Take Me to the River

Al Green, Author, Davin Seay, With
Al Green, Author, Davin Seay, With HarperEntertainment $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-380-97622-5
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-204231-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-1-84195-187-4
Paperback - 343 pages - 978-1-55652-810-1
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-84195-016-7
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Labeled by many as the Last Great Soul Man, Green writes modestly and with great spirit about his career. The bulk of the narrative, written with Seay, concentrates on Green's early life, from his boyhood as a sharecropper's son in Jacknash, Ark., to his family's move to the ghetto in Grand Rapids, Mich., to his desperate pursuit of a singing career. While Green quickly established himself as a neighborhood tough and ladies' man, he never let his reputation as a ""badass dude"" keep him from singing in the school and church choirs. Choosing between the secular and the sacred proved a constant struggle for Green. In the end, he writes, ""I never did develop a preference for one church over the other. To me, shouting at the top of your lungs while hammering on a tambourine or whispering your prayers as the organ softly played were just two different ways of saying the same thing: We're all down here, Lord, doing the best we can."" At 29, Green was already an international superstar when he again questioned his path. Ultimately, he opted to ""leave behind the glitter and the glamour of the world to seek out a poor and plain existence,"" buying a church of his own on the outskirts of Memphis and earning a degree as an ordained minister. Not that Green spurned music altogether; he went on to release several gospel records, along with hit singles with the likes of Annie Lennox and country signer Lyle Lovett, and he appeared in a Broadway show. Rather, Green writes, he simply ""stopped running after music to give me the meaning and purpose of my life."" In the end, Green's is an inspirational story that tells how an ""average high school graduate, sometime singer in a hometown soul band, part-time jazz crooner, former car-wash employee and jack of trades"" made good. (Sept.)
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