Farewell to Bobby Womack, the Last Soul Man
His death at the age of 70, therefore, is not a shock, but it's no less sad, because Bobby was a true soul great. His 1987 LP The Last Soul Man, proved not to be an accurate prediction, as there are still a few of the great soul singers of the 1960s alive, but Bobby was almost the last and certainly one of the greatest. His career began as a member of the Womack Brothers gospel group who, under the guidance of Sam Cooke, became the Valentinos, and recorded Looking For A Love and the original version of It's All Over Now. Bobby became a subject of controversy for Sam Cooke fans, me included, when at the age of 21 he married Sam's 29 year old widow Barbara just three months after his death.
Bobby's solo career took off in 1968 when he signed with Minit Records and recorded a couple of
LPs, Fly Me To The Moon and My Prescription, and enjoyed a hit with a cover of California Dreamin'. From there he moved to United Artists where he recorded Communication and had a substantial hit with That's The Way I Feel About Cha. More success folllowed with his Understanding LP, which included I Can Understand It and Harry Hippie. Then came Across 110th Street, Facts Of Life, Looking For A Love Again, I Don't Know What the World Is Coming To and BW Goes C&W - all featuring Bobby's throaty voice which could turn run of the mill songs into something special. Despite drug problems he continued to have success on various labels, including Columbia, Beverley Glen and MCA, with Home Is Where The Heart Is, The Poet, The Poet 2, Womagic, The Last Soul Man and Save The Children. In the 1990s his career slowed down, partly due to his drug addiction, but he continued to perform and I remember seeing him several times in London and New
Orleans during that period. Then came his new success in 2010 and suddenly Bobby was a star with a younger audience, leading him to appear at festivals and venues that would never have featured him in the past.
Through all that Bobby's voice remained just the same and his stage appearances were never less than magnetic, even when you feared for his health in his later days. The Last Soul Man has passed on. The Poet is no more. It really is All Over Now. But at least we have his records, a few of which are pictured below.