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Bobby Womack The Bravest Man In The Universe (2012)

 Bobby Womack • The Bravest Man In The Universe (2012)

Bobby Womack The Bravest Man In The Universe
:: “Working in the studio was a total joy. It was a small team, with Bobby on guitar, Damon on keyboard and other instruments, myself on Drums and Samples and Harold Payne, who has worked with Bobby since the 1970s. It was open and free, with no egos involved... everyone was surprised how easy it was, really.”  Richard Russell
Birth name: Robert Dwayne Womack
Born: March 4, 1944, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Genres: Gospel, R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, funk, deep soul, soul blues, country soul, rock, jazz
Occupations: Singer-songwriter, musician, producer, instrumentalist, sideman
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: June 12, 2012
Recorded: London, England/New York, U.S.
Record Label: XL Recordings/ABKCO Records
Duration:     37:11
Tracks:
01. The Bravest Man In The Universe    (3:53)
02. Please Forgive My Heart    (4:31)
03. Deep River    (1:50)
04. Dayglo Reflection (Ft Lana Del Rey)    (4:19)
05. Whatever Happened To The Times    (4:09)
06. Stupid Introlude (Ft Gil Scott-Heron)    (0:22)
07. Stupid     (3:52)
08. If There Wasn't Something There    (4:38)
09. Love Is Gonna Lift You Up    (3:44)
10. Nothin' Can Save Ya (Ft Fatoumata Diawara)    (3:47)
11. Jubilee (Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around)    (2:07)
iTunes Bonus Track: 
12. "Please Forgive My Heart" (Funk Version)  
iTunes Expanded Edition: 
12. "It's Been a Long Night"    
13. "Hold the River Down"    
14. "Central Avenue"    
15. "Please Forgive My Heart" (Funk Version)
CREDITS:
Richard Adlam  Sampling
Damon Albarn  Arranger, Composer, Producer
Sam Cooke  Composer
Lana Del Rey  Featured Artist
The Demon Strings  Strings
Izzi Dunn  Cello
Fatoumata Diawara  Featured Artist
Jim Ford  Composer
Nina Foster  Violin
John Foyle  Assistant Engineer
Elizabeth Grant  Composer
Kwes.  Additional Production, Instrumentation
Oli Langford  Violin
Kevin Matcalfe  Mastering
Rodaidh McDonald  Engineer
Rory McFarlane  Double Bass
Jamie-James Medina  Photography
Emma Muchando  Vocals
Stella Page  Viola
Antonia Pagulatos  Violin
Harold Payne  Arranger, Composer
Alice Pratley  Violin
Halsey Quemere  Assistant Engineer
Alex Reeves  Sampling
Hal Ritson  Sampling
Richard Russell  Arranger, Composer, Drum Programming, Effects, Mixing, Producer
Gil Scott-Heron  Composer, Featured Artist
Stephen Sedgwick  Engineer, Mixing
Steve Honest  Drum Engineering
Chris Storr  Trumpet
Traditional  Composer
Jessie Ware  Vocals (Background)
Bobby Womack  Arranger, Composer, Guitar, Primary Artist, Vocals
Ginare Womack  Executive Producer
Artwork:
The album cover, photographed by Jamie-James Medina, features Womack's hand with his thumb twisted backward. At Consequence of Sound, the reviewer Jon Hadusek writes, "What’s wrong with his thumb? On the cover—why is [it] like that? Is it broken? ... things are grey. Never has artwork so aptly prefaced the album it accompanies."
Music:
≡  Retox Magazine's reviewer Jack Flahavan described the albums sound as "a cocktail of the old school and the new, a meeting between tradition and futurism, poetically entwined to create a soundscape in a sphere of its own." Simon Harper of Clash magazine, described "Please Forgive My Heart" as containing "paralyzing pain" as Womack "pleads over sparse piano and penetrating, warm beats.
Website: http://bobbywomack.com/
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/bobbywomack
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OfficialBobbyWomack
Editorial Reviews:
≡  The Bravest Man In The Universe is Bobby Womack's first album of original material since 1994's Resurrection. Co-produced by Damon Albarn (Gorillaz, Blur) and Richard Russell, the album was recorded at Albarn's Studio 13 in West London and New York's Manhattan Center between October and December 2011. The album features guest vocalist Lana Del Rey on the song, Dayglo Reflection . Bobby Womack's musical career has spanned 50+ years during which time he has written songs recorded by The Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett, Janis Joplin (to name a few) and has played on sessions for Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield and more. Nicknamed The Preacher and The Poet , Bobby Womack's work has topped the singles charts many times over and his collaborations with artists from Patti Labelle to Mos Def to Gorillaz to The Rolling Stones showcase a legend who has and continues to influence musicians across genres. Bobby Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009.
In french:
≡  Retour gagnant pour le veteran de la soul.
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REVIEW
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine (Editor rating: ****½)
≡  Damon Albarn enlisted Bobby Womack to sing on Gorillaz's 2010 album Plastic Beach, pushing the great soul singer back into action after a prolonged period of silence. Remarkably, the unlikely pair struck up a friendship, a partnership that led to 2012's The Bravest Man in the Universe, Womack's first album in 13 years. Signing with Richard Russell's XL Records, Womack collaborated with his longtime cohort Harold Payne, Albarn, and Russell on this ghostly, skeletal soul collection, each man bringing his own signatures to the table. Russell's beats intertwine with Albarn's spectral chords, each evoking distinct memories of his past work, but even if there are clear antecedents in Russell's production of Gil Scott-Heron or the futuristic funk oeuvre of Gorillaz, these two do not bend Womack to fit their needs: they free him to make a startlingly modern Bobby Womack album, one that harks back to such previous masterworks as Understanding and The Poet, albums that fully embodied both the singer and his times. And so it is with The Bravest Man in the Universe, an album that sounds like 2012 as much as it sounds like Womack: the rhythms belong to the modern world, the slow, shimmering grooves undeniably Womack's, as he's been specializing in this sound since the turn of the '70s. Initially, the most bracing elements of The Bravest Man in the Universe are those electronic flourishes from Russell and Albarn and, most of all, the power of Womack's singing. He's showing signs of age -- his voice is etched and weathered -- but he sounds undiminished, both as a vocalist and as a man. This is not a quiet, mournful album about the dying of the light; this is about living in the moment, embracing age and modernity with equal enthusiasm. The past is present on The Bravest Man in the Universe -- nowhere more so than on "Dayglo Reflection," where a song by Womack mentor Sam Cooke is interpolated and chanteuse of the year Lana Del Rey is deployed as effectively ethereal counterpart, but Bobby covers the traditional "Deep River" and revives "Whatever Happened to the Times," a song he co-wrote with his old running partner Jim Ford -- although Womack is never beholden to time gone by; the old days are part of him, informing how he's facing the present, and there's nothing remotely approaching nostalgia here. For as haunting as parts of the album are, there is no fetishization of death on the parts of Albarn and Russell; even with a tinge of melancholy coloring the fringes of the album, this is an album that affirms the power of life, in all of its mess and glory.
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Accolades:
≡  The Bravest Man in the Universe topped Clash's list of the top 40 albums of 2012, being described by the publication as "an album that crowns his career, that bridges generations, genres and technologies, and one that nearly killed him." The album was listed at #36 on Rolling Stone's end of year list, with the album being described as a "deeply soulful, startlingly modern R&B set. ≡  Like Russell's 2010 collaboration with Gil Scott-Heron, Bravest Man is mainly about magnified vocal grain and electronic rhythms." The Guardian ranked the album at #10 in its end of year list, stating that despite the album being "only 37 minutes and 12 seconds long, it amounted to a career resurrection.
≡  The album was the winner of the UK's Q Award for Best Album of 2012, announced on October 22, 2012.
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BBC Review:
Eighteen years after his last new material, the soul legend is back.
≡  Wyndham Wallace 2012-06-06
≡  They’re calling it a masterpiece. That’s the way when these beloved legends come in from the cold: so welcome is their return that weaknesses are overlooked out of gratitude for what they’ve already given us.
≡  Since Bobby Womack’s career has been more colourful than most, one is even more inclined to forgive his shortcomings: a former protégé of Sam Cooke (who went on controversially to marry Cooke’s wife), he worked as a guitarist for Ray Charles and Sly and the Family Stone as well as a writer for Wilson Pickett and Janis Joplin, and is most celebrated as an incomparable singer whose success was sadly diminished by drug addiction.
≡  But is this long overdue comeback album – produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell, the man behind Gil Scott-Heron’s 2010 return I’m New Here – worth the extravagant praise, or even Womack’s own claim that it’s “the best thing I’ve ever done”? Happily, and against the odds, the answer isn’t far short of affirmative.
≡  Womack has already worked with Albarn on Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach and The Fall albums, and much of his first new material since 1994 occupies a similar space: ingenuously programmed beats, simple, even sparse instrumentation, and keyboards that often sound like they were rescued from a 1980s teenage bedroom.
≡  It’s a far cry from Across 110th Street’s string-laden soul funk, and yet Womack sounds surprisingly at home in these 21st century surroundings. On the title track, his voice – sandpaper raw, overflowing with yearning – rides a stripped-back rhythm while a distant piano echoes beneath a layer of synths; and on Whatever Happened to the Times he pulls off a similar trick, the results not unlike one of Massive Attack’s bleaker moments.
≡  Alongside Dayglo Reflection, in which Lana Del Rey’s sultry tones come genuinely close to justifying the hype around her, the highlight is undoubtedly the tremendous Please Forgive My Heart, which stands proudly alongside anything Womack has ever recorded. Womack is a man who has a talent for embracing challenges – in 1976 he even turned his back on soul hits to make a country album – and it’s the strongest case for Albarn’s and Russell’s decision to remove the man from his more obvious comfort zones.
≡  So while The Bravest Man in the Universe may not be quite a masterpiece, it is unquestionably a great achievement in which weaknesses are so few and far between that they barely even register.
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Studio albums:
1968: Fly Me to the Moon (Minit) - US #174, R&B #34
1969: My Prescription (Minit) - R&B #44
1971: Communication (United Artists) - US #83, R&B #7, Jazz #20
1972: Understanding (United Artists) - US #43, R&B #7
1972: Across 110th Street (United Artists) - US #50, R&B #6
1972: Your Navy Presents (United States Naval Recruitment Dept.,) - 16 track promotion album issued as part of a recruitment campaign and sent to forces radio.
1973: Facts of Life (United Artists) - US #37, R&B #6
1974: Lookin' for a Love Again (United Artists) - US #85, R&B #5
1975: I Don't Know What the World Is Coming To (United Artists) - US #126, R&B #20
1975: Safety Zone (United Artists) - US #147, R&B #40
1975: I Can Understand It (United Artists) - same tracks as on Greatest Hits
1976: BW Goes C&W (United Artists)
1976: Home Is Where the Heart Is (Columbia)
1978: Pieces (Columbia) - US #205
1979: Roads Of Life (Arista) - US #206, R&B #55
1981: The Poet (Beverly Glen) - US #29, R&B #1
1984: The Poet II (Beverly Glen) - US #60, R&B #5, UK #31
1985: So Many Rivers (MCA) - US #66, R&B #5, UK #28
1985: Someday We'll All Be Free (Beverly Glen) - US #207, R&B #59
1986: Womagic (MCA) - R&B #68
1987: Last Soul Man (MCA)
1989: Save The Children (Solar)
1994: Soul Seduction Supreme (Castle)
1994: Resurrection (Continuum) - R&B #91
1999: Back to My Roots (Capitol) - Gospel #27
1999: Traditions (Capitol)
2000: Christmas Album (Indigo)
2012: The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL Recordings)[8] UK #49, US #181
Live albums:
1970: The Womack "Live" (United Artists) - US #188, R&B #13
1998: Soul Sensation Live (Sequel)
Compilation albums:
1975: Greatest Hits (United Artists) - US #142, R&B #30
1986: Check it Out (Stateside) - UK SSL 6013
1993: Midnight Mover - The Bobby Womack Collection (EMI USA)
1998: Red Hot + Rhapsody
1999: Traditions (Capitol)
2003: Lookin' For a Love: The Best of 1968-1976 (Stateside Records)
2004: Fly Me To The Moon/My Prescription on one CD (Stateside Records)
2004: Understanding/Communication (Stateside Records)
2004: Womack Live/The Safety Zone (Stateside Records)
2004: Lookin' For A Love Again/BW Goes CW (Stateside Records)
2004: Facts of Life/I Don't Know What the World Is Coming To (Stateside Records)
As a featured artist:
2001: Sleepwalking with Rae & Christian (Studio K7)
2010: Plastic Beach with Gorillaz (Parlophone)
2011: The Fall with Gorillaz (Parlophone)
Releases:
:: Studio albums 27
:: Live albums 2
:: Compilation albums 9
:: Singles 47 © Photo Credit: Jamie-James Medina © Bobby Womack 
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Bobby Womack The Bravest Man In The Universe (2012)

 

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