Soul man Bobby Womack, whose numerous R&B hits included “Lookin’ For A Love,” “That’s The Way I Feel About Cha,” “Woman’s Gotta Have It” and “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” died today according to the artist’s label, XL Records.
The cause of death has not been revealed, but Womack had been suffering from colon cancer and diabetes.
In 1964 Womack and his brothers, recording as The Valentinos, released a song Womack had written, “It’s All Over Now.” A month later the Rolling Stones released their version, which became a #1 hit on the UK sales charts and introduced the singer’s song to a generation of white teens, including me.
I loved “It’s All Over Now,” though it was years before I noticed that the songwriter was Bobby Womack.
I interviewed Womack in 1984 at his home in the Hollywood Hills for Rolling Stone when he was in the midst of one of many comebacks — this one had started with 1981’s The Poet.
At the time we talked, Womack had another hit album,The Poet II.
I asked Womack what his reaction was back in 1964 when he first learned that the Rolling Stones had a hit in England with his song.
“Tell them to get their own fucking song!,” he said. “I never was happy about that until I saw a check.”
Womack became friends with Ron Wood of the Stones, and played on several of Wood’s solo albums.
When he learned of Womack’s death, Ron Wood Tweeted:
“I’m so sad to hear about my friend Bobby Womack ~ the man who could make you cry when he sang has brought tears to my eyes with his passing.”
Womack had problems with drugs — in particular, cocaine. “The biggest downfall for any entertainer is drugs,” Womack said. “I ain’t saying I was totally out there, but I had my share.
During that interview he said he’d been clean for six months and told me he was excited to be touring with a hit album.
“I don’t know about everyone else, but I want to live,” he told me. “I have two sons. I have a beautiful wife. And music, the gift that God gave me, means more to me today than it’s ever meant.”
There is some confusion as to whether Bob Dylan’s January 15, 1965 session at Columbia Studio A in New York was the last for Bringing It All Back Home.
Two writers who had access to Columbia’s archives — Clinton Heylin and Michael Krogsgaard — have documented three sessions that took place on January 13, 14 and 15.
However the Bootleg Series Vol. 7 album, No Direction Home: the Soundtrack, includes a recording of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” that is dated January 16, 1965.
Of course Columbia’s record keeping regarding the Dylan sessions is, as Dylan might put it, “mixed up confusion,” so perhaps that recording was from one of the other sessions.
However photographer Daniel Kraemer writes in “Bob Dylan: A Portrait of the Artist’s Early Years” that he attended “the next to last session” where he says Dylan recorded “Mr. Tambourine Man,” It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding” and “Gates of Eden,” so that had to be the January 15 session. (If you have info on whether there was a January 16 session, please let me know.)
In any case, the January 15 session was momentous. Dylan recorded killer takes of “Maggie’s Farm,” “On the Road Again,” “It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding,” “Gates of Eden” “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” all of which were used for Bringing It all Back Home.
In his book, “Like A Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads,” Greil Marcus writes about side two of Bringing It All Back Home: There was no laughter on the other side of the album. There, except for ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ and ‘It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,’ where single backing instruments were so subtle they seemed more like emanations from the songs than pieces added to them, this was Bob Dylan as he had always been, alone, with his guitar and harmonica. The side comprised four long songs, all of which promised they would never get near Top 40 radio — and they were so self-evidently full of meaning, so strking, so important, so elegant and so beautiful that their quiet drowned out the noise of the songs on the other side. Bob Dlan may haave meant to draw a line, but it was in a furrow already plowed, and flowers grew over it. The faster he moved, the more his trap held.”
Columbia Recording Studios
New York City, New York
January 15, 1965
The 3rd and last Bringing It All Back Home recording session, produced by Tom Wilson.
1. Maggie’s Farm
2. On The Road Again
3. On The Road Again
4. On The Road Again
5. On The Road Again
6. On The Road Again
7. On The Road Again
8. On The Road Again
9. On The Road Again
10. On The Road Again
11. On The Road Again
12. On The Road Again
13. On The Road Again
14. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
15. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)
16. Gates Of Eden
17. Mr. Tambourine Man
18. Mr. Tambourine Man
19. Mr. Tambourine Man
20. Mr. Tambourine Man
21. Mr. Tambourine Man
22. Mr. Tambourine Man
23. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
24. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
25. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
26. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
27. If You Gotta Go, Go Now
1-13, 24-27 Bob Dylan (guitar, harmonica, vocal), Al Gorgoni (guitar), Kenneth Rankin (guitar), Bruce Langhorne (guitar), Joseph
Macho Jr. (bass), William E. Lee (bass), Bobby Gregg (drums), Frank Owens (piano).
14-23 Bob Dylan (guitar, harmonica, vocal).