Feature

Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe

The 68-year-old songwriter and ex-sideman for Elvis Presley and Sly Stone has released his “strongest work since the early 1980s.”

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Soul great Bobby Womack is a man “on intimate terms with pain and anger,” said Greg Kot in the Chicago Tribune. After years spent battling addiction and health problems, the 68-year-old songwriter and ex-sideman for Elvis Presley and Sly Stone has tapped those dark passages on a deeply atmospheric record that represents his “strongest work since the early 1980s.” Producers Richard Russell and Damon Albarn (of Gorillaz) went a little wild at the control board, said Ben Ratliff in The New York Times. Instead of simply showcasing Womack’s talents, they’ve created “a kind of aural movie,” a record laden with modern-sounding electronic beats, vocal samples, and warped sound effects. Though they used singer Lana Del Rey to “excellent effect” in a guest spot, Russell and Albarn mostly added distractions. Even so, “the catch and grit in Womack’s singing is an amazing thing.” The album may be all over the place, “but the extra-large ache in Womack’s voice is its anchor.” 

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