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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a real Soul album by the No 1 Soul Man, 24 Jun. 2008
By 
Andy Edwards "staxasoul" (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
Since the first time I heard Al Green (on "Tired of Being Alone", around 1970) I have regarded him as the paramount Soul man, His partnership with Willie Mitchell in the 70's produced some of the most consistent and superb music of that or any other era, and which came to define Soul for many. Soul went out of fashion around the time Al "retired" to his Memphis church, and he has struggled to reach anything approaching those dizzy heights since his return to secular music.

He is not alone in that. Nor is it unique to hitch up with current star names. There have been many attempts by 60's and 70's artists to recreate their success, and the fact that only a few have pulled it off tells you that it takes more than an up to date who's who. What it does take is that those involved have respect - for both the artist and for the work he did, and the ability to draw on that, bring it up to date and avoid cliche. They have managed it on "Lay It Down".

Here they provide what Al Green had in the 70's - a framework where his vocal can run in and out as he pleases, where he can swoop and soar and ad lib as the mood takes him and where his voice is, at times, just another instrument. As for individual tracks, the title track has a beautiful chorus across which Al whoops and wails and "Just For Me" could have lifted the rhythm track from "Let's Stay Together" (but it didn't).

Anyway, you get the picture - this is a real Soul album, from the master of the genre, which stands comparison with Al Green's classic 70's albums - yes it is that good. All of those involved on "Lay It Down" deserve enormous credit for creating a truly superb album - if you love Soul, what are you waiting for, just buy it
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Reverend Green returns & delivers a Grammy winning album!, 28 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
Known for classic soul songs soul music such as `I'm So Tired Of Being Alone' and `Let's Stay Together' amongst many, Al Green returns in 2008 with a new album, Lay It Down.

11 songs that sound they were released in 1972, yet have a 2008 sound. Also featured on this CD is Corrine Bailey Rae, Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and the impressive horn section, the Daptones, members of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings.

The opening track the ballad `Lay It Down' with Anthony Hamilton has all the standard Al Green trademark sound with Hamilton providing background vocals, the rest of the album follows this classic pattern with the tracks like `Too Much', `Stay With Me' which features John Legend. Green gets funky on the up-tempo tracks `You've Got The Love I Need', `I'm Wild About You' and `Standing In The Rain'. `Take Your Time' is a fine ballad with Corrine Bailey Rae as an excellent partner for Green.

Credit to the producers of this album James Poyser, Ahmir Thompson of the hip-hop band The Roots who along with Green decide to make this CD reflect Al Green's classic sound for which he is renowned. This is an excellent album.

Lay It Down
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best work in years!, 3 Dec. 2008
By 
Mr. K. Moody "Ken Moody" (Poulton Le Fylde, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
I have bought AG albums in recent years and while I haven't exactly been disappointed, as they have all had their good moments and Al is a solid performer, they have failed to thrill. I think Al lost something when he got religion - a certain spark that's hard to define. However, he's certainly got his sparks together with this one (and no mention of the "Reverend" bit - I wonder if there's a connection?). Anyway, this is definitely Al's best work in years and in fact it's one of the best albums I've heard in years by anybody. It still does sort of have that Willie Mitchell/AG shuffle and yes the drumming is reminscent of Al Jackson, but it's more funky. The production is superb. I love the guitar and the gorgeous Hammond B3 organ (yes a real one I assume) gets in there tellingly on most tracks. Unless I'm mistaken it's an acoustic album or if there are synths they are very low key. Tight horns and tasteful string arrangements. What more could you want? I personally doubt if the songs themselves will survive the test of time, and don't expect meaningful lyrics - this is soul after all! However, you really don't notice because the performances are so strong and the result is not a dud track to be found. I could do without Corrine Bailey Rae. She always sounds to me as if she might actually be able to sing but can't quite be bothered so just whimpers instead. But that's a minor niggle. Otherwise it's like they started playing music again. Fabulous. Buy it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very similar to the singer's classic 70's releases, 6 July 2008
By 
Reginald D. Garrard "the G-man" (Camilla, GA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
As has been mentioned by others, "Lay it Down" is Al Green's latest effort to replicate the sound that kept him a mainstay on radio during the early 70's. Each of the eleven tracks, including his collaborations with the likes of Anthony Hamilton (on two tracks), Corinne Bailey Rae, and John Legend, features Green at his most soulful, backed by musicians/arrangers that truly know how to support such a legendary talent.

The album's highlight is actually one of the duets: the one with Rae, entitled "Take Your Time." The young singer's unique vocals match Green's heartfelt crooning perfectly, making one long to hear the two on some future effort.

The only complaint of the CD, resulting in the loss of a star, is that a couple of the tracks sound TOO much like each other, making them somewhat interchangeable, adding a little confusion to the listening ear.

One might ask, "Didn't I just hear that song?" as the album makes it spins on the CD player.

With that said, however, "Lay it Down" is still a welcome pleasure for fans of Green and real rhythm and blues, not the Usher/Chris Brown/Justin Timberlake type that passes for the genre today.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Fabulous, 28 April 2008
By 
Alan Cross (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
Only artists as great as Al Green can make a deliberate move back to their "sound" after 30 years and make it fresh and a joy to listen to.

This album is a delight and recaptures the mood of his great days and even without the guest appearances by todays sweet soul stars Corrine Bailey Rae, John Legend and Andrew Hamilton this is a memorable album that will bring great pleasure to those who fell in love with - and to - Al Greens distinctive songs of love in days gone by.

The guest slots are excellent and if they bring new fans to the music of one of the great stars of Soul music then more of the younger generation will appreciate how far much of todays "soul" and "r'n'b" has strayed from its roots and rarely for the better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Al Green Is Love Again (Lay It Down), 6 Aug. 2008
By 
brentalexis (London, United Kingdon) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
"Al Green Is Love" was one of his classic excellent albums released around 1975. However I think he has done it again, this time with "Lay It Down". Isn't it funny how the great artist never loose their touch. In the case of Al its that lovely falsetto voice which seems to work so well with many soulful love songs. Just listen to "Lets Stay Together", "I'm Still In Love With You" and so on.

On Lay It Down the music is fresh yet there are signs of the 70's sound which made him popular. What has been cleverly done is to maintane his own style as we have come to know it but mixed in with an excellent bass line Memphis style horns and modern artist like Corinne Bailey Rae etal. All tracks are enjoyable and there is no excuse to skip any. What this album has done in our houseold, is resurect all his oldies, but this is after we have played Lay It Down a few times.

If you are a Al Green fan like me, then this is a must for your collection. If you are new to Al Green then this will be an enjoyable start especially if you have heard of the modern artist such as Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and Athony Hamilton who all feature in the album. So what are you waiting for, just enjoy.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lay It Down - Al Green, 28 April 2008
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
Soul legend Al Green is rightly feted as music deity, his soul kissed gospel tinged vocals eclipsing a seemingly impossible marriage of the sensuous and the spiritual. In an era which brought us some of the best singers and musicians ever, Marvin (Gaye), Stevie (Wonder), Curtis (Mayfield) as well as James (Brown) and Sly, Al Green stood as an equal with these musical geniuses.

I haven't bought an Al Green record in aeons, my perception rightly or wrongly being of a faded star doing the rounds. Sure he can still reach the high notes and the right notes but back to his best? Come on.

?uestlove, drummer for the band The Roots has seemingly found a new life as the producer du jour, now that his band only occasionally reaches the golden heights of earlier years. His production duties with the new era of Black music geniuses, Common, Erkyah Badu and above all D'Angelo heralds a solid and often spectacular body of work. If there is a common denominator it is a trademark, analogue dull thump of a drum. I cannot think of a better way of describing the sound but it is prevalent in work by all the aforementioned musicians. And this is no bad thing as this deliberate, warm, low key analogue sound perfectly frames the music - where lyrics, song structure and good musicianship rise above the new 'music culture' of instant (free) downloads, celebrity over being an artist and branding over a long-term career. And all this perfectly illustrates the new album by Al Green.

Album opener and title track "Lay It Down" sets a gritty, low to the floor - dare I say it - 'rootsical' sound (pun intended). Second track "Just For Me" takes this a tad further with bright, sparky horns and those delicious high notes of Mr Al Green. The album slowly unfolds over eleven (relatively) short tracks following a theme of fuzzy keyboards (by ace player James Poyser), gently plucked guitar, touching bass and background vocal harmonies. This is an old fashioned soul album, in the mould of all the greats, and it is no worse for that. The common thread of sweet, Seventies soul which runs through the album could be mistaken for sameness but repeated plays bring unexpected delights - a deep, aquarius organ riff in "Stay With Me" or some beautiful strings orchestrated by Larry Gold in "All I Need". Simply this album is stunning and the best straight forward, back to the bone soul album, well, since Amy (Back to Black's The Dap Kings also feature here). Brilliant.

Sanjiv Ahluwalia
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5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome, surprising return to form, 18 Nov. 2009
By 
Simon Bourke (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
It's something of a rarity in the music industry when a musician who's golden era has long passed manages to release an album of anything other than middling quality but the Reverand Al has done it here. Aided and abetted by the genius that is ?uestlove from The Roots this album evokes Green's golden age from the 70's whilst still maintaining a modern, fresh feel.

One minor criticism I have with 'Lay it Down' is the amount of guest vocalists on the album but I suppose thats acceptable given Al's advancing years. All in all a brilliant album which makes you wonder why more of music's vintage artists don't call in for help like Al does here, there's no doubting the excellence of Green but this album wouldn't have been so great without ?uestlove's productio
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Classic Soul, 4 May 2008
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
Wow, I don't write many reviews but had to write one here as this album deserves to be a massive hit. Al has had help from the younger generation of soul artists in the form of Anthony Hamilton, Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and even the Dap Kings horn section. Each make lovely somewhat understated contributions, but make no mistake Al Green is the star of this classic set !! The set flows smoothly through each delicious slice of southern soul. Eleven tracks and they all hit the mark with Al on top form vocally. I'm not even tempted to skip any tracks, this really is music for your soul. I hope that this gets the Grammy recognition it so richly deserves !!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums of 2008, 6 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Lay It Down (Audio CD)
I bought this album a couple weeks ago but i've listened it before and i must say that it's one of my all time favourite albums.Al Green has a marvelous voice and his unique way to perform is amazing.
This album is a breath of fresh air; very smooth very Al Green.Definitely one of my best buys.I absolutely recomend it.
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