STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 48232-14385 LABEL: Blue Note 3484492 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
The resurgence of Al's career in recent years where he has returned to the sound of his '70s heyday and record non-gospel material has been celebrated by critics and fans alike. Once his silky smooth voice was the bedroom soundtrack for a generation of listeners and now he has returned with as much sass but turned down the sauciness to create a romantic record that finds him in fine voice. You still suspect he could sing the phone book and make it sound compelling. On "Lay It Down", it's all there - the voice, the string arrangements and the brass stabs bringing each song to life. There are two collaborations with Anthony Hamilton on "You've Got The Love I Need" and the title cut which both work nicely. Britain's very own Corinne Bailey-Rae shows up to collaborate on the slow soul of "Take Your Time" and their voices are blended to perfection - with her lazy sultry voice, she's an excellent choice of singing partner. Elsewhere John Legend shows up to add his talents to "Stay With Me (By The Sea)" but it's not simply the guest list that makes this album stand out. The single "No One Like You" again has all the elements that make a great Al Green record - catchy hooky chorus, the swooping voice, spare horns and the overall soulfulness of a stripped down rhythm section. It worked in the '70s and though it's unlikely he'll record material that repeats the success of those days, this is pretty darn close!
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