Al Green

Compact Command Performances: 14 Greatest Hits

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Most of the albums Al Green recorded in the 1970s are worth owning, and for the more seasoned "soul" fanatic, the 1997 four-CD boxed set, The Al Green Anthology, is joyous listening. But for the novice (or someone on a tight budget), this 14-song collection would be a logical place to start. From "Love and Happiness," "Here I Am (Come and Take Me)," and "Take Me to the River," to "Let's Stay Together," and "I'm Still In Love With You," many of the charismatic soulman's major '70s hits are included -- many, but not all. The CD does omit some essential hits, including "Sha-La-La (Makes Me Happy)" and "Full of Fire." But everything it does include is first-rate. Soul music simply doesn't get any more magnificent than Green singing "Love and Happiness" or offering his confessional interpretation of the Temptations' "I Can't Get Next To You." Beginners who use 14 Greatest Hits as their introduction to his legacy won't be disappointed by its content, although they should realize that it's far from the last word on him.

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