Album Review: Al Green - Lay It Down

Upon returning to R&B after thirty years of recording only Gospel, many singers would feel pressured into bringing in some young, hot producer to “update their sound.” For Lay It Down, Al Green did in fact enlist some fresh talent in the form of ?uestlove and James Poyser of The Roots, but instead of some ridiculous attempt to make Green sound like Justin Timberlake, ?uest has helped deliver the classic Al Green sound that made him a legend.The producers deserve credit for their restraint and respect for the artist. Lay It Down doesn’t sound like “Al Green ft. The Roots” or “Al Green (Roots Remix),” it just sounds like Al Green. While there are plenty of little ?uestlove trademarks to be found if you know where to look for them (“What More Do You Want From Me”), the spotlights stays on Green.From the opening moments of the title track, it’s clear that you’re listening to an experienced artist who won’t fall into the trap or trying to cram himself into a newer style. Green confidently leads Anthony Hamilton on “You’ve Got the Love I Need” to create music that doesn’t have the forced, inappropriate feel that these kids of collaborations often lead to.Whoever decided to bring this group of musicians together deserves one of those giant cake-sized cookies they sell at the mall. Al Green is going just as strong as ever Lay It Down was created with the kind of care he deserves. It’s too early to say that these tracks will stand up over the years the way that his other classics have, but for now, they’re plenty close enough.