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Aloe Blacc: Good Things

Stones Throw

Aloe Blacc's Good Things is a lean, mean collection of tales for such a time as this. With its gritty lyricism and cinematic Memphis-soul sound, it has all the makings of a '70s classic with '90s hip-hop cred. "I Need a Dollar," the driving theme for HBO's "How To Make It in America" series and the country-soul "Green Lights" are among many direct hits to the listener's heart. What he lacks in vocal range, Blacc mightily makes up for in a compassionate, matter-of-fact tone perfect for these readings. Still, on unexpected cuts like "Mama Hold My Hand" and "If I," Blacc goes to the wailing floor and delivers searing blues. On cautionary street tales like "Miss Fortune" and "Take Me Back" he gives Anthony Hamilton a run for his crown through plaintive, socially conscious storytelling and Willie Mitchell/Isaac Hayes' inspired productions. It really is all good here. (5 out of 5 stars)