by Hudson Hornick
“Konichiwa!” greets the Reverend Al Green. Definitively one of
the best soul and R&B singers of the early ’70s, Green pays a
visit to the Chumash Casino on July 27 to salve the souls of Santa
Barbara County. A lot of mystery has surrounded the legend since he
was ordained a Baptist pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in
Memphis and started singing gospel. I recently had the privilege to
attend a phone sermon.
You had your biggest success in the ’70s with R&B
hits like “Let’s Stay Together” and “Tired of Being Alone,” and
then you switched to gospel. Do you find it hard to transcend
genres or does it stem from one source of inspiration?
Hey, man. I’m just one person, you know? I’m just the Reverend
Green, I can’t be nobody else. There’s no coming back or going
forward. I’ve always been religious, I just gravitated toward
Baptist and my inspiration comes from the Tabernacle, you know?
There’s really only one love. Man finds woman, falls in love. Man
finds God, falls in love. How do you feel about the
direction popular music is heading? I’m digging the rap
and hip-hop thing. Some things I don’t agree with, the cursing and
swearing thing, the power-gesturing thing. I don’t like how the
girls are booty-shaking — they got more than is being represented.
How do you feel about playing Santa Barbara? I
love it, man! I was out there last year and they were all like,
“Reverend Al, here try this syrah, it’s a 2002.” Or, “Hey Rev, try
this, this is a chardonnay from some hills over here!” By the time
I got on stage I was like, “I’m tired of being aloonnee. …”