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The Immortal Soul of Al Green

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Al Green 9/7/2004

Review

Al Green fans will be aware that The Immortal Soul of Al Green actually marks the second time that a four-CD box set of Green's recordings has been assembled, following by seven years its predecessor, Anthology. That being the case, the obvious question is, why do listeners need another Al Green box set? The answer lies in the two conflicting approaches most often employed in box sets. Basically, two different audiences buy box sets: first, those who are looking for a single, omnibus collection of an artist's recordings that is more comprehensive that a "greatest-hits" album; and second, collectors who already have all the hits and are looking for rarities and unreleased material. Many box sets are designed as compromises that split the difference to attract both audiences. Anthology leaned more toward collectors. It featured a mixture of original hit studio recordings and a heavy complement of live recordings, unreleased material, rarities, and interviews. Of the 28 Al Green tracks featured on singles for the Hot Line, Hi, and Bell labels that reached the Billboard R&B charts between 1967 and 1979, only 12 were included on Anthology. As a result, the album is referred to in its All Music Guide review as "a botched job" whose "appeal is solely for collectors." The Immortal Soul of Al Green goes to the other extreme. With the exception of a few tracks drawn from British rarities albums, such as the 15-minute edit of "Beware," a track from Green's Livin' for You LP, this box set consists of familiar studio recordings, sequenced almost chronologically, and relying on the hits. Of those same 28 R&B chart entries, 27 are included this time, the only exception being "I Feel Good" (number 36). The result tells the story of Al Green's hitmaking years, from his early work in the '60s to his move toward gospel at the end of the '70s, more clearly than did Anthology. And for those who would like the story written down, Colin Escott's liner notes do that job well, too. ~ William Ruhlmann
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Back Up Train Al Green 2:20
  3. 2 Guilty Al Green 2:58
  4. 3 I Want to Hold Your Hand Al Green 2:21
  5. 4 One Woman Al Green 3:4
  6. 5 Get Back, Baby Al Green 2:16
  7. 6 Summertime Al Green 2:59
  8. 7 What Am I Gonna Do With Myself Al Green 2:25
  9. 8 I Can't Get Next to You [Cover] Al Green 3:45
  10. 9 God Is Standing By Al Green 3:13
  11. 10 You Say It Al Green 2:51
  12. 11 Right Now, Right Now Al Green 2:52
  13. 12 Are You Lonely for Me Baby Al Green 3:57
  14. 13 Driving Wheel Al Green 2:59
  15. 14 Light My Fire Al Green 3:54
  16. 15 Ride, Sally Ride [Single Edit] Al Green 2:23
  17. 16 Tired of Being Alone Al Green 2:51
  18. 17 I'm a Ram Al Green 3:47
  19. 18 So You're Leaving Al Green 2:55
  20. 19 I've Never Found a Girl Al Green 3:42
  21. 20 It Ain't No Fun to Me Al Green 3:27
  22. 21 Let's Stay Together Al Green 3:19
  23. 22 Old Time Lovin' Al Green 3:19
  24. 23 La-La for You Al Green 3:30
  25. 24 How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? Al Green 6:24
  26. 1 I'm Still in Love With You Al Green 3:12
  27. 2 Love and Happiness Al Green 5:7
  28. 3 Simply Beautiful Al Green 4:11
  29. 4 Oh, Pretty Woman [Cover] Al Green 3:22
  30. 5 Look What You Done for Me Al Green 3:5
  31. 6 Call Me (Come Back Home) Al Green 3:3
  32. 7 Funny How Time Slips Away [Cover] Al Green 5:32
  33. 8 Here I Am (Come and Take Me Away) Al Green 4:12
  34. 9 I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry Al Green 3:11
  35. 10 You Ought to Be With Me Al Green 3:18
  36. 11 Jesus Is Waiting Al Green 5:36
  37. 12 Livin' for You Al Green 3:10
  38. 13 Let's Get Married Al Green 5:35
  39. 14 Beware [Full Length Version] Al Green 15:6
  40. 1 Take Me to the River Al Green 3:44
  41. 2 So Good to Be Here Al Green 2:41
  42. 3 My God Is Real Al Green 2:43
  43. 4 Sha-La-La (Make Me Happy) Al Green 2:58
  44. 5 The City Al Green 3:24
  45. 6 God Blessed Our Love Al Green 3:55
  46. 7 One Night Stand Al Green 2:25
  47. 8 I'm Hooked on You Al Green 3:20
  48. 9 Mimi Al Green 3:20
  49. 10 Love Ritual Al Green 4:19
  50. 11 Rhymes Al Green 3:34
  51. 12 Could I Be the One? Al Green 4:6
  52. 13 L-O-V-E (Love) Al Green 3:8
  53. 14 Strong as Death (Sweet as Love) Al Green 4:20
  54. 15 Oh Me, Oh My (Dreams in My Arms) Al Green 2:48
  55. 16 I Gotta Be More (Take Me Higher) Al Green 2:45
  56. 17 Eli's Game Al Green 4:55
  57. 18 Love Ritual [Remix] Al Green 4:17
  58. 1 Full of Fire Al Green 5:12
  59. 2 I'd Fly Away Al Green 4:10
  60. 3 That's the Way It Is Al Green 3:41
  61. 4 Together Again Al Green 5:19
  62. 5 Let It Shine Al Green 3:14
  63. 6 Have a Good Time Al Green 3:36
  64. 7 Keep Me Cryin' Al Green 3:8
  65. 8 Nothing Takes the Place of You Al Green 4:34
  66. 9 I Tried to Tell Myself Al Green 3:25
  67. 10 The Truth Marches On Al Green 2:40
  68. 11 Belle Al Green 4:49
  69. 12 Georgia Boy Al Green 6:59
  70. 13 Chariots of Fire Al Green 3:49
  71. 14 Loving You Al Green 3:33
  72. 15 All in All Al Green 3:38
  73. 16 To Sir With Love Al Green 4:6
  74. 17 Wait Here Al Green 2:40
  75. 18 King of All Al Green 2:21
  76. 19 Starting All Over Again [Previously Unreleased] Al Green 3:29

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