Album: Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL Recordings)
Sunday 10 June 2012
From the dark recesses of the cellar ... It's the last great soul man, framed in electronic beats, supported by the voices of Fatoumata Diawara, Gil Scott-Heron and Lana Del Rey, co-produced by Richard Russell and Damon Albarn.
A passionate, heartfelt, serious, dogged effort, pregnant with reflection and as wise as you could hope for. Sententious but not sentimental. Womack is 68 and has been through the addiction mill. And if the nudging, twittering electronica which maps this "secular Gospel" vision is, by its nature, neither mobile nor moving, the record does at least sound like it belongs to our own time – even if Bobby does not.
The voice remains its essential self: a ruined church heard best when he sings "Deep River" with only an acoustic guitar. You can hear him breathe.
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