not think it's a "Trash It" album. He believes it's worth listening to for the fantastic Memphis Rhythm Band's appearance alone. Steve Potts, Flick Hodges and Teenie Hodges, who worked with Al Green, provide a wonderful backing for Marshall's sultry voice. The result is a "Burn It" for Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 9
dijs

Greg

“Take Me to the River”Al Green

On this latest trip to the Desert Island Jukebox, Greg is eager to pay tribute to unsung Memphis music legend, Mabon Lewis Hodges, also known as“Teenie.”Hodges passed away at the age of 68 last month only a few weeks after Greg sat in on a recording session with him in Tennessee. Hodges was a dynamic rhythm and lead guitarist whose best work was done with Al Green in the 1970's. The pair co-wrote the songs "Take Me to the River" and "Love and Happiness," with the latter featuring an unforgettable guitar rift (and countdown) from Hodges right up top. Green credits Hodges for the song's slow burn sound which he likened to a fever, one that only gets hotter and hotter as Hodge's guitar and Green's vocals glide along. In Hodge's honor, Greg cues up 1977's "Love and Happiness."

Go to episode 454

Greg

“He's My Son (Just the Same)”O.V. Wright

This week, Greg takes us to the Desert Island and chooses a classic deep soul record for the jukebox by O.V. Wright. Though the Memphis vocalist never achieved mainstream success in his short life, Greg thinks he is one of the "greatest soul singers of all time."

O.V. Wright had a“lot of experiences with heartache and disappointment”according to Greg. Those experiences helped color his work, including his excellent album Memphis Unlimited, released in 1973. Produced by Willie Mitchell (who most famously worked with Al Green), the album features Greg's desert island jukebox pick "He's My Son (Just the Same)". The song is about a man who came out of prison to find his wife had a child by his own brother. The anguish and the forgiveness communicated through O.V. Wright's performance is "heartbreaking and beautiful."

Go to episode 621
lists

“I Want You Back”for Valentine's Day

When candy, flowers, and love notes fail to woo your sweetie back, there's only one thing left to do: stake out under a window, hold up that boom box and blast an“I Want You Back”song. This Valentine's Day, Jim and Greg present their favorite Pleading Songs.

Go to episode 376

Tearjerkers: Songs That Make You Cry

Feel a lump in your throat? Go ahead and let it all out as Jim and Greg play some of the greatest musical Tearjerkers. These weepies make you cry, no matter how strong your disposition.

Go to episode 439
news

Music News

Sad news this week week: Memphis musician Willie Mitchell has died at the age of 81. Mitchell was a trumpeter, arranger and producer for Hi Records. There he helped to launch and evolve the careers of artists like Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and most notably, Al Green. Greg credits Mitchell with creating the signature horn and drum sound you hear on Green's recordings. They two even teamed up again in 2005 for the album Everything's OK. To honor the musician Jim and Greg play one of their favorite tracks—Ann Peeble's "I Can't Stand the Rain," as produced by Willie Mitchell.

Go to episode 215

Music News

It all comes back to music, doesn't it? Even the great mystery of Stonehenge might have a link to song. According to U.S. scientist Steven Waller, the Neolithic builders of the British stone arrangement were inspired by“auditory illusions.”He proposes that when two identical instruments, such as ancient flutes, were played at the same time, the effect was magical and otherworldly. Perhaps, similar to this?

Move over Bill, President Obama is proving to be the politician with the biggest“X Factor”(sorry Singing Senators). First he sang Al Green at the Apollo. Now he's performing with B.B. King and Mick Jagger-and according to our critics, pretty darn well. So what's next for the executive crooner? Greg votes for some Eurythmics, while Jim anticipates the post-office rendition of "My Way."

Go to episode 326

Music News

Major labels made a bit of news this week, and allowed Jim and Greg to justify their use of the“brontosaurus hurdling toward the tar pit”metaphor. So what is driving this particular dinosaur into extinction? According to our hosts, it's technology. Universal Music appeared to recognize this hurdle this week when they announced that they were cutting costs of some of their online music in Europe. So if you want to buy something from their catalog as a digital file, rather than as a physical CD, you'll only have to pay around $10. Seems reasonable to us here in the States. The CEO of EMI Music reiterated this idea in a statement to the London School of Economics. He said,“The CD as it is right now is dead.”A bit of an overstatement perhaps, but it's entirely possible that the market will split between iTunes listeners and die hard collectors (who want vinyl). In the meantime, EMI consumers can expect more content packaged with their old-fashioned audio CD.

One artist who hasn't been hurt by extinction is Kurt Cobain. Forbes named him the number-one-earning dead celebrity, even ahead of The King, Elvis Presley. Cobain's estate earned over $50 million this year alone, mostly due to the sale of Nirvana's song catalog to Primary Wave Publishing. Fans have widow Courtney Love to thank for that.

Sound Opinions always loves when Bono is in the news (which is usually every day). This time, though, it's more U2's music than the man himself. Apparently 150 Episcopal churches across the nation have adopted a new service entitled the U2charist, which blends the band's songs with the traditional Eucharist. The service kicks off with a rendition of "Pride," and also includes a collection for Bono's campaign to eradicate extreme poverty and global AIDS. Of course rock + religion is nothing new. Al Green and Solomon Burke infuse their pop music into religious ceremonies with great success. But the real question is how Bono measures up to Mase.

Go to episode 49