Mojo (UK)

Gospel According To Al Green

- Jeff Tamarkin


When one of R&B’s greatest answered a higher calling.

Al Green was arguably the most vital, creative soul singer of the 1970s, turning out a string of chart-topping hits like Tired Of Being Alone and Let’s Stay Together. Then, midway through that decade, he experience­d a religious epiphany and turned toward gospel music. It took some doing but in 1983 documentar­y film-maker Robert Mugge convinced Green to allow the cameras to capture one of his Sunday church services. The resulting music, not surprising­ly, is electrifyi­ng, providing the most memorable moments of the film, originally released the following year. Just as fascinatin­g, though, are the interview segments, Green recalling how he wrote his most beloved songs and his transforma­tion from R&B icon to singing preacher. Revealing and emotionall­y fraught, Mugge’s film is riveting both for the deep self-examinatio­n of the man and its vivid presentati­on of his raw talent.

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