When he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Al Green was described as, “one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music”. Rolling Stone named Green one of the Top 100 Artists of All Time. I have no doubt that he more than deserves those accolades and praise. What I have no idea about, is why. As in, I know his name, I believe his legacy is more than earned, I assume I know plenty of his hits. But I don’t think I can name a single Al Green song off the top of the head. But that’s something I’ll hopefully be able to remedy in 35 minutes, by listening to Call Me.
From the slow but dancable groove of Call Me (Come Back Home), the sexy falsetto of Have You Been Making Out OK, only two tracks in and Al Green is more than living up to his lofty reputation. Which is even more justified when the horns are let loose on Stand Up. Things go from slow jam sexy to pants droppingly sultry on I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry. How could a woman hear this and not want to invite Green to her bed to help cheer him up? It’s the kind of song that would make straight dudes everywhere wonder just how straight they really are… I think I’ve said too much.
Here I Am (Come and Take Me Away) amps up the attitude. While the other songs are all bared souls and vulnerability, Here I Am has a little more cockiness to it. The production, instrumentation, arrangement and charisma are all ramped up to the max with You Ought to be With Me, and the more is more approach pays off. While I never thought the last moments of Call Me needed an energy injection, I loved it once it appeared here anyway. Al Green and Call Me work in a seemingly tight set of parameters, but that never stops this record from being wide ranging, surprising and captivating all along the way.