One of my favorite parts of the 9am Deep Dive is sharing the original version of songs many people do not realize are cover songs. “Take Me to the River” is a great example. Al Green and Teenie Hodges wrote and recorded the song. A few years later, both Syl Johnson and Talking Heads charted with their versions of the song.
While David Byrne and Talking Heads are not known for their cover songs, they added their quirky twist to “Take Me to the River.” Musicians including Levon Helm of The Band recorded a version for his solo album. Hard rockers Foghat even put their spin on the tune. One of the best takes on Green’s legendary song, though, came from Mavis Staples and Sam Moore at the Kennedy Center honors for Al Green.
Al Green, usually called The Reverend Al Green these days, wrote and performed noted 1970s soul hits. Following a personal tragedy, he became and ordained minister and recorded many gospel songs. Green faced repeated allegations of intimate partner violence through the 1970s and 1980s. He still preaches occasionally, but also performs his secular hits once again, just not in the church.