Al Green I Can't Stop (Blue Note/EMI) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
With Al Green's songwriting partner, guitarist Teenie Hodges, suffering from emphysema, it was now or never for the Reverend to reunite with his hit-making team of Hi Rhythm and producer/arranger Willie Mitchell for their first secular soul session in 27 years. Amazingly enough, I Can't Stop (out Tuesday) picks up the boogie-down bump where 76's pre-disco Have A Good Time album left off, and they ride out that wonderfully easy flowing Hi groove all the way through. There are no ill-advised attempts to modernize things by messing with trendy studio gimmicks, bringing in guest rappers or letting Elvis Costello and Jamiroquai write some tunes. This is a classic Poppa Willie job, where his crack Hi Rhythm unit get busy and Green hollers, moans, squeals and sweetly croons like the deeply conflicted man of the satin cloth he is. A most welcome return to form.