C.C. Rider Venerates: Al Green
Remember this name if you don’t know it already: Al Green. The Reverend Al Green to you. Cause you know this sound. It’s a sound like no other—his voice. It’s the soundtrack for the lonely. And the background music for lovers too. Whenever I’m hurtin’, lovesick or otherwise, he helps me through. Me and millions of others. And we’re incredibly lucky—he’s still walkin’ the earth alongside us. Some call him “The Last of the Great Soul Singers,” cause there’s just no one like him left.
The man was born Albert Greene, in Forrest City, Arkansas to a devoutly Christian family. He started performing in a gospel group around the age of ten, and developed a liking for gospel greats like Mahalia Jackson. One problem. He liked Mahalia, sure. But he LOVED Elvis Presley. And Wilson Pickett. The “hip shakers” he called em. And that got him in trouble. One night his dad caught him listening to some Jackie Wilson. And kicked him right out of the house. No devil music allowed there.
But thank heaven he listened to that devilish stuff. ‘Cause even though Al Green would come back around to Christianity, and become an ordained minister, that hip-shaking foundation led him to write some of the grooviest songs of all time. Like this one, “Love and Happiness.”