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Al Green - Lay It Down

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Lay It Down

Al Green

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The big question that greets listeners encountering Al Green's third Blue Note album, Lay It Down, is: what happens when you put that amazing soul-drenched voice in the hands of hip-hop producers Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of the Roots and James Poyser, and add a slew of superstar guests? Answer: a killer Al Green soul album. Thompson and Poyser weren't interested in straying far from the classic sound Green and producer Willie Mitchell created at Hi Records in the 1970s, but they did want to place it in a more contemporary -- albeit analog -- setting. Green cut his previous offerings for the label -- 2003's I Can't Stop and 2005's Everything's OK -- with Mitchell, and the results were good, not great, albums because Green's sound was simply re-created nostalgically. Even though Thompson and Poyser have been very creative here with their nuanced percussive, textural, and dynamic touches, Lay It Down is more of a classic-sounding Al Green record than either of its predecessors. The producers are at the core of a studio band (on drums and various analog keyboards, respectively) that also includes Mighty Clouds of Joy guitarist Chalmers "Spanky" Alford (in whose memory the album is dedicated), bassist Adam Blackstone (Jill Scott), and the Dap-Kings Horns. Lay It Down is a slow-burning, solid groover of a soul record; its dynamics and textures shift subtly and purposely to keep Green's voice at the center of its sound. If there is a flaw on the set, it's that individual tracks don't assert themselves immediately. Green, Poyser, and Thompson were going for immediacy and feel: nine of the album's 11 cuts had basic tracks done in their first session. They achieved their goal and then some -- the album feels of such an atmospheric piece and is so present that it initially comes off as a whole. That said, there is no better place to spend 45 minutes than in Lay It Down's dreamy, sensual, gritty, and tender sound world. ~ Thom Jurek

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Lay It Down

Al Green

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1
Lay It Down 00:04:30

Jimmy Douglass, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Anthony Hamilton, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

2
Just For Me 00:03:58

Chalmers Alford, ComposerLyricist - Adam Blackstone, ComposerLyricist - David Guy, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, MainArtist, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, ComposerLyricist - Neal Sugarman, Composer - Ahmir Thompson, ComposerLyricist - Ian Henrickson Smith, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green under exclusive license to The Blue Note Label Group

3
You've Got The Love I Need 00:04:14

Jimmy Douglass, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Anthony Hamilton, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

4
No One Like You 00:04:31

Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

5
What More Do You Want From Me 00:04:13

Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Danny Sadownick, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

6
Take Your Time 00:04:37

Jimmy Douglass, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Owen Biddle, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Corinne Bailey Rae, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Virgin Records Ltd.

7
Too Much 00:03:29

Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - David Guy, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Neal Sugarman, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ian Henrickson Smith, ComposerLyricist

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

8
Stay With Me (By The Sea) 00:03:23

Jimmy Douglass, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Corinne Bailey Rae, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Legend, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Virgin Records Ltd.

9
All I Need 00:03:41

Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

10
I'm Wild About You 00:04:51

Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer - Russell (The Dragon) Elevado, Engineer, StudioPersonnel

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

11
Standing In The Rain 00:03:08

Larry Gold, Conductor, String Arranger, Strings Conductor, AssociatedPerformer - Gabriel Roth, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Adam Blackstone, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Homer Steinweiss, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Al Green, Producer, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - James Poyser, Producer, Keyboards, Organ, Piano, Hammond B3, AssociatedPerformer - Randy Bowland, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Danny Sadownick, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - John Smeltz, Recording Engineer, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chalmers "Spanky" Alford, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Jaguar Wright, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Mercedes Martinez, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - The Dap-King Horns, Horn, AssociatedPerformer

(C) 2008 The Blue Note Label Group ℗ 2008 Al Green Music

Album Description

The big question that greets listeners encountering Al Green's third Blue Note album, Lay It Down, is: what happens when you put that amazing soul-drenched voice in the hands of hip-hop producers Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson of the Roots and James Poyser, and add a slew of superstar guests? Answer: a killer Al Green soul album. Thompson and Poyser weren't interested in straying far from the classic sound Green and producer Willie Mitchell created at Hi Records in the 1970s, but they did want to place it in a more contemporary -- albeit analog -- setting. Green cut his previous offerings for the label -- 2003's I Can't Stop and 2005's Everything's OK -- with Mitchell, and the results were good, not great, albums because Green's sound was simply re-created nostalgically. Even though Thompson and Poyser have been very creative here with their nuanced percussive, textural, and dynamic touches, Lay It Down is more of a classic-sounding Al Green record than either of its predecessors. The producers are at the core of a studio band (on drums and various analog keyboards, respectively) that also includes Mighty Clouds of Joy guitarist Chalmers "Spanky" Alford (in whose memory the album is dedicated), bassist Adam Blackstone (Jill Scott), and the Dap-Kings Horns. Lay It Down is a slow-burning, solid groover of a soul record; its dynamics and textures shift subtly and purposely to keep Green's voice at the center of its sound. If there is a flaw on the set, it's that individual tracks don't assert themselves immediately. Green, Poyser, and Thompson were going for immediacy and feel: nine of the album's 11 cuts had basic tracks done in their first session. They achieved their goal and then some -- the album feels of such an atmospheric piece and is so present that it initially comes off as a whole. That said, there is no better place to spend 45 minutes than in Lay It Down's dreamy, sensual, gritty, and tender sound world. ~ Thom Jurek

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