Tuesday, September 8, 2009

" I'm done! " - Bobby Womack on Jools Holland's Later

Bobby Womack does Jools Holland's BBC show 'Later', and plays 'California Dreaming' and one of his signature tune's - 'Across 110th Street', which is best known these days for its use in the movie 'Jackie Brown'.

The movie 'Across 110th Street' was labelled as a 'Blaxploitation' flick, with its stars Anthony Quinn and Yaphet Kotto, but I think it was just a pretty good mainstream movie; the 'Exploitation' genre was great at the time and has certainly inspired Quentin Tarantino.

If you have a sense of humour, and like Blaxploitation, I would recommend stuff on DVD like 'The Black Six', which is so horrendously bad that it is actually amusing (like an omnibus episode of Fair City)!

'Black 6' was intended as a mix of  'The Magnificent Seven' and 'Easy Rider', the six NFL footballers who star in it do their best to deliver their lines without laughing, whilst trying to avoid the boom mike which is ususually visible in their shots.

Also, anything with Jim Kelly (of 'Enter the Dragon' fame) is worth a laugh. Jim eventually left acting to become a tennis coach, much to the relief of Sidney Poitier, who felt his career was being threatened by Kelly at the time and feared that he would lose out in an audition for a proposed multi-million dollar version of Othello.

Anyhoo, I digress; Bobby Womack was a left-handed player who, cos he couldn't afford a leftie guitar when he was a youngster, just learned to play a normal right-handed one upside-down, which he continues to do to this day.

This is not the same as Jimi Hendrix, also a leftie, who modified all his right-handed guitars by cutting the bridges and then re-stringing them to allow him to play left-handed.

Bobby had a wild career, working with his family as 'The Womack Brothers' and 'The Valentinos', writing and recording stuff like 'It's All Over Now', which the Rolling Stones famously covered, giving him a decent pension as a result. He went on to play with Sam Cooke at the height of Cooke's fame.  It was probably when he married Cooke's widow, very suddenly after Sam's death, that people turned against him and his career took a slide.

Womack ended up for a short time in the late 60's hanging out with Sly Stone and his notorious entourage of coked-up thugs and scumbags. Search for some 'Mojo Magazine' back issues if you want to get the full story on that.

Bobby was also the last person to see Janis Joplin alive, except for the dealer who gave her the final fix.

Jayzus - unlucky or what?

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