Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe

January 01, 1970

(XL)

 

www.xlrecordings.com

 

Most soul singers’ voices grow rougher as the decades pass-Bobby
Womack’s was born craggy, so he sounds the same now as he did in 1972. His
voice cuts through anything, a quality taken advantage of by Damon Albarn on
“Stylo,” one of the best Gorillaz singles. Albarn keeps the thread woven by
co-producing The Bravest Man in the
Universe
, the R&B legend’s first collection of original songs in almost
two decades.

 

Albarn gives Womack the kind of electro-soul backup you’d
expect from Gorillaz-mostly samples, synthetic rhythms and atmospheric
keyboards. Sometimes Albarn’s production expertise takes precedence over the
guy whose name is in the title, a la “Dayglo Reflection” (featuring Lana Del Rey), the cluttered “Nothin’ Can Save
Ya” (dominated by Fatoumata Diawara) and the gospel samplefest “Jubilee.” But
when it works, as on the ghostly “Sweet Baby Mine,” the grooving “If There
Wasn’t Something There” and the sparse “Deep River,”
sparks turn into genuine flames. More studio sympathy and less technical
trickery might’ve made The Bravest Man in
the Universe
a minor classic.

 

DOWNLOAD: “Deep River,” “Sweet Baby Mine” MICHAEL TOLAND

 

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