The Dead Shall Rise

And Al Green has risen at the Long Beach Blues Fest

But I digress. In Green's case of grand misfortune, an ex-girlfriend broke into his apartment one fateful day in 1974 and hurled a pot of boiling grits onto his fine, brown frame as he was getting out of his bathtub (youch!), burning the whatsis out of our hero's parts and forever altering his career trajectory. To Green, this was all an obvious sign that Jesus was righteously pissed off. By 1976, he'd bought a church, become an ordained pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle and begun concentrating his musical efforts on the realm of the sacred. In 1980, following yet another Jesus-is-displeased incident (a nasty fall from a stage), Green, for a time, completely abandoned secular music and became a full-time gospel artist.

This was all jake by me, as it freed Green up to execute his shimmering vocal stunts on his own terms, without any regard to commercial pressure or utilization of any contemporary date-stamping studio malarkey such as synth-drums, beatboxes or other ludicrous methods, which ruined many an otherwise fine soul singer's efforts in the Ugly '80s. There have been cautious and somewhat halfhearted returns to pop and R&B for Green in the ensuing years, but singing gospel remains the man's passion and forte. Green is still a relatively young man at 57, a marvelously physical performer who gleefully struts and stomps about a stage as he works his vocal magic, still able to hit high notes to make canines run for the hills as he collects brownie points for the Almighty.

If I don't love Al Green, well, then grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry and Mona Lisa was a man!

The 24th Annual Long Beach Blues Festival at the Cal State Long Beach Athletic Field, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 985-7115. Sat.-Sun., gates open 9 a.m., music starts 11 a.m. $40 per day or $70 for both days.
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