Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Bobby Womack

Unfortunately, while enjoying the immense Wonder of finally seeing Stevie in concert, it was announced that Bobby Womack had died a couple of days previously.

Growing up, Bobby and his brothers were forbidden by a strict father never to touch his guitar. But Bobby played it, and one day broke a string. His father came home and surprised everyone by asking Bobby to play. He was shocked by his son's talents as well as the talents of his other sons. Soon afterwards, he bought Bobby his own guitar and formed The Womack Brothers. They later took the moniker The Valentinos.

They supported the James Brown tour (‘Man, he was mean’), and Bobby wrote and originally recorded the Rolling Stones' first UK No. 1 hit, "It's All Over Now". He was understandably angry, because The Valentinos’ version wasn’t much different, and was in the charts at the same time, but the young white boys from England were obviously a much more marketable commodity.

Bobby married the widow of his mentor, Sam Cooke. For this, he fell out of favour with the public; and without a record contract, he became a session musician. His guitar sound was the magic ingredient in a surprising number of legendary songs – Son of a Preacher Man, It's a Family Affair, and numerous Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin songs; also penning songs that would become hits for other people. ‘He paid his dues.’

In 1968, he signed with Minit Records and recorded his first solo album, Fly Me to the Moon (one of my favourite albums), and the legend goes on from there. Youtube documentary here.

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