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Woefully Inadequete Collection of Al Green
on January 16, 2005
This is paper thin collection of Al Green's "Greatest Hits" may satisfy those who are unacquainted with Al Green, but the selected 15 tracks are woefully inadequate for fans who followed Al Green's soul singing career in the Seventies.
Among the missing and unaccounted for songs in this "greatest hits" collection are: "Talk To Me", "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", "Funny How Time Slips Away", "Let's Get Married", "Together Again", and the transcendental "Take Me To The River". Doing an Al Green greatest hits collection without the song "Take Me To The River" is like doing a Marvin Gaye collection without "What's Going On?" .
Instead of the inferior Capital collection, I recommend the double CD collection "Hi and Mighty- The Story of Al Green (1969-1978)" as only current collection that does justice to the Rev. Al Green's R&B career on Hi Records. It is a UK import and retails at a little over $25 (around $17 from an Amazon seller). The price is reasonable because "Hi and Mighty" will be the only Al Green collection you'll ever need. You will have to spend a lot more money get all the songs on import "Hi and Mighty" because there is no single unified collection of all Green's hits available on an American label.
Several years back, Capitol records bought exclusive United States licensing rights to most of Al Green's songs from his original label, Hi Records. Subsequently, in the spirit of maximizing profits, Capital has plundered their catalog of Al Green music by releasing several incomplete, inferior sounding "greatest hits" collections. This low budget, chopped up edition isn't even digitally remastered. The sound of Capitol's master tapes are only so-so.
Fortunately Hi Records retained rights to Al Green's songs and original master tapes in the United Kingdom this release "Hi and Mighty" in the UK provide us with a complete selection of songs from Al Green's massive catalog. As a result, the only official Hi Records collection of Al Green's greatest hits is the UK import.
Contrary to Capitol's fast buck USA collections, the UK masters have a far superior suound. The masters directly from Hi Records retain the clean analogic fidelity of Willie Mitchell's amazing production. The wonders of the chugging bluesy grooves of the Hodges brothers, Lee (bass), Teeny (guitar) and Charles (organ) who along with Wayne Jackson signature trumpet sound formed the backbone of Al Green's studio band are heard best on the UK masters. Most important to Al Green's session players was Booker T. and the MGs drummer Al Jackson's crisp drumming. (Listen to Al Jackson's inventive drumming on Booker T.s "Time Is Tight" and see why an entire generation of drummers practiced to that song).
Al Green is too significant an artist to waste your money on this incomplete and sonically inferior product designed by major label giant with the sole purpose of cashing in on Al Green's work. The UK collection, "Hi and Mighty" may cost a few bucks extra, but it does justice to Al Green's storied career.