Before Al Green became the Reverend Al Green he released the Belle Album in 1977. Lots of things were looming against him around that time: disco’s rise, his kind of soul being relegated to quiet storm radio hours, and he just losing the plot on what kind of music to make. This track “Loving You” wraps up a great turn of fate Al managed to latch on before finally moving on to his more religious albums. For Belle, he decided to take back the reins and nearly all of the production, going so far as playing all the guitar parts in this release.
“Loving You”, my pick, is marvelous, its another perfect Sunday song: its devotional, the groove is so easy to enjoy, and the delivery is something else. I value Al Green for his restraint, all of his best tracks have some kind of masculine tenderness expressed through his subdued vocals. Its no wonder his songs could swoon anybody. However, what’s cool about this track is just how strident he sounds. This ain’t the hushed Al we know…this is a man with fervor. I just love how exalted this track gets. God, his woman, and a beautiful day just makes Al play, sing, and express louder than ever before. It doe so, to the point that it sounds positively righteous. In this case, its the type of sound and fury that signifies something.
Check out a performance of the title track in Tokyo by Al in 1978 before you check out “Loving You”, many people testified that night: