Music

The Bravest Man in the Universe

SOUL SURVIVOR Thanks to the Gorillaz's Damon Albarn, Womack is back in the game with killer vocals to boot

SOUL SURVIVOR Thanks to the Gorillaz's Damon Albarn, Womack is back in the game with killer vocals to boot (Jamie-James Medina)

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The Bravest Man In The Universe

Genre: R&B; Lead Performer: Bobby Womack; Music Label: XL

”I once was lost, but now I’m found.” That centuries-old gospel refrain has been co-opted endlessly, but few own it like 68-year-old soul survivor Womack does on his 28th album’s title track. Long plagued by drug addiction and poor health, the R&B legend was all but out of the game when Britpop hero Damon Albarn recruited him for Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach in 2010. Since then, Albarn has made it his mission — as Rick Rubin and Jack White did with Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn, respectively — to bring an icon to a new generation. His smart production allows Womack’s still-vital voice to do most of the work, draping it lovingly over spare piano and guitar lines. At times the dribs of Gorillaz-style glitch don’t quite fit, making some songs on The Bravest Man in the Universe feel more like clever remixes than organic moments. Still, Womack shines — not just a brave man, but a remarkably resilient one. A?

Originally posted June 6 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT

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