Bobby’s Back…

Damon Albarn and Richard Russell have done – trying to find the right words – (maybe it’s) an admirable job on the new Bobby Womack album. And given that he’s not made a new record for a decade or more, I’m both thrilled and grateful that someone has.

It’s a record that won’t seem uncomfortable to anyone that liked the last (and final) Gil Scott-Heron album a couple of years back – as I did. Russell seems to have hit a working formula at XL – take an ailing legacy legend who’s best years are deemed behind him by the criterati, add modern audio embellishments and – bing – you have a career reviver with instant critical momentum.

The formula isn’t that new – Rick Rubin has been doing career refurbishments for years, albeit more by stripping back than adding, with mixed results from Johnny Cash (fantastic) to Neil Diamond (not quite so fabulous: Diamond has been a notoriously immovable stoner for years – ask anyone in his record company – who seemed to mostly loose his grip around 1973 when he began writing albums about seagulls, and then troughed a couple of years later whilst dueting with Babs Streisand, always a career low for anyone).

So to Bobby. I like it. As an album it’s mostly pleasant – nice (the word my English teacher told me never to put to paper) even. Loads of critics really like it – and some have even given it 5 stars (maybe the same writers who gave the mid 2000s Dylan albums 5 stars each too, which begged the obvious question then: if those get five, where does that leave Blonde on Blonde?). Given his previous work 5 stars here is also a mighty claim. As are even four.

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Bobby Womack and….. Lana Del Rey

Bobby Womack

Four days back we all thought Bobby Womack was not long for this coil, but happily that’s no longer so it seems.

I’m not sure if this track is really all the better for the Lana Del Rey parts, although the soul giant’s vocals still send shivers four decades after I first heard them, but either way Bobby’s new album is a must own from the evidence here (and the from other track, “Please Forgive My Heart”, leaked earlier):

The Bravest Man In The Universe is released on June 11 on XL and – really – I can’t wait…

In the interim, Bob has a few words on Elvis and Mick:

”People say: ‘What did you think of Elvis Presley?’ I say: ‘He wasn’t s**t. Everything he got he stole.”’

and:

Speaking of Mick, he added: ”Some people never grow up if you give ‘em too much. They gonna be assholes, then they just become a bigger asshole.”

And this last conversation with Marvin:

”The last time I saw him, the day before he died, he said: ‘Bobby, what’s a nigger got to do to get on the cover of Rolling Stone?’ It was all white acts. I said: ‘Die.’.