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Greatest Hits, Al Green photo

Album: Greatest Hits
Artist: Al Green
Released: April, 1975
Label: Hi Records
Length: 35:14


Saturday night is ‘Scrabble and Soul.’ This started years ago when my wife, Joanie, and I searched for ways to entertain ourselves as our children slept. We got out the Scrabble board and put on some records.

Intending to both win and follow the rules, we each draw tiles, and the game begins. My natural Scrabble style is focused on spelling pleasing words, letting the points add up as they may. For example: llama, 7 points. Joanie’s Scrabble style is ‘Kill City.’ She focuses on efficient point accumulation: jam, 12 points. That’s pre-bonus points. Something was always getting doubled or tripled. 

Losing game after game, I learned that the best Scrabble offense was a Scrabble defense.  In order to not get blown away, I learned to refrain from using my fun yet low scoring words and providing her easy access to the Triple Word Score.

Enter Al Green and the greatest Greatest Hits album of all time. Of course, Al Green makes Scrabble more romantic. Everyone knows that.  More than that, Al Green shifts our Scrabble intent.  

As ‘Here I am (Come and Take Me)’ plays, I embrace being vulnerable. I play a single tile and change ‘vary’ to ‘ovary’. It’s the type of wordplay that induces a pleasing chemical release in my brain. I know full well that the O has created an easy path to the Triple Word Score square. Perhaps it’s the wordplay, the music, the time with my wife, or a mixture of them all, but I’m feeling good, and it’s OK if she runs up the score.

The rules loosen as we switch to the B-side. “Let’s Stay Together” plays, and our turns start to take a bit longer. “Go ahead,” Joanie suggests as I hesitate to lay down tiles, “check the dictionary to see if the word exists.”

At just over a half-hour long, the album ends too soon. Flipping back to the A-side rewards us with “I’m So Tired Of Being Alone”, and the vibe continues. We laugh at ourselves, playing Scrabble late into the night. “Who else would do this with me but you?” we both say. Joanie smiles and lays down an S at the end of ‘Xi.’


Drink: Red wine, preferably a $8.99 Côtes du Rhône from Trader Joe’s.


image: Joseph Daly