One Of Al Green’s Songs Righted My Ship For A While

Mount Digitalium

If I were younger by about 30 years I’d buy a good pair of hiking boots and some mountaineering gear and then haul my ass up to the top of Mount Digitalium. Once at its summit I’d catch my breath before laying into the resident gods who control the performance of the internet and of computer hardware and software on Planet Earth. These titans are, needless to say, magnificently intelligent. They also are f*cking pains. And they seem to get a big kick out of being the latter.

“Yo!” I’d yell at them. “I can’t take it no more. It’s bad enough that my desktop computer has had a nasty case of the freezing-ups for the last year. And a worse case of the displaying-message-alerts-that-make-no-sense. But did you have to slip a bottomless bottle of vodka to the computer monitor two weeks ago? I can barely make out anything on it since then. It’s taken wobbly and blurry to Olympian heights.”

“And that’s not all,” I’d continue. “This morning my wife Sandy wanted to take a look at her most recent credit card statement, wobbly and blurry be damned. She signed into her account, and you know what? That’s a stupid question because of course you know what, seeing that you caused the problem in the first place. I’ll tell you anyway — the statements section of the website was empty. Nothing was available to examine or to print out!

I would be shaking like crazy at this point. And the gods undoubtedly would let me shake for nearly forever before one of them made a comment or two.

“Thanks for stopping by, Earthling,” the chief god, Malfunctional, finally would say. “Now, though, it’s time for you to be on your way. Suck it up, fella, and figure out what your next steps should be. And, by the way, nobody ever said that life was easy for humans.”

That’s true. Nobody in their right mind ever did.

Back to what passes for reality. Still shaking, I fled the house and left Sandy to figure out what were the appropriate next steps, as I needed to be somewhere soon. Namely, at a local supermarket where once a week I bag and then load bakery items, donated by the market, into my car. Sandy delivers these goods to the food pantry she volunteers at.

Naturally, the credit card website situation wouldn’t disappear from my cranium. Man, I need to hire a personal assistant to handle tech issues for me and Sandy. It’d be worth it. That would free up more time for other aspects of living to rattle my very rattle-able nerves.

As I pulled out of the driveway, though, relief arrived. It came in the form of music, as often is the case for me. My benefactor was SiriusXM satellite radio’s The Loft, a channel that plays all sorts of good music. And the tune that filled the car’s interior and my ears as my journey to the supermarket began was a superb number that I hadn’t heard for some time: Al Green’s Tired Of Being Alone.

You know, there are hundreds of recordings that, when I hear them, I say to myself that they are just about as good as any recording possibly could be. That’s exactly what I thought when Tired Of Being Alone shot into my blood vessels and set me vibrating. A few simple, clear and rolling notes from an electric guitar, a handful of piercing trumpet blasts, and drums that snap steadily and regally set the table for Al’s entry. And what a pleading, powerful entry he makes. His is one of the great voices of the last 50 years, vulnerable when it needs to be, strong and sure when it doesn’t.

Not to downplay Green’s singing even a little bit, but I have to mention that I’m in love with the late Al Jackson Jr.’s drum work on Tired Of Being Alone. It couldn’t be more alive, even at the 1:47 mark when, empathizing with Green’s meandering, uncertain thoughts, it softens into a clickety-clack pattern for a spell. But when the spell breaks, Jackson’s drums explode, truly explode, as Green’s voice moves into vivid mode and female backup singers kick in loftily.

It all ends shortly after this, the dials in the studio having been gently turned to fade out the song. Maybe I wish that a different choice had been made conclusion-wise. I’d be a happy boy to be able to listen to another minute or more of Al’s and the gals’ and the instrumentalists’ amazing ride.

Or maybe it’s better that the proceedings were cut off artificially. After all, I was left breathless, a very good way to be left.

Al Green wrote Tired Of Being Alone in 1968. For various unimportant reasons it didn’t come out until 1971, and has been a pop music staple ever since. It’s a song about love, as most songs are. Al loves a girl. He can’t stop thinking about her. But she has sent him packing, and Al wants her back. He knows, though, that she’s unlikely to change her mind. But a guy can fantasize, can’t he? And that’s what Al does, ruminating during the song’s middle section about the nature of lost love and what he might be able to do to re-win a heart. With these words Al describes what many of us have felt at one time or another:

I’ve been wanting to get next to you, baby,
Sometimes I fold my arms and I say,
Oh baby, yeah, needing you has proven to me,
To be my greatest dream, yeah.

Many folks have heard Al Green sing Tired Of Being Alone not only on record but on stage. But will anyone ever encounter a stage version again? Hard to say. About 40 years ago religion called Al, and he, for the most part, left the pop music scene (his most recent tour was in 2012). He is the pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle church in Memphis, Tennessee. In an interview last year he left the door open for a return to public performance (click here), but I’m not holding my breath.

Yes, Al is doing what he must. And as he does so his many hits live on. I was a lucky individual to hear one of them on my way to the supermarket. It steadied my jangly nerves for a while. Thanks, Al. I needed that.

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments or about sharing this story)

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54 thoughts on “One Of Al Green’s Songs Righted My Ship For A While

  1. bone&silver September 21, 2017 / 2:54 am

    I hate technology when it’s not doing its one and only job, especially computers. And I love Al Green!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. BuntyMcC September 21, 2017 / 7:44 am

    How about the next time my daily call comes offering to fix my Windows I redirect them to you?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. S. A. Young September 21, 2017 / 7:46 am

    As soon as I saw the title of your post, before I’d even clicked the link, that song immediately began to play in my head. Of course, now it’s stuck there. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2017 / 9:59 am

      Hi. The same thing happened to me in the course of writing this story. It’s one of those songs that can do that.

      Like

  4. Alyson September 21, 2017 / 7:49 am

    Oh I feel your frustration re the Gods of the Internet Neil – I had to have my new PC reset to factory settings 3 times in the first 8 months of ownership – I pay a hefty fee to have everything stored in the Cloud but it’s so darned time-consuming to restore it all that the gods are now welcome to it – Can’t be bothered looking for it any more!

    As for Al Green I think you know that I wrote about one of his songs just the other week – Wonderful stuff that can both break your heart or calm the soul – Glad he had the calming effect on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Joyce Hamilton September 21, 2017 / 8:10 am

    Good song! Yes technology is frustrating!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The Artist's Child September 21, 2017 / 9:01 am

    Computer glitches are the biggest time wasters of them all. I hope your problem is easily solved. The right music does help stress. Al Green has a very soulful voice which is bound to lift anyone’s spirits. Great song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2017 / 10:05 am

      Hello, and thanks for stopping by.

      I suppose that everyone gets frazzled now and then by computer and website problems. It’s all part of the modern world.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. tanjabrittonwriter September 21, 2017 / 11:57 am

    I think all of us can commiserate when it comes to dealing with the fickle gods of Mount Digitalium (I love your neologism). Glad Al came to your rescue at the right moment. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Janet Sunderland September 21, 2017 / 1:46 pm

    Yeaaaaaaa…..in the middle of my own computer/technology wonkiness, I got up and danced! Thank you!!! (hopefully you only swayed in the car).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aunt Beulah September 21, 2017 / 3:45 pm

    I have to say, Neil, that technology problems make me so depressed and desperate that not even this admittedly wonderful song by Al Green, which I have long enjoyed, could cheer me up. Guess you’re made of more positive energy than I am.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2017 / 4:40 pm

      Hi Janet. I don’t know about that. Tech problems make me shudder. And they seem to occur on a pretty regular basis.

      Like

  10. C C Cedras September 21, 2017 / 3:53 pm

    Gosh, Neil. You got me running through my favorite AG songs in my head so then I started playing them all on YouTube and now it’s been, like, 45 minutes. Dang.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Fictionophile September 21, 2017 / 3:58 pm

    Love Al Green! This particular song makes me mellow, and it makes me want to slow dance with my hubby of 40 years. Powerful stuff!
    I hope your computer woes are behind you now.
    Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and buy a new one…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 21, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      Hello Lynne. Thanks for visiting.

      It’s our desktop that’s heading south. Got to replace it with something.

      But we have a laptop that’s operating OK. And smart phones. So we’re in decent shape overall.

      It’s amazing how so many people, including me, are so dependent on these devices.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Cindy September 21, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    I had forgotten about this great song until I clicked on your link. Definitely a mood-lifting finger-snapper!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. cincinnatibabyhead September 22, 2017 / 11:54 am

    Man does that sound good! That makes my day better. Like the Al Jackson nod. Absolutely love Al for doing his thing and following his path. Thanks for the AG reminder. That is one good radio station.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 22, 2017 / 1:35 pm

      Hello there, CB.
      Al might not be performing much anymore, but at least he gets played on radio/Spotify/etc. quite a bit. Great singer.

      Like

  14. George September 23, 2017 / 2:29 am

    Wonderful record and the perfect balm for nerves left jangled by our utter dependence on technology and it’s seemingly wilful ability to frustrate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 23, 2017 / 7:38 am

      Hi George. Utter dependence is right. Without modern technology, most of us would be lost.

      Thanks for adding your thoughts. Enjoy the weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. andrewcferguson September 23, 2017 / 12:45 pm

    Great work, Neil – only thing I would say is it could be wider in scope than digital technolgy, as I find all inanimate objects has the power to frustrate and annoy … !

    In other news, I did the draw yesterday for the Wrong Box mug (you remember, for anyone who’d reviewed it?) and guess what? You won! If you can send me your home address to andrewcferguson [at] blueyonder [dot] co [dot] uk, I’ll send it over.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. hairytoegardener September 23, 2017 / 1:09 pm

    Hubby was a BIG Al Green fan and listened to him constantly. I wouldn’t know of Al Green if it hadn’t been for my husband. Great song!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 23, 2017 / 2:12 pm

      Hello there.

      Because of writing this story, Tired of Being Alone is semi-stuck in my head.

      Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the weekend.

      Like

  17. elbycloud September 24, 2017 / 10:41 am

    My hubby’s traveling today, on our anniversary. I’m sending him this link and pretending I thought of it all by myself. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. America On Coffee September 26, 2017 / 11:02 pm

    Something how music depict our lives. I might i add, even in some precarious situations.😕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger September 27, 2017 / 7:07 am

      Hi AOC.
      Thanks for visiting.
      Right — what would we do without music? It’s basic to what we are.

      Like

      • America On Coffee September 27, 2017 / 7:17 am

        True! Music often defines who we are. It also punctuates events and episodes of our lives. In a lot of ways it is an elixir, and often an anecdote. Ok …uncovered, and you guessed right, I’m an oldie but goodie!😕🎵🎵

        Liked by 1 person

  19. dweezer19 October 1, 2017 / 8:52 am

    I so love Al. How Can You Mend a Broekn Heart and Let’s Stay Together my faves. Sorry about the computer woes. He also does a bag up job with For the Good Times.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Jazz Jaeschke October 1, 2017 / 2:37 pm

    Super … just what I needed to read today! For past week or so I’ve been responding emotionally (and maybe a bit rationally) to an unexpected blast of past music – headed to the grocery store, like you! — in my case it was the Pointer Sisters’ “Fairytale”, a song with a whole cluster of connotations and associations for me. Wow. Now, reading your post I applaud the role music plays in bridging backward as well as intensifying “right now”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 1, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Hello there. Thanks a lot for adding your thoughts.
      Music is essential to many of us. Hard to imagine what life would be like without it.

      Like

  21. Amy Henry October 7, 2017 / 3:02 pm

    I so get this–music saving your life (or at least the moment). My husband likes to tease me that I know every lyric to every song from 1962 to 1980. Well, that’s an exaggeration, but I know a lot of them because whatever got you through middle childhood and adolescence will get you through life. Even when your computer’s bent on throwing you back to the Stone Age.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 7, 2017 / 4:07 pm

      Hello Amy. Thanks a lot for visiting.
      Absolutely — the music a person grows up with usually becomes a major part of their life.

      Don’t know what we’d do without music.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. jeanleesworld October 9, 2017 / 10:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this experience. I love how music opens a drain for the horrible emotions or gives a window for the beautiful ones. I hope things were rectified online!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. lievelee October 12, 2017 / 9:19 pm

    Your story leaves me on edge… Did Sally sort out her credit card statements?????

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 12, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Hi.
      Yeah, it was a temporary glitch on the company’s website.

      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it.

      Like

  24. boomergirl47 October 13, 2017 / 10:07 am

    Music therapy! Good story. I was you for a while there. I’m a low-tech girl so I can relate to the computer issues. Fortunately, I’ve got a high-tech son under the same roof!

    Liked by 1 person

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