AL GREEN Pictures, Images and Photos

al green Pictures, Images and PhotosAl Green

With his incomparable voice, full of falsetto swoops and nuanced turns of phrase, Al Green rose to prominence in the Seventies. One of the most gifted purveyors of soul music, Green has sold more than 20 million records. During 1972 and 1973, he placed six consecutive singles in the Top Ten: “Let’s Stay Together,” “Look What You Done for Me,” “I’m Still in Love With You,” “You Ought to Be With Me,” “Call Me” and “Here I Am (Come and Take Me).” “Let’s Stay Together” topped the pop chart for one week and the R&B charts for nine; it was also revived with great success by Tina Turner in 1984. In terms of popularity and artistry, Green was the top male soul singer in the world, voluntarily ending his reign with a move from secular to gospel music in 1979.

Beyond his chart-making abilities, Green set a new standard for soul music and essentially created a new kind of soul - one that combined the gritty, down-home sensibility of the Memphis based Stax-Volt sound with the polished, sweeter delivery of Motown. Over a fat, funky bottom, Green’s subtle and inventive voice would soar into falsetto range with beguiling ease. His finest recordings showcase a penchant for jazzy filigree and soulful possession rivaled by the likes of Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin. They also are the products of teamwork, as Green benefited immensely from a longstanding association with producer Willie Mitchell and the house band at Hi Records.

Green was born on an Arkansas farm in 1946 and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He sang gospel with the Greene Brothers, a family quartet, and belonged to the Creations and the Soul Mates in the Sixties. In 1967, the Soul Mates had a #5 R&B hit with “Back Up Train.” In terms of influences, “I was raised on the sound of Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers,” Green has said. A fateful crossing of paths between Green and Willie Mitchell in Texas, where both were performing, resulted in Green’s signing to Memphis-based Hi Records in 1969. Mitchell produced Green’s recordings and cowrote material with him for the next eight years. It was a fruitful association that yielded high-quality albums (such as I’m Still in Love With You and Call Me), as well as 13 Top Forty hits that helped keep the sound of soul pure and alive in the Seventies.

Mitchell cut Green’s groove-oriented records at his Royal Recording Studio, a converted movie theater in downtown Memphis. Essential components of Green and Mitchell’s mix of silky ballads and bouncy funk included the Hi Records studio band: guitarist Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, bassist Leroy Hodges, keyboardist Charles Hodges and drummer Howard Grimes. In addition, drummer Al Jackson (of Booker T. and the M.G.’s) cowrote and played on many of Green’s biggest hits. Strings, horns and backup singers added to the intricate tapestry. But it was Green’s light, skillful touch as a vocalist that made it all work so well.

Green’s breakthrough came in 1971 with “Tired of Being Alone” (#7 R&B, #11 pop). A slew of hits followed, keeping Green in the Top Forty (and often the Top Ten) through 1976. His consistent quality and flawless phrasing prompted music critic Robert Christgau to pronounce him among “the half dozen prime geniuses of soul.” His peak work as an R&B master is contained on a string of hit-filled albums released in the early Seventies: Al Green Gets Next to You (1971), I’m Still In Love With You (1972), Let’s Stay Together (1972), Call Me (1973) and Livin’ for You (1973).

With The Belle Album (1977), Green made an overt turn toward religious themes. The album was self-produced, as Mitchell amicably parted ways with Green over his turn to gospel. The eleventh album of his career, it was “the most important release of my life,” according to Green in his autobiography, Take Me to the River. He elaborated: “God had called me to a higher place, turned me away from earthly to heavenly love, and while it hurt to say it, I had to leave the sensual for the spiritual.”

During the Eighties, Green recorded inspirational music for the Myrrh label while serving as pastor at a church he founded. The Nineties found him returning to his soul roots from time to time, yet to this day he remains primarily a singer and preacher of the gospel. On most Sundays, Green occupies the pulpit at Full Gospel Tabernacle Church on Hale Road in Memphis. The public is welcome to witness Green’s sermons, which are no less full of fire and feeling than the flood of singles that set the standard for soul in the Seventies.”

April 13, 1946: Albert Greene, better known as soul singer Al Green, is born in Forrest City, Arkansas.

December 2, 1967: “Back Up Train,” by Al Greene and the Soul Mates, enters the R&B singles charts. Later, the vocalist will drop the ‘e’ from his surname.

February 12, 1972: “Let’s Stay Together,” by Al Green, dislodges Don McLean’s “American Pie” from it’s month-long reign at #1.

August 5, 1972: “I’m Still in Love With You” (#1 R&B, #3 pop) becomes Al Green’s second biggest hit.

May 21, 1973: ‘Call Me,’ the quintessential Al Green album, is released. It yields three hits: “You Ought to Be With Me” (#1 R&B, #3 pop), “Call Me (Come Back Home)” (#2 R&B, #10 pop), “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” (#2 R&B, #10 pop).

October 18, 1974: A distraught girlfriend hurls a pot of boiling water at Al Green, causing second-degree burns, and then takes her own life.

May 1, 1976: Al Green becomes the Rev. Al Green with his acquisition of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis.

December 13, 1977: Al Green releases ‘The Belle Album,’ formally marking his move from soul to gospel.

February 24, 1982: Al Green wins his first Grammy, in the Best Traditional Soul Gospel Performance category, for the album ‘The Lord Will Make a Way.’

February 6, 1986: Al Green’s first album for A&M Records, ‘Going Away,’ marks his reunion with longtime producer Willie Mitchell.

December 3, 1988: Al Green makes the Top 40 for the first time in over a decade with “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” a duet with Annie Lennox.

January 12, 1995: Al Green is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the tenth annual induction dinner. Natalie Cole is his presenter.

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Replies to This Discussion

Love it! I never saw that second pic before...
This is awesome and like Mama Edie, i have never seen that second pic, look at that lil sparkle on his bling bling....LOL
This was a not so OOTP Hall of Fame moment....ROFLMBO

Sole you just had to find this picture.......I'm gonna get you LOL....
Thanks Baby Girl, I was just looking around and came across these pictures. Never saw second picture myself.
had the pleasure of seeing Al perform 3 times back in his heyday. Each time the audience was at least 75% women. I have neva seen a performer have such an effect on an audience before or since. He always had Willie Mitchell and his band backing him up. A!nd they were Tight! Brotha Al had those women goin` CRAZY! Of course I remained seated and composed the whole show. Ok Ok, I had to stand up too. But only because everyone else was standing...and blocking my view. Yeah right. LOL
And for him to walk away at his peak..... I`m still trying to understand that.

I like hearing first hand accounts...and can sort'a visualize it through your comment. We were all crazy about Al back in the day. I hated the grits thing happened to him, too.
Lord please forgive me but when Al went from soul to gospel I did not know what to think, first I said he got mixed up with that lady that threw the hot grits on him and he decided to get his life in order, I was not upset because he becane a man of God, I was upset because he would not be singing the songs he use to sing that I loved so much.I know sometimes it takes something like what happened to him for us to make a change in out lives. I think at one time he was singing gospel and soul which again made me wonder.I love myself some Al Green and wish for him nothing but the best.When I want to here him sing For the Goodtimes ,Love and Happiness and other songs I will pull out his cd's....Always will love him and be a fan
I will always be a Big Al Green fan but I don't think I had any 8 tracks. I just got rid of my 8 track player a few years ago.....I should have kept it but you know how it is when you don't have much space. LOL


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Spotlight | Maze

  1. play Maze — 03 Feel That You're Feelin'
  2. play Maze — 04 Somebody Else's Arms
  3. play Maze — 04 Southern Girl
  4. play Maze — Can't Get Over You
  5. play Maze — Golden Time Of Day
  6. play Norman Brown — Night Drive
  7. play Norman Brown — Feeling
  8. play Norman Brown — Still
  9. play Miles Davis — miles 1
  10. play miles 2
  11. play miles 3
  12. play miles 4
  13. play miles 5
  14. play Marvin Gaye — I Met A Little Girl
  15. play Santana — 01 Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
  16. play Santana — 02 Black Magic Woman-Gypsy Queen
  17. play Mongo — 02. Afro Blue

The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me"). 

As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even 
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.


The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created. 

The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon). 

If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available. 

Enjoy.  "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967) 
 "I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
 "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
 "If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)

Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.

Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay." 
 While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).

The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.
:: Funkinsoulman ::

Power...Through Simplicity ♪♫♪



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