Song of the Day: Bobby Womack “The Bravest Man In The Universe”
The single most striking thing about the sadly departed soul legend, Bobby Womack has to be his voice. What a phenomenally expressive instrument it was! The perfect blend of sandpaper and velvet and with a naturally bluesy inflection that always really helped him to sell the emotional content of the songs he sang. Womack had a habit of sounding so committed, like a condemned man carefully sharing his final requests, that no matter what song he was singing, you believed it. While any discussion of Womack‘s music is certain to center on the wonderful gift that was his voice, this detracts somewhat from the fact that he was a total triple threat: equally adept as a guitarist and a songwriter.
“The Bravest Man In The Universe” is the title track from Womack‘s brilliantly broken 2012 comeback LP. Co-produced by Blur/ Gorillaz front man, Damon Albarn along with famed-producer Richard Russell, the record updates Womack‘s iconic Northern Soul sound for modern audiences. The record features some deeply introspective songwriting from Womack, who over the course of the album takes stock of his life. The themes of the album are those of forgiveness, transcendence and making amends for past wrongs. Womack directly confront that his life was at times difficult and that he frequently hurt other people as he struggled with addition and other demons throughout his career. This record then, was about him embracing his innate humanity and vowing to do better. Womack was apparently very pleased with how the album turned out, and despite his many health problems during the period he was recording the album, (including him subsequently revealing that he had been struggling with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease), Womack‘s voice and song craft remained the dependable instruments they always were.
Womack sadly died in 2014. The Bravest Man In The Universe is a fitting and wonderful final legacy.