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Personnel: Al Green (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars); Leon Thomas (clarinet, Fender Rhodes electric piano); Buddy Jarrett (alto saxophone); Ron Echols (tenor & baritone saxophones); Fred Jordan (trumpet, flugelhorn, Fender Rhodes electric piano, synthesizer); Darryl Neely (trumpet, flugelhorn); Johnny Brown (piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano); Reuben Fairfax, Jr. (bass, bell lyne); John Toney (drums, syndrum); Ardis Hardin (drums); Rob Payne (syndrum); Margaret Foxworth, Linda Jones, Harvey Jones (background vocals); James Bass.
Recorded at American Music Recording Studios, Memphis, Tennessee. Includes liner notes by Amy Linden.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
THE BELLE ALBUM marks a turning point in the life and music of Al Green. By 1976, Green had gone through some major changes in both his personal and artistic life. The classic Willie Mitchell production style that catapulted Green to stardom in the early '70s had begun to grow stale, especially in the wake of drummer Al Jackson's death, and the singer was in danger of getting stuck in a rut. Around the same time, Green's girlfriend attacked him and then committed suicide, a traumatic experience that ended with Green embracing the church and eventually becoming a reverend.
On THE BELLE ALBUM, Green wrestles with his spiritual and sensual inspirations. On the title song he observes, "It's you that I want, but it's Him that I need," a concept that presaged his entry into the gospel field. Simultaneously, Green began reinventing his approach to arranging his music. THE BELLE ALBUM was his first self-production, and it stretches beyond the formula of his earlier albums, with many cuts based around Green's acoustic guitar work. Green also experiments with electronic percussion and keyboards, and even flirts with proto-disco rhythms.

  • Released: 09/29/2015
  • Format: Vinyl