Jamie-James Medina
Ray Rahman
June 06, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Bravest Man In The Universe

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Bobby Womack
music label
81109

We gave it an A-

”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?

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