This is a real interesting reissue from The Right Stuff label, Bobby Womack's classic album from 1981, recorded originally for the Beverly Glenn label. This was the album that brought Bobby acclaim at the start of the 80's and was to be a milestone in Bobby's career, bringing him back to the top of the soul world which lasted until the mid 80's. The Poet started a run of good albums and singles from Bobby Womack.
The Poet starts off with a stunning song "So Many Sides Of You," which Bobby co-wrote. The song starts off with a some good guitar and keyboards and then hits a great groove with Bobby's compelling voice, full of emotion telling the story of how his lady has so many sides to her life. A wonderful uptempo number which leads us, on the start of a very soulful ride, the one thing about this album is the feeling that the all ingredients are just right.
Along the way we are treated to some wonderful keyboard playing from the sadly underrated Patrick Moten, some great guitar playing from David T. Walker and also from Bobby. James Gadson on drums is one of the greatest drummers ever and the Bass duties are shared by David Shields and Nathan East.
The Bass shines through on "Secrets," which has Bobby sounding very strong and almost raw as he belts out a great vocal. The more melodic song "Just My Imagination" shows a gentler side but with warmth and a strong soulful vocal that is compelling and yet soothing, which was written by his brother Cecil. This has to be one of the many high points of the album, but it isn't the highest point the album reaches, as this must surely go to "If You Think Your Lonely Now." Bobby starts the song off with a spoken intro, the song then builds nicely with great backup vocals from what seems like a choir, but the tale of heartache over a break-up has Bobby at his nagging best with emotion and power in his voice. The song has a dream like quality as it builds partly due to the space his musicians have, you have the feeling that the song could go on forever. "Where do we go from here" again has all the Womack trademarks of great vocal power and urging in his voice. The background choir in this song is a perfect foil against Bobby's pleading gruff voice and you never want it to end as it fades away.
This was the album that brought Bobby up to date with the 80's and gave Bobby a contemporary feel. Some of the songs on this album rate as some of the best songs that Bobby Womack has ever Recorded. If you've never heard this album before, then buy it and sit back and get ready for a emotional packed half an hour. The album still sounds as good as ever, even after 18 years.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Dave Thomas, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.