He was there at the beginning and he’s still here. Bobby Womack is a soul survivor. Fifty years ago he helped out a struggling R&B band from London score their first hit with a song he wrote. The band…The Rolling Stones, the song…It’s All Over Now.
In 2010 help helped another English band. This time it was Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz. That’s Bobby Womack’s distinctive vocal on Stylo, one of the stand-out tracks from Plastic Beach.
The Stones returned the favour in 1975 when they hired Womack to open their 1975 American tour. Daman Albarn reciprocated by co-producing Bobby Womack’s “comeback” album, 2012’s The Bravest Man In The Universe.
It’s been that kind of career for the R&B innovator. He has played guitar on dozens on sessions (Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley), written hits for the likes of Wilson Pickett and The J. Geils Band, and, of course, The Stones and laid down his own brand of down-home soul on solo hits like That’s The Way I Feel About Cha, Woman’s Gotta Have It and Harry Hippie.
Let’s not forget he started out working with the legendary Sam Cooke who produced Bobby and his brothers when they were known as The Valentinos. Oh, and he also helped give birth to modern funk by sitting in with Sly & The Family Stone on their ground-breaking album, There’s A Riot Goin’ On.
That would usually be enough for one artist, but Bobby Womack isn’t done just yet. His latest album, due out soon, is tellingly titled The Best Is Yet To Come. And the best is on his way to New Zealand . Bobby Womack is bringing 50 years of rhythm & blues to the stage with a voice that was recently described in a London concert review as “magnificent”. That show found Womack playing his classic soul jams alongside the edgier electronica of The Bravest Man In The Universe.
What he will perform in New Zealand is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure, it will be dripping with soul. Be sure to catch this legend while you can, it may be your last chance.