The Reverend Al Green

Everything's OK

While some performers are castigated for staying the course stylistically, others get dissed for changing. In Al Green's case, it's unlikely he'll be criticized for not straying from the path he blazed in the early 1970s. Green's style was a more romantic version of Southern R&B/soul that stayed close to its blues and gospel roots while incorporating suave, sleek string arrangements, and his vocal approach mixed fervent testifying with tenderly seductive crooning. Everything's OK, his second record for Blue Note, finds his MO unchanged, and we are all the better for it. While OK's first half feels a little rote and the Reverend Al overdoes his distinctive falsetto, the latter half more than redeems the album by enhancing the Green Method. "Real Love" is a tantalizingly measured, devotional slow-dance number wherein Green is fiercely passionate, going from deep, raspy growls to stratospheric howls. "Another Day" has an emphatically strutting Motown feel that plays against the bittersweet, dramatic horns and sparkling rhythm guitar as Green rides the terse melody with sublime, sunny assurance. Ultimately, the title is on the money.

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