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Memphis Sound

“It’s Aaaaallllllll!,” comes the voice on the other end of the line.

Who?

“Al Green, Al Greeeeen!”

The revved up Rev. Al Green is back to singing pop/R&B; music after singing only gospel music since devoting himself to the ministry in 1979, when he got, as he says, “the calling from God.”

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After a few pleasantries early in conversation, Green, a minister of the Church of God and Christ in Memphis, starts singing: “Think of your fellow man. . . .”

It’s from his Top 20 pop single, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” a duet with Eurythmics’ Annie Lennox that’s the big hit from the “Scrooged” sound track.

“Oooooowwwwwwhhh!,” he squeals, after singing several lines from the song.

“I’m in a great mood, a great mood!,” he shouts/squeals again. “I feel goooooodd!”

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It’s great having your first hit single since the glorious ‘70s. Back then, the rev had a string of hits with sizzlingly sexual ballads like “Tired of Being Alone,” “Let’s Stay Together” and “L-O-V-E.”

“The day after I stopped singing pop music, I missed it,” he says/squeals.

Green, 42, has been leaning toward pop for the last few years. His last album for A&M;, “Soul Survivor,” was mainly gospel but did feature the spiritually oriented pop tune, “You’ve Got a Friend.” But that was a transition work. His next A&M; album--due in February--will be pop material.

Green says he jumped at the chance to duet with Lennox, but, strangely, he says he has never even met her. After they sang their parts in different studios, the single was assembled by producer Dave Stewart, who works with Lennox in the Eurythmics.

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Because he’s still a reverend, Green’s new pop material won’t be racy. “I can’t sing ‘Baby, baby, take a shower with me,’ ” he says. “I have to watch what I sing.”

Just one thing is important, he squeals: “Ooooowwhhhh, Al’s baaacckkk!!!!!”


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