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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Wise as it is Infectious
Every now and then, an album will come out that leaves people scratching their heads wondering how it even got made: Bobby Womack's THE BRAVEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE is such an album. Produced by Richard Russell and Damon Albarn (of Gorillaz and Blur fame), this release is laden with electronic rhythms, synthesizers, and keyboards. The ingredients should sound strange: a...
Published on June 12, 2012 by T. A. Daniel

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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars better than average
on the real real, this album is interesting in terms of creative concept and how you make a Bobby Womack in the 21rst century with a modern day flip. now Womack is one of the Greatest Artists Ever a proven all around musical force, however this album ain't going to make anyone who is familiar with Womack's peak and prime work even put this in that mix. in other words...
Published on June 14, 2012 by MAXIMILLIAN MUHAMMAD


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Wise as it is Infectious, June 12, 2012
This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
Every now and then, an album will come out that leaves people scratching their heads wondering how it even got made: Bobby Womack's THE BRAVEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE is such an album. Produced by Richard Russell and Damon Albarn (of Gorillaz and Blur fame), this release is laden with electronic rhythms, synthesizers, and keyboards. The ingredients should sound strange: a 68-year old 70's R&B legend, creating a new album (his first in over a decade), produced by one of the guys behind Blur's Britpop. The result however, is just as puzzling as its ingredients: it's fantastic.

In the middle of the album, the track "Dayglo Reflection" starts with a quote by Sam Cooke: "as a singer grows older, his conception grows a little deeper, because he lives life and he understands what he is trying to say a little more." This singular sentence sums up everything THE BRAVEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE represents. Bobby Womack sounds just as comfortable here as he does in any of his previous releases. The juxtaposition of Womack's soulful croon and the album's electronic vibe works well and is rarely distracting. Rather than sounding anachronistic or dated, Womack sounds fresh and comfortable; if Tricky (circa Maxinquaye) grew up listening to gospel records, the results would be this.

The album begins with Womack nearly shouting "The bravest man in the universe is the one who has forgiven first." This introduction quickly slides into pounding, dark electronic synthesizers; it quickly pulls the listener in. This title track is followed by "Please Forgive My Heart," and by this point, it becomes obvious that this album isn't just a gimmick - it's earnest and sincere. "Dayglo Reflection" offers a thoughtful duet between Womack and Lana Del Ray. "Love is Gonna Lift You Up" is an infectious gospel-influenced track that can't help but radiate its optimism. The album ends on the stomping "Jubilee," which is a stark contrast from the mellow and dark opening track. It works well though, and it ends the album on an optimistic view of the future.

Fans of Massive Attack, Marvin Gaye, Portishead, and Gorillaz's THE FALL will find a lot to love here. THE BRAVEST MAN IN THE UNIVERSE is satisfying for longtime fans and for new listeners alike. Standout tracks include: "If There Wasn't Something There," "Bravest Man in the Universe," and "Love is Gonna to Life You Up."
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravest man!!, June 12, 2012
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This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
Soul maestro Bobby Womack was last heard on the Gorillaz "Plastic Beach" and "The Fall" albums. "Bravest Man In The Universe" is his first album of new material in 18 years and is produced by Damon Albarn and Richard Russell (the latter who also worked magic with Gil Scott-Heron on his last album "I'm New Here").

Largely eschewing seventies-style strings, horns and Womack's guitar work for synths and electro beats, the results are never less than spectacular, from the spare booming title track ("The bravest man in the universe, is the one who has forgiven first"), to the piano-driven "Please Forgive My Heart" set to twitchy Timbaland-style beats and with a lovely Acoustic coda.

"Deep River" is acoustic Blues/Folk/Soul, "Dayglo Reflection" features a deadpan Lana Del Ray perfectly contrasting a raspy Womack and is a dreamy song with skittery/cluttery beats, hypnotic strings, and stabs of bass.

Every song stands out; the spare harrowing Trip Hop-ish "Whatever Happened To The Times", a spoken sample of Gil Scott-Heron appears on the interlude "Stupid Introlude" which segues into the catchy "Stupid" with twinkly piano, sketchy bass, and lyrics about false preachers.

Womack is on stellar form vocally throughout, soulful and authoritative. "If There Wasn't Something There" is Hip Hop/Soul, the euphoric "Love Is Gonna Lift You Up" takes you to Church, the lush quivery Jazzy "Nothin' Can Save Ya" features African songstress Fatoumata Diawara" (she appeared on Albarn's "Rocket Juice & Moon" project), while closing is "Jubilee", a Gospel style spoken/sung/chant with electro martial beats.

Womack sounds perfectly at home sitting atop these 21st Century grooves. Marvelous!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby Womack and Damon Albarn at their best, June 16, 2012
I was a bit skeptical when buying this CD and I was ready to be disappointed by many of the tracks, but to my surprise THERE IS NOT A SINGLE BAD TRACK on the album. I cannot say this about many cds but this is truely a masterpiece. Any fan of Bobby Womack or Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz, The Good the Bad and the Queen) should add this to their collection immediately.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uhm.....WOW!!, July 11, 2012
By 
GregE (ATLANTA, GA, US) - See all my reviews
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So beautiful, so heartbreaking, so important. BW's voice is so beautiful, and so tortuered. The lyrics are just amazing! You can't buy this quickly enough. Listen loud and listen often. It is one of the best of the year, and at $5 it's a steal. Buy it before they change the price!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic American soul meets classic uk electro, June 15, 2012
This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
First heard the title track on the radio and was blown away by the production, vocals and lyrics. Soul meets dance meets funk. All with that old school meets new school flavor. The UK boast some of the finest musci in my eyes and an American soul legend like Bobby Womack comes to town it's a 5 star all the way!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars better than average, June 14, 2012
This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
on the real real, this album is interesting in terms of creative concept and how you make a Bobby Womack in the 21rst century with a modern day flip. now Womack is one of the Greatest Artists Ever a proven all around musical force, however this album ain't going to make anyone who is familiar with Womack's peak and prime work even put this in that mix. in other words this ain't touching the Poet 1 or 2 let alone "across 110nth" street or Communication, etc... Prime and Peak era Bobby Womack, however its a interesting format that allows Bobby Womack to rock a modern concept with some cool results in places and in others its stuff that is just kinda there. no money tracks here, however some interesting concepts and its cool to hear Bobby Womack back in the mix again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a great, soulful voice, December 7, 2012
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This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
Mr. Womack keeps up with the times by employing some hip hop producers who do a nice job backing him up. The songs flow with pleasing beats that sound terrific. Only complaint is that it isn't long enough, but it's still fulfilling. Props to Mr. Womack for stepping out there and taking a chance with a new sound. Bring it, Bobby!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the comforts of change, October 20, 2012
This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
I was almost scared to buy this after reading the initial reviews and back story about the album. What are they trying to do with Bobby Womack? But after finally getting "brave" enough to buy this and listen to it, I'm relieved to say that this is a most excellent album. I think one reviewer really nailed it when he noted that Bobby Womack sounds comfortable in the context of this "new" sound. No, it's not old school 70s soul, but even the modern garnishes of the production do not diminish the power of Womack's distinctive voice. Still lots of grit and growling and soulful emoting to be heard. Even if you find the production --- notably, the drum programming and "effects" --- to be grating, there is no denying the quality of the music. The songs themselves are very, very good. Some were written by Womack, and others by co-producers Damon Albarn and Richard Russell, along with a short but stompin' reworking of the old standard "Jubilee (Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around)" that closes the album. The thing that I DID find annoying about this album was the booklet that comes with the CD. Some "creative" soul from the art department decided that faint gold type on a crimson background would look nice. Yes, but that makes reading the credits and liner notes almost impossible. Expect considerble eye strain if you attempt this task. Otherwise, bravo to Bobby Womack and the producers for taking a chance with this daring approach. I dare say, if you listen to it with an open mind, you'll be impressed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bobby's back!, August 18, 2012
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Derbytown Boy (Needham, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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Anyone who loves real R&B (not the spineless version of today's so-called R&B) will be inspired by this Bobby Womack comeback album. It's his first in many years. Pulled out of self-imposed retirement and perhaps a bit of self-doubt and fear that he might not have anything left to offer, Bobby delivers the goods here. And it all sounds fresh, with modern but loving production led by Daman Albarn, this joint just gives you hope. From the opening Bravest Man cut where he beseeches both old and new young soul searchers to "gather round," to the heartbreaking, ethereal spell of "Whatever Happened to the Times" to the oughta-be-a-hit-single sermon of "Stupid," Bobby grabs you with that high tenor that just takes you to church. Amen, brother.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice music but.... Bobby's signature 'GUITAR' strums are missed!, December 15, 2013
By 
Unique (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bravest Man In The Universe (Audio CD)
Being a Bobby Womack fan, I purchased this CD to add to my BW collection after hearing it might be his last. As we all know, Bobby's songs have 2 identifiable signature styles. (1) His guitar and (2) his talk/communication. Although the music is nice, I personally feel that the writer, Damon Albarn (Pianist), SHOULD HAVE implemented Bobby's guitar style into the music by miking a lead guitarist! Instead, Bobby plays the guitar only on ONE SONG. then as a substitute, you hear more 'piano' (which I think is the writer, Damon, himself) throughout the rest of the CD. Due to Bobby's recent health concerns, I really didn't expect him to be as upbeat and jovial as he was in his younger years, so not hearing Bobby's other signature style of "CONVERSATION/COMMUNICATION" was missing but ok. However, that is exactly why I can NOT understand why a microphone was NOT put on a lead guitarist in some of the songs!!! After all, this is BOBBY WOMACK!!! Guitar melodies can usually be heard in his music whether he's personally playing or not! GUITAR strums usually = BOBBY WOMACK. (period). I simply LOVE those guitar licks that Bobby's known for inserting!!! My 4 star rating is because the music really isn't bad. I DO like it. Despite the omission of having Bobby's signature characteristics, it is a nice album AND the brightest side is...hearing Bobby Womack the legend! He has definetly put in his time and paid his dues. I'm glad to see him still kicking it! Before I end this, let me say that my 2 favorite songs on this CD are track #8..."If There Wasn't Something There", and track #9...Love is gonna Lift You Up". Well I've got to go now because "If You Think You're Lonely Now" is playing. "Harry Hippie" just finished playing. LOL! bye!
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The Bravest Man In The Universe
The Bravest Man In The Universe by Bobby Womack (Audio CD - 2012)
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