Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Al Green: Call Me [Hi, 1973]
I originally believed people would buy this only so they wouldn't have to get up and flip I'm Still in Love with You, and I was probably right. But no other album documents Green's genius for the daring nuance so thrillingly. "Stand Up" is the subtlest black identity song ever, "Jesus Is Waiting" a profession of faith you can believe in, and "Here I Am" an uptempo vehicle that sneaks up from in front of you. The interpretations of country weepers by Hank Williams and Willie Nelson are definitive. The vocals are tougher than on the two "classic" Green LPs that preceded it. And the rhythms are irresistible. Al Jackson's (and Henry Grimes's) thick third-beat 4/4 kicks in with all kinds of extra surprises, and as always it's only a frame for a music that moves as one sinuous body, with Green dodging and weaving at the head. A+