Admittedly, I’m experiencing quiet emotional turmoil each time a “great” musician passes.
The generation of musicians born circa WWll are undoubtedly some of the greatest that will ever live.
Every facet of post world war America in the 1940’s through the 60’s, from the celebratory consensus of victory to the tenor of hope and rebellion that sparked radical political, social, and art movements, changed the world indefinitely.
Coupled with standard art and music curriculum in public schools, this environment was a virtual ecosystem that gave birth to great musicians such as Bobby Womack.
Before sitting down to type this, I ran into KCRW’s Jeremy Sole in the hallway. We talked briefly about a few of Bobby’s records that functioned as soundtracks during our formidable pre-DJ years and agreed that one of the things that made him great was his resolve to do it his way.
Bobby’s will to trust in himself as an artist allowed him to transcend 5 decades and a myriad of genres to remain relevant.
Case in point, when the DJ community first heard his cameo on the Gorillaz hit Stylo with Mos Def from 2010, the conversation was about Bobby’s signature warm, textured vocals making the tune.
The aforementioned emotional turmoil has to do with the likelihood that there may never be another time in history that is able to nurture greats such as Bobby.
He had the heart of a lion, the passion of a lover, the soul of a black man in America that yearned and needed to create in order to simply be.
This is why he inspired The Stones, and Damon Albarn, and most quality hip hop producers who grew up around parents that sang, clapped, and made love to his music.
This is what made Bobby Womack great.