Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Al Green: Let's Stay Together [Hi, 1972]
Maybe it's just that I'm so tired of the title single, but this is disappointing. Al Green Gets Next to You shows real emotional range--like Marvin Gaye, Green comes on both passive and active. The popularity of his romantic disappointment, however, has induced him to narrow his persona. Item: The most impressive cut on the LP is "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?" Green's version is far superior to the Bee Gees' original, but the original is pure glop. Item: The album doesn't include one piece of real funk. Green is still the most intelligent male soul singer to emerge in years, and in the context of three or four more albums this one may sound fine. Right now, it's much too much of a good thing. A-