Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe

A beautiful snapshot in time
Bobby Womack - The Bravest Man In The Universe
What do you get if you cross a rave pioneer, a Britpop lord and a soul survivor? Save-Top? No, just an album that’s completely beguiling.

You’ve heard Damon Albarn’s delightful electronic programming on Gorillaz. And Richard Russell’s tight, clipped, hyper-modern beats upon revitalising Gil Scott Heron’s career with ‘I’m New Here’. Now imagine this combination with Womack’s immense spirit of baritone soul coursing from its electric heart.

Never one to tread old ground, Richard Russell’s engagement with Albarn was a fantastic decision. Aside from Damon’s deep relationship with Womack post-world-Gorillaz tour, the former Blur front-man seasons and spices the proceedings with deft electronics and sprinkles of melodies and personable pulses.

Ten tracks build, dodge and slink in tempos and passion towards a pounding conclusion. Early on we find African chanteuse Fatoumata Diawara peppering just enough vocal contrast to keep the delicacy in flavour on the other side of the table from Bobby’s long-lived larynx.

Then the last three songs smack us with pace. Whipping Womack from his usual context, ‘Love Is Gonna Lift You Up’ already sounds like a true 5am-table-top-dancing-classic.

‘Nothing Can Save Ya’ is agonised, soul saturated emotion updated by Russell’s futuristic electronics, but it’s ‘Jubilee’ that may surprise the most; a true techno hoe-down that witnesses Womack crazed, cranky, but livid with life.

‘The Bravest Man In The Universe’ serves up history on a plate for us to devour. You can feel the forces of time fall into formation as foreign auras rub in electric friction and the resultant sparks ignite a new musical canvas. A beautiful snapshot in time.

8/10

Words by MATTHEW BENNETT

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