I have great confidence in my assumption that nobody doesn't like Al Green. The Reverend may not be at the very top of everyone's soul singer list. Some may reserve that cherished position for Otis Redding or "The Queen" Aretha. But I've yet to meet anyone who has shot a Bronx cheer in the direction of Albert Greene from Forest City, Arkansas. What's not to like?
That being said, I had a little Al Green fest this weekend and marvelled at the sound of the records. Thanks to the legendary Willie Mitchell and The Hi Rhythm Section, these records have "a sound." Like The Funk Brothers of Detroit or Booker T. & The M.G.s over at Stax/Volt, Mitchell, the Hodges Brothers and either Howard Grimes or the M.G.'s Al Jackson Jr. on drums, created something that is distinctive and wholly their own. If we had the superpower of hearing things from a mile away, we'd be able to tell from that distance we were hearing a Willie Mitchell/Hi Rhythm Section record.
While I've known of Peebles for years, it was through bands like Humble Pie, the Black Crowes and the Allman Brothers that I became familiar with her songs like "99 lbs.," "Somebody's On Your Case," "Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home," and "Slipped, Tripped & Fell In Love." Her biggest, "I Can't Stand The Rain," was really the only song I attributed to Miss Peebles herself.
Needless to say at this point, Ann Peebles is essential. She's possesses the silk and soul of Al Green, but occasionally lets herself become unguarded, which adds a slight edge to her sound. I'd like to believe it's that edge that caught the ears of the aformentioned rockers, along with, of course, everything else.
I'm sticking with the silk and soul for a moment. This song, off of 1973's "I Can't Stand The Rain" is, as the Reverend once sang, simply beautiful. "Until You Came Into My Life" is classic Willie Mitchell. It's classic Hodges Brothers. It's the great Ann Peebles. And it is currently never coming off my turntable.