Al Green – 1974 – Explores Your Mind
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Here you have the epitome of Memphis soul from its hands-down best singer, taken up a notch or two by Green’s restless curiosity and willingness to embrace the less-travelled roads on the musical trail. Not unlike his neighbor Elvis Presley, Green regarded the entire panorama of American music to be his birthright and he claims it yet again on this wonderful album. I can still remember picking up my vinyl copy as a kid at the local Woolworth’s on Main Street and hearing the joyous opening grooves of “Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)“, the stunning original version of “Take Me to the River“, and the touching, curiously unsentimental look backward on “School Days“.
Green’s later move to the ministry and subsequent recording of (sadly, often less-than-brilliant) contemporary gospel leads many critics to draw a sharp line between his “secular” and “spiritual” periods as a recording artist, but this is a false distinction. True, it’s unlikely that these days Green will be found singing something like the bawdy, groupie-loving travelogue “One Nite Stand” found here, but the gorgeous “God Blessed Our Love” (just two tracks earlier!!) is as sacred a tune as you’ll find in his catalogue.
Green makes it all sound perfectly appropriate sitting together on this recording.
Don’t deny yourself the chance to have your mind explored – you’ll be glad you did.