Bobby Womack

The Poets

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This three-CD set is mostly devoted to material that Bobby Womack released in the first half of the 1980s on the Beverly Glen label. Disc one contains the entirety of his album The Poet; disc two has everything from its sequel, The Poet II; and disc three has all the material from Someday We'll All Be Free, which actually consisted of outtakes from the sessions for those two records. Although this output has been championed for keeping the torch burning for relatively organically produced and sung soul at a time when much black popular music was becoming increasingly mechanized and dance-rap-oriented, it's really just fair soul, though well sung. Nor is it up there with Womack's best work, limiting the appeal of this package to serious enthusiasts of the singer. Each CD does add two acoustic alternate versions of other songs from their respective discs as bonus cuts. These are of mysterious origin, with no info given other than a 1999 copyright date (save the acoustic version of "Secrets," which has a 1981 copyright date). For what it's worth, however, they're decent performances that give a welcome earthier slant to the material.

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