Al Green

Gospel Collection

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Al Green has spent his career wrestling with the secular/sacred divide in his music and much like Marvin Gaye, the pull between opposing forces, between sexual release and spiritual transcendence, has given the best of his work a magnificent emotive power. From his first hit in 1967 ("Back Up Train") through his forlorn and funky hits with Willie Mitchell on Hi Records in the mid-'70s, Green has chased both kinds of joy toward the corridors of Heaven, finally switching over completely to gospel in the 1980s. The tension in his work doesn't end there, though. With his sexy falsetto swoops and honey-tinged tenor growls, Green is too good a singer not to take any song he tackles downtown. Substitute girl for God in these songs and you've got the same old Al Green wrestling with the same old angels, and that's just what the doctor ordered.

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