Al Green, Gets Next To You
The album that established Al Green's singular stylistic greatness
Throughout the early sessions chronicled on his first Hi Records LP, Green is Blues, production ace Willie Mitchell kept urging Al Green to showcase his gorgeous, swooping falsetto. He suggested a mellow, yet distinctively soulful approach that would enable Green to stop imitating his idols — particularly Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson.
Green established his sound with the fabulous Al Green Gets Next To You in 1971. His version of the title track, which had been a driving, demonstrative workout for the Temptations, presented a sweltering, sensual alternative rendition that remained forceful and compelling. The album scored four gold singles, among them the signature tune "Tired of Being Alone," another example of brilliant rotation between Green's natural voice and immaculate falsetto (a direct influence of the great gospel vocalist Rev. Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones). The LP contained a wonderful inspirational number, "God Is Standing By," plus other interesting covers. They included "Driving Wheel," a Junior Parker staple for which Green played down the angst blues and played up the silky refrain.
Mitchell and the Hi Rhythm team were now in sync with Green. They could roar underneath, complement or come in blazing at the appropriate moment. Gets Next To You was the album that cemented Willie Mitchell's faith in Al Green, and established the singer's stylistic greatness.