Al Green Everything's OK

On his second reunion with producer Willie Mitchell, everything’s just average. I’ve listened to this disc again and again trying to figure out where the magic of the first reunion went, but realised that I Can’t Stop was essentially a novelty record for the one last instance of magic these two men could conjure. Everything's OK's material is weaker, and Green’s take on "You Are So Beautiful” adds nothing to the schmaltzy original. There are two aspects to this disc that really sink it. The first is the drummer. No one will replace the late Al Jackson, but Steve Potts does some "tribute soul” drumming of the type one would hear at a casino near you. There’s nothing wrong with the patterns he plays, but his fills are strictly big-budget studio rock, with none of the implied funk that even Green’s ballads had back in the ’70s. The second, and worse problem, is the mix. Green’s older albums were all mid and low end with a dull thwack to the snare. Here, everything’s been brightened to a fine, trebly sheen, and Green’s voice can’t cut it in the high end nearly as well anymore to compete with this strategy. It all detracts from the intimacy which was the key to his success. Sure, it’s never going to sound like it did back then, but maybe the Reverend needs to get with some truly contemporary production which would showcase his less dominant vocals with a sinewy groove rather than bombast. (Blue Note)