Al Green

Take Me to the River

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As this two-CD best-of draws wholly from Green's prime as a Hi artist, and, as it contains almost everything from his Greatest Hits collection, one might reasonably assume that it's a good investment for those looking for a greatest hits anthology that's deeper than the single-disc Greatest Hits. Generally that's true, but there are some shortcomings to the packaging that might give you pause. The version of "Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)" here is a live performance, not the original studio one, and his 1975 Top 30 hit "Full of Fire" (which is on Greatest Hits) is missing. It's also too bad that no original release dates are given for specific tracks in the sleeve notes and that the cuts are only sort of sequenced chronologically. This does have almost all of his Top 40 hits and some significant songs that are not on Greatest Hits, particularly "Take Me to the River" itself and his cover of "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart." Still, the material present on this collection that is not on Greatest Hits is definitely not as essential as his big single. If you're just concerned with whether this is a good collection of major soul music, of course it is, covering virtually all of Green's major highlights and then some.

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