It’s not often that you hear today’s soul and hip-hop musicians (with the exception of someone like Questlove) lending a hand to the older generation to bring the music that inspired them to perform to a younger generation. It’s often left to rock musicians to bring artists like Solomon Burke and Mavis Staples (for example) back into the public spotlight. The latest artist to receive the rock-benefactor treatment is the legendary Bobby Womack. Recently inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the singer/songwriter/guitarist wrote and sang a series of influential hits in the late Sixties and early Seventies, including “Harry Hippie,” “That’s The Way I Feel About ‘Cha” and “A Woman’s Gotta Have It.” After making a comeback for a few years in the early-mid ’80s, he went back underground, although his gritty vocal style was kept alive via singers like K-Ci Hailey and Sisqo.
Bobby recently popped up on the Gorillaz’ Plastic Beach album, and now that band’s co-creator, Damon Albarn (obviously also well-known as the leader of Britpop giants Blur) has produced Bobby’s first album in many years, called The Bravest Man In The Universe. The album will be released in June on XL Recordings, the same label that brought you Vampire Weekend, Gil Scott-Heron’s last project, and (at least in the U.K.) Adele. The first single is called “Please Forgive My Heart,” and while it won’t compete on the pop or R&B charts with more contemporary-sounding (easier to digest) music, it proves that Womack is still a lyricist to be feared, and the imperfections that his voice has acquired with age make for a more haunting listen. Definitely looking forward to the album release.