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The Bravest Man In The Universe

3.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 12, 2012
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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.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. The Bravest Man In The Universe
  2. Please Forgive My Heart
  3. Deep River
  4. Dayglo Reflection
  5. Sweet Baby Mine
  6. Stupid
  7. If There Wasn't Something There
  8. Love Is Gonna Lift You Up
  9. Nothin' Can Save Ya
  10. Jubilee (Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 12, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: XL Recordings
  • ASIN: B007PAAO0Y
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,759 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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.
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Format: 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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Format: MP3 Music
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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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
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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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
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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