The last time Al Green released a new song, George W. Bush was still in office. That changed today with Green’s first song in ten years, “Before The Next Teardrop Falls,” released as part of Amazon’s new “Produced By” series. The track and it proves Green, 72, hasn’t lost a step. You can listen here.
“Before The Next Teardrop Falls” is a soul deep cut that’s been covered by Jerry Lee Lewis, Linda Martell and Freddy Fender. It was producer Matt Ross-Spang’s idea for Green to cover it, in the vein of the classic work Green did with the late bandleader-producer Willie Mitchell. Ross-Spang has a lot of experience in Memphis music, having began interning at Sun Studio at age 16, working there until 2005 when he moved on to Sam Phillips Recording Service, where he recorded Green’s comeback track.
“As a lifelong Memphian, I’ve always been a massive fan of Al Green and his Producer Willie Mitchell,” said Ross-Spang. “Together they created some of the most enduring soul music. Sonically speaking, Willie and Al also really invented a distinct sound that separated them from Stax or Motown. Growing up in a such a rich musical heritage, I became captivated by these records and long dreamed of working with Al Green. I’ve always loved the Linda Martell version of ‘Before the Next Teardrop Falls’ and kept it back pocket as a great cover idea for him. It follows in the footsteps of Willie [Mitchell] and Al reinterpreting country songs like ‘For the Good Times’ and ‘Funny How Time Slips Away.’ I still can’t believe we actually got to do it!”
Green still occasionally tours, and has led weekly Sunday services at Memphis’ Full Gospel Tabernacle Church since 1976.
The “Produced By” series has included new this week tracks that Ross-Spang recorded with Margo Price and John Prine. The program is set to continue with other producers stepping up.