[3] Al Green, ‘Let’s Stay Together’

Al Green

I thought we were tearing through 1972 too fast, and soon it would be 1973 and we’d be faced with ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree’ before you can say, ‘Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?’ Yes, I thought that. In any case, you can’t just steam in to talking about Reverend Green. You need to take it easy, kick back into the smooth groove, feel the warm embrace of the horn section, take your top off then put it back on when you realise you don’t share Al’s physique.

Things took a jarring turn when I played this, because Junior slapped her hands over her ears and refused to listen. She wanted Lady Gaga. “But,” I protested, “Al Green’s one of the greatest soul singers.” “No, he’s not,” came the smackdown.

Perhaps he’s not. I rather think he is, though; he sounds like he means it and can make you believe it, believe anything. Whether that’s the sign of a trickster, I don’t know, but his performance on ‘Let’s Stay Together’ is imbued with a conviction its lyric doesn’t quite share – if everything’s so tickety-boo in this relationship, why make a promise to keep it going? It should mosey on regardless.

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