I Can't Stop

I Can't Stop

by Al Green
     
 

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With contemporary R&B chart-toppers such as Musiq and Alicia Keys paying homage to vintage R&B, Al Green's decision to reunite with producer Willie Mitchell couldn't have come at a better time. For I Can't Stop, Mitchell -- whose work with the good Reverend resulted in the seminal '70s albums Let's Stay Together and

Overview

With contemporary R&B chart-toppers such as Musiq and Alicia Keys paying homage to vintage R&B, Al Green's decision to reunite with producer Willie Mitchell couldn't have come at a better time. For I Can't Stop, Mitchell -- whose work with the good Reverend resulted in the seminal '70s albums Let's Stay Together and I'm Still in Love with You -- recruited many of the musicians who helped Green craft his distinctive, Philly soul-meets-gospel sound the first time around. This time out, Mitchell's mix joins light string arrangements, complementary harmonies, crisp horn sections, and crackling guitar, arrangements that make songs such as "You," "I'd Still Choose You," and the title track sound nostalgic yet not dated. Green flaunts his impressive range on "My Problem Is You," a slow, subtle blues number dotted by his trademark falsetto and the kind of interplay between organ, guitar, and orchestration that brings to mind classic B. B. King. The biggest departure here is "Too Many," a rollicking track peppered with Dixieland horns and New Orleans–style piano reminiscent of Sam Cooke's "Cousin of Mine." Thanks to Mitchell and Green's fiery chemistry, I Can't Stop keeps the torch of classic soul burning bright.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tim Sendra
Thomas Wolfe may have said you can't go home again, but he was wrong. People go home again all the time. Usually when they do they find that it just isn't the same. When musicians attempt to go back home, it usually turns out to be a pale imitation at best and a disaster at worst. On his 2003 album, I Can't Stop, Al Green attempts to go back home. The album was recorded at the Hi studios with old cohort Willie Mitchell behind the boards and helping write the songs, with members of the Hi session crew providing the music (right down to the same female backup singers). I Can't Stop is certainly no disaster; it is a well-made, funky, fun record that proves two things -- the Hi sound lives and Al Green still has it ("it" being all the things that made him so great in the '70s, things like charisma, style, and that amazing voice). He whoops and hollers his way through I Can't Stop like a man committed, fully alive, and excited by the chance to get old-school funky. That joy translates to the listener; it is hard to stop smiling and bopping along as the album plays. When Green lets loose with his trademark falsetto burst, it's like the last 30 years never happened. As for the sound of the record, it is awesome to hear the Hi sound as played by the real-deal guys who built it in the first place. Expecting the record to sound exactly like a Hi record from the early '70s is unrealistic and the recording process reflects the technology of the age with a clean, well-separated sound. The drums are far too loud and processed, with the cymbals too high in the mix. Still, the combination of Green's voice and the replica Hi sound will raise goosebumps, but not throughout the whole record as some of the songs are kind of weak ("Play to Win" is a standard modern blues shuffle and "My Problem Is You" is a pretty corny Vegas-styled big-band ballad). When the songs are strong, like the thrilling album opener "I Can't Stop," the funky "You," the hard-rocking "I've Been Thinkin' Bout You," the almost perfect "Million to One," and the weepy ballad "Not Tonight" (which comes complete with classic Hi organ swoops), this record is as good as could be hoped for. Green has brought it all back home with style, class, and -- most of all -- total commitment. For that Willie Mitchell deserves a world of credit. He and Green make a perfect team; listeners can only hope they stay together.
Rolling Stone - Mac Randall
1/2 I Can't Stop may not rival Green's classics, but it can stand proudly alongside them.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/18/2003
Label:
Emi Europe Generic
UPC:
0724359355726
catalogNumber:
593557

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Green   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Charles Chalmers   Background Vocals
Jack Hale   Trombone,Group Member
Mabon "Teenie" Hodges   Guitar
Andrew Love   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Donna Rhodes   Background Vocals
Sandra Rhodes   Background Vocals
Lester Snell   Piano
Jim Spake   Baritone Saxophone,Group Member
Peter Spurbeck   Cello,Group Member
Scott Thompson   Trumpet,Group Member
Lannie McMIllian   Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Joan Gilbert   Violin,Group Member
Robert Claybourne   Organ
Beth Luscombe   Viola,Group Member
Anthony Gilbert   Viola,Group Member
Gregory J. Morris   Violin,Group Member
Daniel Gilbert   Violin,Group Member
Liza Zurlinden   Violin,Group Member
Royal Horns   Track Performer
Scott Thompson   Trumpet,Group Member
Jonathan Kirkscey   Cello,Group Member
New Memphis Strings   Track Performer
Steve Potts   Percussion,Conga,Drums

Technical Credits

Green   Composer
Willie Mitchell   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Michael Cuscuna   Executive Producer
Lester Snell   Orchestration,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Tom Cartwright   Executive Producer
Tom Evered   Liner Notes
Archie Mitchell   Engineer
Burton Yount   Art Direction

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