Al Green, ‘Lay It Down’ (Blue Note)
This R&B equivalent of Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose pairs Al Green, the dapper philosopher king of Memphis soul, with producers James Poyser and Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson of the Roots. The result doesn’t prove that Green’s still got it; I Can’t Stop, his 2003 reunion with Hi Records impresario Willie Mitchell, already did that. But Lay It Down (with tasty guest spots from John Legend, Anthony Hamilton, and Corinne Bailey Rae) makes it clear that Green’s devotion to the primacy of his music’s groove has only deepened with age.
Now Watch This: The Making of Lay it Down