Al Green: Lay It Down

B

Al Green

Album: Lay It Down
Label: Blue Note

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It's tempting to call Lay It Down a return to Al Green's classic form, but it's really a painstaking re-creation of his classic form. Working with ?uestlove from The Roots and a roll call of neo-soul stars (including Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, and The Dap-Kings) Lay It Down is Green's perfectly realized tribute to his own past, with all the trademarks—the slinking guitar, the soft organ, the pulsing drumbeat, the snappy horns—placed impeccably in all the right, old places. It's no small compliment to say that anything off Lay It Down could be played next to album tracks from I'm Still In Love With You or Call Me, and only hardcore Green fans would be able to place the vintage. (It helps that Green's impossibly silky vocals are as well-preserved as the music.) Because Lay It Down recalls the sound of Green's best so well, it also demands comparison with his best songs, a benchmark the album never really approaches. ("Just For Me" comes closest.) But by any other standard, Lay It Down is a worthy addition to one of soul's most distinguished discographies.

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