Review of Al Green's album Green Is Blue
It was Morrissey who once sang 'reissue repackage, re-evaluate the songs, double pack with a photograph extra track and a tacky badge' in reference to the re release, but there are two ways of looking at this form of media, they can either be seen as a cynical marketing ploy by a profit hungry record company simply cashing in on a former artists past glory or they can be viewed merely as a reminder of a great piece of work, a worth while injection of nostalgia. Well in this case it clearly is the latter.
This truly is a modern update, it isn't a lazy reissue, its one that embraces modern trends with its digital only release and downloadable booklet. The fact that it wasn't brought out on fathers day to compete with the new Ronan Keating is testament to that.
Released to celebrate 40 years since its creation, Green Is blues captures an early chapter in Greens illustrious career. The album proved to be a breakthrough success for Green in 1969 reaching # 19 in the Billboard charts and represented his first release on soul and rockabilly label Hi records. But what of the albums content? Well Green is Blues is an album mostly made up of covers, a common trend amongst new artists in the 60s but ordinary covers these are not. Inspired choices such as Wayne Carson Thompson's The Letter and I Stand Accused provide the bedrock for an album designed by producer Willie Mitchell to bring the best out of a then underrated voice of a future great. 'Gotta find a New World' also deserves a mention, its inspired groves and unmistakable trademark horns gift the album with its finest track. The reworking and ad-libing on My Girl as well as bonus track The Beatles I Wanna Hold Your Hand give the impression of an artist chomping at the bit to express his many talents via a career that was to later see him inducted into the Rock n roll hall of fame.
Featuring Green at the tender age of just 23, Green Is Blues showcases his smooth, soulful voice perfectly, and gives music fans of the digital age a chance to trace the roots of a Soul legend.