Album: Al Green, Lay It Down (EMI)

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The Independent Culture

Reverend Green's abiding cross to bear is the perfection of his recordings in the early 1970s: the body/soul double helix expressed with enveloping, nose-to-nose intimacy.

The upshot is that everything he's done since is always compared to those golden records and always found wanting. No change here then. Which is not to say this isn't a hugely enjoyable set. He's back in the Hi-style secular groove, shuffles, wiggles, choogles and all, horns bracing, rim-shots clicking. He has guests too, principally Corinne Bailey Rae and Anthony Hamilton. It lacks for very little other than the odd transcendant song. Hear it.

Pick of the Album: 'Lay It Down': Al lays it down on a length and line