Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Al Green: Have a Good Time [Hi, 1976]
Green's recent instability is usually blamed on hot grits and the short half-life of formula soul, but I'm beginning to wonder whether drummer Al Jackson, who died in 1975, wouldn't have steadied the last two albums, and I expect that this is an attempt to compensate. Wilson Pickett it ain't, but it is the straightest (and hardest) soul Green has put out since his breakthrough--the horns way up, the vocals shouting confidence and technique. Problem is, it's forced--the Hi folks (like most of their peers) can't turn out songs distinctive enough to hold up under the treatment. It's still full of fire, though, and Green is still the finest popular singer of the decade, and I'm still gratified to see him on his feet. B+