Bobby Womack has more soul than any of the new young artists on the current rhythm and blues charts. This master singer, songwriter, guitarist and arranger has been "makin' music" since the 50's. He has been an influence on and played with Sly Stone, the Rolling Stones, J. Geils Band, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett and his gospel mentor, Sam Cooke. It's not likely that this latest release will reach the epic sales that his #1 album, "The Poet" did in the early 80's. As the title states, this is not a blues CD. Womack's roots are in gospel and rhythm and blues. The highlights include "What a Friend I Have in Jesus," "Nearer My God To Thee," and the tour-de force "Oh Happy Day" and are all done with his typical trademark deep-soul feeling and an up-tempo beat. Mr. Womack's talent is evident on this CD as he produced, sings, and plays guitar on all the songs. Besides the standard gospel tunes, Womack has written a new tune called "Rug." He wrote the song telling about his foray from gospel into pop music. He sings the song not as a lament but with gospel vigor. He has some help from his friends Billy Preston, Wilton Felder, and members of the Dixie Hummingbirds. Their contributions always take a backseat to Womack's outstanding, pleading vocalizations. Overall this disc is a fine excursion into the gospel roots of one of the best R&B innovators. The sound is genuine because this music is second-nature (first-nature really) to Bobby Womack. This is not a blues disc but like other roots music, it comes straight from the heart.
The CD is scheduled for a June 1999 release.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Putnay Thomas, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.