1977, Music

The Belle Album (1977) by Al Green

Though not an Al Green fan, I have been spending a little bit of time with him over the past few years on account of my podcast. At this point, it’s enough to almost think of myself of an Al Green aficionado, if not an actual fan. (Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great singer, he just doesn’t make the kind of soul I really love.) And so, listening to this record, I finally feel like I have some context for evaluating it, whereas when I first listened to him, I was more thinking of how Al Green related to Philly Soul ans Stax and stuff like that.

Though this is, I believe, Green’s first record as a Christian pastor, it sure doesn’t suffer from that. (Why would it suffer? Listen to any “Christian” version of the genre and compare it to the genuine article.) As a singer, Green is in fine form (as he usually is) and though there is a certain religious tenor in some of the lyrics, it certainly still feels like vintage Al Green.

The thing that distinguishes it from this later period, for me, is Green playing guitar. It’s not like he’s a great guitarist, but his guitar playing seems to have reoriented him towards funk a little bit more than before, and he is content to play the songs with his band a lot of the time, jamming on a particular riff in a way that I really don’t recall him ever doing before. It adds a fresh angle to his sound, which is nice.


All songs written by Al Green, Fred Jordan and Reuben Fairfax, Jr.

  1. “Belle” – 4:50
  2. “Loving You” – 3:32
  3. “Feels Like Summer” – 3:42
  4. “Georgia Boy” – 7:01
  5. “I Feel Good” – 5:20
  6. “All N All” – 3:39
  7. “Chariots of Fire” – 3:50
  8. “Dream” – 7:33
  • Al Green – vocals, acoustic and electric guitar
  • Reuben Fairfax, Jr. – bass guitar, bell lyre
  • James Bass – electric guitar
  • Margaret Foxworth, Linda Jones, Harvey Jones – background vocals
  • Purvis Leon Thomas – clavinet, Fender Rhodes piano
  • Johnny Brown – acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes piano
  • Fred Jordan – Fender Rhodes piano, Roland String Ensemble, Polyphonic Orchestration, trumpet, flugelhorn
  • John Toney – drums, Syndrum
  • Rob Payne – Syndrum
  • Ardis Hardin – drums
  • Buddy Jarrett – alto sax
  • Darryl Neely – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Ron Echols – tenor and baritone sax

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