Bobby Womack: The Bravest Man in the Universe 

XL

It's astonishing to hear a veteran's album that isn't dated. And Bobby Womack's musical collage of neo-blues vocals atop modern electronic soundscapes seethes with emotionalism. A traditional soul icon of R&B's golden era, Womack still writes with a poet's hand and sings with all the grit and gravel of the sometimes-harrowing life lived in the 18-odd years since his last official release of new material. Producers Damon Albarn and Richard Russell, with guests Lana Del Rey and Fatoumata Diawara, respectfully give the star his space, never intruding on his flow but surrounding him in an inspired technological cocoon. Like Gil Scott-Heron's swan song, Womack teaches even as he shares his pathos. (4 out of 5 stars)

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