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Lay It Down

96 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 27, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Lay It Down with 11 tracks by Al Green. Friends laying it down with Al Green are Anthony Hamilton on the opening album title track and on 'You've Got the Love I Need'. Corinne Bailey Rae sings with Al on 'Take Your Time' and John Legend joins in on 'Stay With Me (By The Sea)'.

Few performers have ever been so inimitable as the Reverend Al Green, so it's no surprise that the starry young collaborators who join him on the superb Lay It Down simply let the man sing in the way he knows best, and make their own contributions fit around his. Despite the presence of such luminaries as John Legend, Anthony Hamilton and Corinne Bailey Rae and the support of co-producers James Poyser and the Roots' Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson, this is very much Green's show. But although the smart production attempts to update his classic sound, Lay It Down recognizes and preserves its enduring strengths. ?uestlove's brilliant drumming perfectly recaptures the languid snap the late Al Jackson Jr. brought to Green's legendary seventies hits, Larry Gold's string arrangements are measured and minimal while crack guitarist Chalmers 'Spanky' Alford, on one of his last sessions, demonstrates precisely how to balance rhythm and detail (The album is dedicated to his memory). Songs like the elegant title track, where Green out-emotes the decades-younger Hamilton, "Take Your Time", a lovely deep soul duet with Bailey Rae, and the quietly propulsive closer "Standing In The Rain" are naggingly timeless, though there really isn’t a weak track on this excellent record. Lay It Down is a gift from one generation to the man that inspired them.--Steve Jelbert

1. Lay It Down (feat. Anthony Hamilton)
2. Just For Me
3. You've Got the Love I Need (feat. Anthony Hamilton)
4. No One Like You
5. What More Do You Want From Me
6. Take Your Time (feat. Corinne Bailey Rae)
7. Too Much
8. Stay With Me (By the Sea) (feat. John Legend)
9. All I Need
10. I'm Wild About You
11. Standing In the Rain

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 27, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • ASIN: B0016A2FFG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,266 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 74 people found the following review helpful By lovebeauty on May 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Al Green drafted in some soulful stars de jour for this project in the shape of Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae.
He also brought in hip-hop luminaries Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson, from Philadelphia's the Roots, and James Poyser, another big name from Philly.
"With a cherry-picked backing band, which includes the Dap Kings horns (who feature on Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black"), the duo capture Green's familiar laid-back, orchestral groove, while also dropping hints towards "urban" modernism".- Andrew Perry
This should not lead you to think that this is an undignified musical hip transplant for the old master.
The rhythms, the jazzy chord progressions, the aching falsetto and the love-infused subject matter of these songs have much in common with the stellar tracks Green cut in the first half of the Seventies.
Inevitably, though, the songwriting itself can't match the quality of the classics now etched in our memory.
But this is still a fine product from a singer whose capacity to dazzle has barely waned in 40 years.
These arrive most noticeably via a trio of guest vocalists, Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae, who each wisely choose to complement, rather than attempt to outgun, their host.
Conceived as a way of uniting Green with a new generation of soul and R&B singers, "Lay It Down" might have been an embarrassing attempt to modernise an old star. Instead, the producer Ahmir Thompson of the hip-hop band the Roots has gone the other way.
The younger musicians have to fit in with Green's laid-back, slow-burning sound, in contrast to the excessive slickness of modern R&B.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Nse Ette TOP 1000 REVIEWER on May 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Reverend Al Green's latest is an 11 track CD co-produced by Ahmir ?uestlove Thompson of The Roots. Still in excellent vocal form, it is an album steeped in seventies soul; that lovely falsetto, stabbing horns, and lilting percussion, and sounding untouched by time. Despite ?uestlove's Hip hop roots (pardon the pun), the album sounds like it was recorded in the seventies.

He gets help from some of the current stable of Neo Soul vocalists on a few tracks; Anthony Hamilton on the tender opening Gospel-tinged title track "Lay it down", and "You've got the love I need", UK songstress Corinne Bailey Rae's jazzy vocals on the slow burning "Take your time", and John legend on the absolutely stunning "Stay with me (By the sea)" (lovely delicate vocals from the pair and great ethereal harmonies). The last pair are my favourites.

The lilting "Just for me" reminds me a bit of his classic "Let's stay together", "No one like you" is a beautiful ballad with sprinklings of horns and organ, "What more do you want from me" is a bit more upbeat, the piano ballad "Too much", the laid back semi acoustic ballad "All I need", the sunny, upbeat "I'm wild about you", and closing also on an upbeat note is "Standing in the rain" (with gritty vocals).

This album is great with excellent musicianship (great harmonies, guitars, horns and percussion), real soul music in an era where there are loads of pretenders to the throne.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on May 28, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Reverend Al Green's back and he's sounding as good as ever. Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and James Poyser of the Roots produced "Lay it Down" and they're not messing with a good thing. They don't try to change up Green's backing arrangements or vocal stylings too much so this CD sounds like a 1970's classic Al Green recording.

Plus, they add some amazing new school performers to the mix, including John Legend, Corrine Bailey Rae, and Anthony Hamilton. The Dap Kings' horn section heard on both Amy Winehouse's and Sharon Jones' recent CD is here and adding amazing backing.

It's hard to name a favorite in this 11-song CD, but here are a few standouts:

"You've got the luv I need," is going to be used by men everywhere as a marriage proposal. Bet they stand a better chance of the ladies saying yes with Al on their side. Anthony Hamilton's pretty incredible as a backup--he almost steals the show, but is a consummate performer enough not to.

"Take Your Time" with Corrine Bailey Rae is a sweet, soulful number that plays just like the title promises.

"Stay with me (By the Sea)" adds John Legend into the mix.

Al Green really would not have to make another CD ever to keep his standing as one of the finest soul singers in the business, but I for one, am very glad he did. He's an excellent performer and it's good to see him still out there.

Rebecca Kyle, May 2008
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By buzzdavis on June 26, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Is he really laying it down? Uh,,,,,I'm not sure actually. Sure this has the trademark Al Green sound and isms that did the business back in the day, and it's good to hear all that again, but to be fair, the strength and quality of many songs isn't really what I'd prefer to have Al wrap his tonsils around. Is there a monster track on offer? Hardly. It's a pleasant enough album, but then I go, wait a minute, this is Al Green, cmon dude. Is there a Let's Stay Together, a I'm Still In Love With You, a Back Up Train, a Love And Happiness, a Have You Been Making Out O.K., even a Judy on offer? (I could go on obviously, I mean this IS Al Green) Well they are nowhere to be found. Again, it's all riiiiiight, but Lay It Down is not a playlist staple on my ponderosa. Having said all that, I do like the title track, and love the groove of both I'm Wild About You, and Standing In The Rain, and upon reflection, feel this trio may indeed have sat well with the aforementioned tracks on those great albums he was making. However, I'll go back to his earlier stuff when I've got to get my Al on, or I need to remind the young uns what real music is all about.
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Aborted fade on "Take Your Time"?
I don't have this disc but that abnormality is present on many titles that I have. One chorus might be twice as loud as the verse in extreme cases. Quite often its barely noticeable. It's definitely not your disc.
Jul 17, 2008 by Autumn Aarilyn |  See all 2 posts
New Al Green with Production by ?uestlove
Sounds good to me. Looks like there's a bit of money behind his latest CD then.
Apr 17, 2008 by James Montgomery |  See all 2 posts
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