The old-?school-?meets-?new-?school, cultural collision concept of pairing sacred soul star Al Green with producer Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson and his Roots posse sounds like a brilliant plan on paper, especially when you find out that the Dap-?Kings’ horns are involved and there’s ample vocal support from Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend and Anthony Hamilton. Can’t miss, right? Wrong.
It seems no one imagined that surrounding an artist like Green with a group of well-?intentioned sycophants eager to kiss – not kick – his ass might produce mediocre results. Although Lay It Down is initially appealing because it has the superficial sound of Green’s classic Hi material, you soon discover that Green has nothing terribly deep to offer lyrically, and his vocals are locked on cruise control throughout. And with Thompson in charge of his dream session, do you think the Roots drummer would have the huevos to demand Green do retakes or – heaven forbid – rewrites? Not bloody likely.
But for Thompson, a half-?assed Al Green album is better thananything else he’s recorded and he’s likely not the only one who feels that’s good enough.
Al Green hits the Sony Centre June 19.