Personnel: Bobby Womack (vocals, various instruments, guitar, background vocals); Friendly Womack, Cecil Womack (vocals, various instruments, background vocals); Jon Rami, Johnny Parham, Richard Griffin (vocals, various instruments); Fernando Harkless (vocals, horns); Johnny Parham, Jon Rami, Patti LaBelle (vocals); Courtney Sappington, David T. Walker, George Benson , Robert Palmer (guitar); Dorothy Ashby (harp); Rusty Hamilton (harmonica, synthesizer); Thurmon Green, Sidney Mulgrow, Sidney Mulgrow, Fred Wesley, Harry Kim, Thurman Green, Wilton Felder (horns); Dale Ramsey, Patrick Moten, Michael Wycoff, Dale Ramsey (keyboards); James W. Alexander, David Miller (synthesizer); David Sheilds , Nathan East (bass instrument); James Gadson (drums, background vocals); Fred Johnson (drum machine); Regina Womack (hand claps, background vocals); Vincent Womack, Tondalei, Sally Womack, Vincent Womack, Sally Womack (hand claps); Eddie Brown, Paulinho Da Costa, Eddie "Bongo" Brown (percussion); Curtis Womack, Kathy Bloxson, Thel Waters, Kathy Bloxson, The Waters, The Valentinos (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Barney Perkins.
Recording information: Hit City West; Kendun Studios, Burbank, CA.
Photographers: Norman Seeff; Moshe Brakha.
Arranger: Bobby Womack.
Though Bobby Womack's star rose high during the first half of the 1970s, the second half found the hits coming few and far between for him. However, THE POET, his first album of the '80s, marked a comeback for Womack. He entered the new era with his raw, soulful vocal style intact, but he began to mix it with synthesizer and other contemporary flavors, polishing up his sound just enough to have an impact on R&B radio, but not so much as to alienate his old fans. Along with songwriting cohort Jim Ford, he penned tunes that perfectly toed the line between idiosyncrasy and commercial appeal, making for one of the high points of his later work.
Like its predecessor, THE POET II combines Womack's raw soul with crisp, slick, contemporary production, but it goes a bit further towards the polished side. A couple of tracks move in a disco direction, with full-on dance-floor-directed arrangements. The most impressive cuts here (and unsurprisingly the biggest hits) are the the duets with soul queen Patti LaBelle. While THE POET II did well, it failed to match the commercial success of THE POET, which Womack would in fact never surpass.