R.I.P., Bobby Womack


Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Cleveland-born and raised Bobby Womack has passed away at the age of 70.  He was one of America's greatest R&B singer-songwriters and guitarists (Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin) and his career spanned 50-plus years. Last time I caught him live in concert was at the Beacon Theater in NYC well over 18 years ago. He was fine form, played all of his hits, many from the chart-topping The Poet (1981), including one of his most beloved songs, "If You Think You're Lonely Now," and The Poet II (1984), and even dragged Sly Stone (whose classic album There's a Riot Goin' On heavily features Womack's uncredited guitar playing) on stage for a few numbers. For me, his Harlem anthem "Across 110th Street" remains one of the best songs ever. Two years ago he released the critically lauded album The Bravest Man in the Universe on XL, the same U.K. label that released Gil Scott-Heron's last album. It was Mr. Womack's first effort in 14 yeas, and like Gil's effort, there was a very stripped-down, electronica element coursing throughout. My favorite track from said album was the bluesy, Stevie Wonder-inspired piano-bass-and-drum track "Dayglo Reflection" (above) featuring the haunting vocal support of chanteuse Lana Del Rey. His contributions to music will be missed.