"I do a lot of chirping in [the shower]."
The Rev. Al Green, celebrated purveyor of 1970s soul, is proffering the old-style stuff again. The Arkansas-born singer with the otherworldly falsetto revisits his signature sound on a new album, "Lay It Down," which harks back to Green's heyday before he quit secular music in 1979 to concentrate on gospel. "The album has the same type of feel," he says. "It's a real album. It says: 'I love you.' "
-- J. Freedom du Lac
Think you'll ever run out of things to say about love?
No, no. I wrote 18 songs for this project, and we didn't use but 11. I've got these other songs back in the house, telling me: "Hey, what about me?" (Laughs.)
A h mir Thompson, who co-produced "Lay It Down," says that "no one has range like Al Green," that you have five different voices -- from falsetto to the ferocious, soulful Al Green. Which is your favorite?
I don't know. It's like asking me to pick between "Let's Stay Together" and "Tired of Being Alone." I love them both. If I do have this range or whatever it is, I don't practice it. I didn't go to school for it. I was taught to keep cattle and sheep and goats. But I used to think that hitting high notes was hard. I'd muscle up and try to hit them. And then one day, they said: "Al, cut it out. They're not hard. Stop all that gearing up to do it and just do it."
Do you sing in the shower?
Yeah, I do a lot of chirping in there. That's what the people say downstairs in the hotel. "When he gets in the shower, he'll sing them all for you. Just keep the water going." (Laughs.)
What do you sing?
I may sing anything: "Tired of Being Alone," a little Hank Williams, Sam Cooke. I may start singing a love song, go to a gospel song and then wind up on a jazz tune. That's kind of the way Al is. He's soulful when it's time to be soulful, and he can turn around and sing jazz, which is the next album he's going to do. Damn, I just gave you the scoop.
Why does Al Green refer to himself as Al Green? I kind of set off and look at him myself because I be trying to figure out what he's going to do. What is Al gonna do? I never know. (Laughs.)