HITS Daily Double

Bobby Womack RIP

BOBBY WOMACK, the great first-generation soul artist, passed away on Friday. The cause of death was not immediately released, though he’d battled colon and prostate cancer and had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 70. There are excellent tributes to Womack’s remarkable seven-decade career in The New Yorker, Time and Rolling Stone. But here’s an anecdote that illustrates the combination of affection and awe with which Womack was regarded by his fellow musicians—not to mention the great man’s huge heart and generosity of spirit. In 2004, when Los Lobos were beginning their guest-star-filled 30th anniversary album The Ride, Womack was the first artist to join them in the studio, cutting a medley of his classic “Across 110th Street” and Lobos’ “Wicked Rain.” As the band’s Steve Berlin recalls, “Bobby was all cut live, and Cesar [Rosas] overdubbed his vocal—once he got up the courage.” Rosas picks up the narrative: “Just to be in the same room with Bobby Womack, to be sittin’ right next to him, was awesome. Thirty seconds after we met, he’s singin’ my song to me, sayin’, ‘What do ya think about this?’ It was remarkable to me ’cause I didn’t really know him, and none of us had really worked with him before, but he hung out, he told stories, we had a meal together. At one point he goes, ‘Al Green called me and wanted me to be on his record, but I told him I was busy working with you guys.’ We’re like, ‘You turned Al Green down for us?’” Time to crank up the stereo and blast “It’s All Over Now” in his memory. (6/29p)