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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Al Green: The singing Reverend

(Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)
It’s not that Al Green needed the publicity.  He’s certainly been getting enough of that on his own for decades.  However, when President Obama recently cut loose with the opening line from one of Green’s L-O-V-E songs, “Let’s Stay Together” – the Reverend was yet again making headlines.

Reverend Green was deemed “born to make us smile” by Rolling Stone magazine in 2005, which listed him as 65th of the 100 all-time greatest artists.  That was ten years after Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which called him “one of the most gifted purveyors of soul music.”  Wikipedia reports that to date, “Green has sold more than 20 million records.”

Born Albert Greene in 1946 - he began his music career at age 10, and has not stopped since.  In 1974 - while his popularity soared, tragedy struck.  His then-girlfriend, Mary Woodson White, “doused Green with a pan of boiling grits while he was showering, causing burns on Green’s back, stomach and arms.”  Shortly thereafter, she killed herself, and was found with this note to Green still in her purse:  “The more I trust you, the more you let me down.”

To Green’s credit, he viewed this “as a wake-up call to change his life.”   He therefore entered the ministry, and two years later began serving as ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis, Tennessee.  Green still serves in this capacity, as evidenced by the “Full Gospel Tabernacle” section of his website.  Those who click upon are therefore privy to this greeting:  Thank you for visiting my website.  I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to bring Christ into your life…

As this greeting indicates, the line between Green’s music career and his ministry is somewhat blurred.  During an interview with Sophie Harris of Time Out New York, Green explained that “the man upstairs” affirmed his singing of “Love and Happiness.”  Green “quoted” God as saying:  Yeah!  ‘Cause if it hadn’t
been for love and happiness, how’d we all get here?

After perceiving this affirmation, Green then put his whole heart (and presumedly soul) back into singing those sexy songs.  He further explained to Harris that it felt like God was saying:  I gave you this special ministry, don’t  nobody else have it.  I gave it to you, Al Green… that love; L-O-V-E love.  That’s a signature for you to be able to cause families to grow, husbands and wives to come back together, to give children a chance to blossom.


Copyright January 22, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved



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