Lay It Down (2008)
|Artist: Al Green|
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|In his highly-anticipated third Blue Note album of new material, R&B/soul legend Al Green delivers a new urban sound with Lay It Down, a fantastic collection of original songs carefully crafted by Green and co-producers Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson (The Roots) and James Poyser (Jill Scott, Mariah Carey, Erykah Badu). With arrangements showcasing The Dap-Kings Horns and strings by Larry Gold, all couched in Green's rich and timeless vocals -- highlighted by duet partners Corinne Bailey Rae, Anthony Hamilton, and John Legend -- this album is truly classic with a modern twist, expressing the best of the history and future of R&B/soul.|
This is Green's best work in years and will cater to audiences young and old through the marriage of his retro sound and the hip-hop & pop/urban mainstream successes of the album's contributors.
Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Pairing soul legend Al Green with hip-hop producers James Poyser and Amir "?uestlove" Thompson may seem like a dicey prospect to old school fans, but those same fans will celebrate LAY IT DOWN. The album plays like a return to the classic sound of 1970s albums like LET'S STAY TOGETHER and I'M STILL IN LOVE WITH YOU without sounding slavishly retro, while the guest stars and the crack studio band accentuate the Reverend's still-vital genius.|
|Like Green's classic work, LAY IT DOWN blends Southern soul, funk, jazz, blues, and balladry into a gorgeously smooth concoction that is steamy, surging, mellow, and moving all at once. The title track, a duet with Anthony Hamilton, kicks things off in style with a floating, string-sweetened vibe that showcases the restrained prowess of both singers. (Hamilton also appears on the groove-driven "You've Got the Love I Need.") Other highlights include the ballad "No One Like You," and duets with John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae. Brilliant in its controlled passion and silky, atmospheric mood, LAY IT DOWN is a latter-day soul gem from one of the genre's masters.|
Producer: Chalmers "Spanky" Alford; James Poyser; Ahmir Thompson; Adam Blackstone
|Corinne Bailey Rae|
Al Green - Lay It Down - CD Review
By: Pico Blogcritics.org Reviews
Published on: 11/19/2008 9:59 PM
|This past May, soul giant Al Green released his third album on the Blue Note label, Lay It Down. While the prior two albums recreated some of the magic from his glory days in the seventies, this one tinkers with the formula a bit. First, longtime producer and song collaborator Willie Mitchell was replaced with hip-hoppers James Poyser and Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson. Secondly, Green brought in a small parade of current R&B stars to share vocal duties with him, à la Santana's Supernatural....read the full review|
Associated Artists and Works
|Release Date : 05/26/2008|
|Original Release Date : 2008|
|Catalog ID : 3484492|
|Label : Blue Note (Label)|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00094634844925|
- 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here's no replicating Green's heaven-sent voice. On slow-jams like 'Too Much,' Green's instrument is in remarkable fettle, gliding from burly lower-register growls to an ethereal falsetto."
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "LAY IT DOWN makes it clear that Green's devotion to the primacy of his music's groove has only deepened with age."
- 3 stars out of 5 -- "Sounding as sweet as ever as he sashays into his 60s....[T]he sparse contributions of the Dap-King horns make pleasing ripples..."
The title of Al Green's Lay It Down truly tells it like it is. Conceived as a collaboration between the soul legend and a handful of gifted young admirers from the worlds of contemporary R&B and hip hop, the album is drawn from a series of inspired sessions that yielded the most high-spirited, funky and often lushly romantic songs of Green's latter-day career. The album is a refreshingly old school jam, with everyone laying down the music together, face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul.
The project features the sophisticated R&B voices of singer-songwriters John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae, and it was co-produced with Green by two of hip-hop's most innovative players, drummer Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson from The Roots and keyboardist James Poyser, the go-to guy for high-profile artists ranging from Erykah Badu to Common. Add in Brooklyn's celebrated Dap-King Horns (Sharon Jones, Amy Winehouse), guitarist Chalmers "Spanky" Alford (Mighty Clouds of Joy, Joss Stone) and bassist Adam Blackstone (Jill Scott, DJ Jazzy Jeff), among others, and you've got a modern soul-music dream team, fronted by the most expressive voice in the business.
"The reason why we are doing this is because we all idolize Al Green," declares ?uestlove. "Even today, nobody has range like him."