Carrying over everything he'd learned in the '60s (his deeply felt sense of blues, the vulnerability absorbed from watching Sam Cooke, the songcraft learned writing hits for others), Womack reinvested his music with the maturity and militancy of the early-'70s soul scene. Communication is darker than anything he'd done before: “Disgusting one another but still callin’ me your brother,” he sputters on the title track. Even as he processed the changing times, Womack continued to deliver love songs of the utmost sensitivity, as in “Come L’amore,” “(If You Don’t Want My Love) Give It Back,” and “Everything Is Beautiful.” There's an intimate, hand-stitched quality to these recordings, not dissimilar to There’s a Riot Goin’ On, which had been recorded earlier that year by Womack’s friend and collaborator Sly Stone. This quality is evident on “(They Long to Be) Close to You” and “Yield Not to Temptation,” which have the gaunt closeness of demos. That feel culminates on “That’s the Way I Feel About Cha,” a yearning masterwork that erases the barrier between adoration and injury.
Fire and Rain
(If You Don't Want My Love) Give It Back
Medley: Monologue / (They Long To Be) Close To You