He has been called 'the quintessential soul man,' and certainly Al Green's highly distinctive vocal style has not only assured him a permanent place in contemporary history but inspired a whole generation of young singers. An eight-time Grammy winner and inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Al has been thrilling audiences the world over with his emotive blend of gospel and R&B for close to three decades now: as Your Heart's In Good Hands, his superlative new album for MCA Records shows, he's sounding better than ever.
Hitmaking producers Narada Michael Walden and DeVante are among the exciting creative personnel involved in crafting Al's first secular album in eighteen years. Grammy winner Walden produced the infectious title track (and first single), written specifically for Al by renowned songwriter Diane Warren; while Jodeci's DeVante produced, wrote and arranged "Could This Be Love," with his fellow group members supplying backup vocals for a track tailor-made for the Memphis-based musical legend.
David Steele and Andy Cox of (Fine Young Cannibals) produced five tracks including a fine cover of the Temptations' 1965 chestnut, "Don't Look Back." Arthur Baker, who has worked with Al on a variety of projects in the last few years contrived three tunes in all (with one track, "Keep On Pushing Love," co-produced with Tommy Farragher), and served as the album's executive producer.
Talking about the album's lyrical theme, Al who co-wrote six of the albums ten tracks notes, "Love is the message ... and the message is love. After eighteen years of recording gospel music, this album is a continuation of who I am musically. Whenever I've done shows, I've had to include hits like "Let's Stay Together," and "Tired of Being Alone" because that's what the people want to hear. My gospel audiences know that I was in this business before I started recording gospel. When it came time to do a new album, I thought, 'love is a good thing - I can sing about that' and that's what I did all through this record."
From the upbeat "One Love" to the lilting feel of the standout R&B ballad, "Your Love, Al's new album fuses '70's Memphis sensibility with '90's rhythms and grooves. The result is truly emotionally satisfying: tunes like "Love Is A Beautiful Thing" (which makes lyrical references to many of Al's classic '70s hits) and "What Does It Take" typify the creative approach taken on Your Heart's In Good Hands.
With members of The Memphis Horns, Andrew Love, and Wayne Jackson (who played on Al's original string of hits for Hi Records) are among the musical guests on the album.
Says Al, "Each of the songs has that special soulful ingredient. I'm very excited about the record. Everybody who worked on it put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into making this album ... I'm very proud of what we did."
Making great music is nothing new for Al Green, who was ordained as the pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis in 1976. Born in Forrest City, Arkansas, Al's earliest years were steeped in gospel: he toured with his father Robert Green as part of the family group The Green Brothers. Moving to Grand Rapids, Michigan in the mid-'60s, he formed his own group - Al Green and the Creationsart success when the song "Back Up Train" became a Top 5 R&B hit and Top 50 single as 1967 became 1968. - before becoming lead singer with another group known as The Soul Mates. It was with this musical team that Al first tasted ch
Two years later, Al began his solo career, singing with Memphis-based Hi Records. Teaming with producer and noted instrumentalist Willie Mitchell in 1970, Al spent the next eight years racking up an unprecedented eight million-selling singles including "Tired Of Being Alone," "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 (Come Back Home)," "Here I Am (Come And Take Me)," and "Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy)."
In all, Al enjoyed six R&B chartoppers out of some twenty-six hit singles from 1970 to 1979. Fourteen of Al's albums appeared on the nation's Top 200 charts, five of which were certified gold. Al's exciting 'live' performances garnered rave reviews and won him a loyal fan base throughout the world. Other triumphs included a stint in the Broadway musical "Your Arm's Too Short To Box With God" (with Patti LaBelle), and in 1983, Al recorded his first all-gospel album "The Lord Will Make A Way."
Over the next six years, the right Reverend Green recorded nine best selling gospel albums, returning to the secular music charts in 1987 with "Everything Is Gonna Be Alright." A year later, a duet with Annie Lennox covering the '70s classic, "Put A Little Love In Your Heart" (featured on the soundtrack for the movie "Scrooged") gave Al a Top 20 pop hit. In 1989, "As Long As We're Together" featuring singer Al B. Sure! took Al back to the R&B Top 30 for the first time in ten years.
While continuing with his ministry in Memphis, Al has taken time to tour worldwide over the past few years. Performing a mixture of gospel and R&B favorites, Al's global audience has continued to expand and in 1993, he began recording for BMG International.
That year, his first album for the company "Don't Look Back" was released in different territories outside the U.S. and eight of the tracks form the basis for Your Heart's In Good Hands.
Al's association with MCA Records began as a result of his participation on the company's platinum-plus "Rhythm, Country, And Blues." His duet with Lyle Lovett on "Funny How Time Slips Away" was one of the album's standouts prompting Al Teller, CEO of MCA's Music Entertainment, a longtime admirer of Al Green's soulful vocal style to work with BMG International to secure the U.S. release of Al's first all-secular album since 1977's "Belle" set.
With a "Greatest Hits" album on the nation's Top 200 album chart, 1995 appearances on major television shows (including "The Tonight show with Jay Leno," and The David Letterman Show"), and a showstopping performance with soul queen Aretha Franklin at the opening of The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Al Green's career is reaching a new plateau.
Sure to satisfy Al's many staunch fans as well as creating awareness among a whole new generation of music lovers, Your Heart's In Good Hands is a '90s soul classic. "I feel good because I think this album shows that I'm the kind of guy who won't change his style, no matter whose music's hot," says the right Reverend. As his latest work shows, Al Green is a one-of-a-kind artist, a soul legend whose music bridges generations, and is quite simply timeless.