Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements: Bobby Womack, Helado Negro | Riverfront Theater | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader
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Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements: Bobby Womack, Helado Negro 

When: Sun., Sept. 23, 7 p.m. 2012
Price: $30
Bobby Womack is best known as a soul singer, but over the course of a career that stretches back to his childhood the 68-year-old has tried his hand at gospel, rock 'n' roll, hip-hop, funk, and even country, not just as a vocalist but also as a songwriter and guitarist. This flexibility serves him well on his latest outing, The Bravest Man in the Universe (XL). Produced by Damon Albarn and XL owner Richard Russell, the record pairs Womack with tracks that combine threads from Albarn's recent African-influenced minimalist electronica, Russell's soulful 2010 collaboration with Gil Scott-Heron, I'm New Here, and a bit of the nocturnal post-R&B of labelmates the XX—and it's a credit to everyone involved that the elder musician never seems lost or desperate for hipster cred, even in a duet with Lana Del Rey. His burred baritone voice is just as commanding as it was at his peak in the 70s, and the increased roughness it's acquired over the years perfectly suits the album's frequently elegiac mood. —Miles Raymer This set is part of Brilliant Corners of Popular Amusements. Today's bill, first to last, is Helado Negro (see Saturday), Bobby Womack, and El Circo Cheapo Cabaret.

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