Friday, March 3, 2023

The Albums of 1973: Al Green: Livin' for You

Release Date: December 6, 1973

Produced by Willie Mitchell

Side One: Livin' for You; Home Again; Free At Last; Let's Get Married; So Good To Be Here

Side Two: Sweet Sixteen; Unchained Melody; My God is Real; Beware

Livin' for You was Al Green's second LP released in 1973 after the masterful Call Me came out in April. Mellower and even experimental in terms of vocals and production, Livin' for You continued to push the boundaries of soul music.

The album opens with the title track is somewhat like "Let's Stay Together," the exquisite production sets the tone for the album. "Home Again" moves from melancholy to elation, while "Free At Last" stays in a steady mid-tempo. In "Let's Get Married" Green vocalizes as if improvising an inner monologue. The good vibes going on "So Good to Be Here" expressing elation at being in the right place. 

"Sweet Sixteen" is slightly menacing in its determination. A restrained version of "Unchained Melody" achieves a vivid effect overall, recorded with a steely confidence by Green and the session musicians. As the title expresses "My God is Real" expresses a fervent belief. At over eight minutes, the closing track "Beware" makes for a sweeping finish. Waves of uncertainty run through this track in a subtle emotional journey.

Livin' For You is timeless in more ways than one, everything from Green's gripping vocals to the production sound as vibrant as ever. The range of emotion and resonance on these songs demands repeated listening. 

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