Al Green

Love Ritual: Rare & Previously Unreleased 1968-76

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As a pop/R&B singer throughout the '70s, Green always produced intriguing and challenging work with producer Willie Mitchell. But by late 1974, Green's work seemed to get a little more eccentric, and he often had to contend with the breakdown of the Memphis sound as well as his own changing persona. This album complies many of the odds and ends from his final four '70s albums with Mitchell. In many respects the final three albums, Al Green Is Love, Full of Fire, and Have a Good Time took great pains at attaining a sense of normalcy. Love Ritual doesn't seem to care and offers more truthful look at some of Green's edgier, left-of-center work. The hypnotic title track with its sharp rhythm and often incoherent lyrics is made even more striking and emotional due to the string arrangement. The harder edged "I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher)" and "Let It Shine" sounded better here than they did on their original albums. During this time frame, Green's voice remained intact even when his confidence and attention span seemed to waver. More often than not, he was tiring of conventional love songs. "Glory, Glory" on the surface seems like a love song but upon closer inspection it vacillates from romance to religion in a manner that only Green could pull off. Love Ritual was released after Hi Records switched distribution from London to Cream. Although the motives for this release still remain unclear, Love Ritual does offer a good array of Green's hits, grazes, and misses.

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