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Al Green is the last of the great soul singers; Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Otis Redding, a couple various others and finally Al. After him the line was broken and no one has since reached and sung on the level that those singers did.
Al’s run of records he made with the brilliant producer Willie Mitchell during the 1970‘s have a sound different than anything that came before them. There’s a grungy warmth to them, sophisticated arrangements and at times a showbiz exterior, but with a hint of irony around the edges and the sense of a darker and more intelligent reality.
They had a string of big hits throughout that decade but Al’s best songs aren’t his most well know. His biggest ones, like “Let’s Stay Together” and “I’m Still in Love With You” have a kind of unique 70’s love smarminess to them and they don’t begin to do him justice. At Al’s best he bounces between an intense and original strangeness, a virtuosic and hypnotizing voice and presence, and a gospel power that can blow down everything in its path.
At his best his records are every bit as beautiful and powerful as anything the Beatles ever did, and additionally he recorded the greatest Beatles cover of all time, which is on this list. They took soul music in a completely new and brilliant direction. The producer, arranger,and frequent co-writer on these tracks is one of the most brilliant record producers of all time, Willie Mitchell. Willie’s arrangements and the sound he was able to get are sophisticated and totally unique.
Here’s a countdown of Al Green's top 10 best songs.