The Rock’s Backpages Flashback: Bobby Womack Calls The Shots
Bobby Womack, back in action (after a long illness) with the remarkable Bravest Man in the Universe album, was at the top of his soulful game when Cliff White interviewed for New Musical Express in March 1976. Read the first half of the article here…——Barney Hoskyns, Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages
After ten minutes with Bobby Womack, you know why half the groups that visit L.A. beat a path straight to his door. He's just got to be one of the friendliest and most entertaining guys in the business, a self-confessed compulsive talker — in fact a compulsive person, period — "with a whole lot of energy to burn."
Womack doesn't so much submit to being interviewed as let you tune in to his stream of conversation for as long as you want to stick around. If you've got anything to ask he'll be glad to tell you, if you haven't then just hang loose, because you'll still learn a lot.
Whatever subject crops up you'll hear no bullshit from this man. He's strictly to the bone. He's one of the few artists that a sympathetic interviewer might voluntarily censor for fear that certain of his comments could stir up too much trouble for him when he gets back home... So, we'll bypass his opinions about a certain record company, and their treatment of friends of his, and stick to the twists and turns of his own career.
For his first official visit to Britain, United Artists had rounded up as many journalists as they could lay their hands on and by the time I arrived he'd already been holding court for nearly two days solid.
When I was finally ushered out, Bobby was still going strong, his only regret at that point being that he'd spent more time in Britain talking than he had performing.
"I like to keep the groove going. I don't mind being off one day a week but otherwise I'll play all the time. It keeps you tuned up, man, you know?"
His groove is not necessarily performing live, which he feels only works well after a long lay off — "When you really get the urge to go out on the road. That's when an artist give his best. Then after a while you get stale again, singing the same songs every night, so that's the time to go back and work on new ideas. It's a question of doing it, whatever it is, when it feels good. Not when you have to.