About 700 people packed the Monarch Room at the JazzFM Soul Weekender in the Hilton Hotel, Birmingham. As the clock hit 11pm(at last a show at a reasonable hour.. take note promotors!)... a much awaited soul legend walked onstage. It has been a long time since Bobby Womack visited England and 3 concerts had Manchester. Right from the start Bobby had the crowd on his side with his 'movie' hit 'Across 110th Street' which set the tone for the whole show. Womack can still kick it! A 10-piece band filled the stage..which included the 4 horns. Vocals curtesy of Altrinna Grayson and Bobby's daughter!!.. 17 year-old Tina. Next up was 'California Dreamin' followed by 'Nobody Wants You When You're Down And Out'. Altrinna joined Bobby upfront for his epic song 'Harry Hippy'.. this lady can sing!. Moving up a gear 'Daylight' had us movin' and groovin' in the packed hall. 'I Wish She Didn't Trust Me So Much', 'That's The Way I Feel About Ya'.. led into 'Woman's Gotta Have It'..each track with Bobby rappin' and preachin'. 'Welcome Back,Stop On By' had the Soulman incorporating Marvin's 'What's Going On' into the track. Bobby has been around since the days of Sam Cooke and it was the a version of 'A Change Is Gonna Come' which was one of the highlights for me..As we bathed
in the memory.. the band road into another from the days when Bobby was with his brothers calling themselves the Valentinos. The pulsating rhythm just drew the fans into the song... we were screaming out the title. And so.. to another highlight.. the awesome 'If You Think You're Lonely Now'.. wait until tonight babe.. Bobby saying he wrote another line which the radios never played... butts and slaps if my memory serves me correctly. Although this weekender was catering for across-the-board soul the audience were so into each song.. here were real Womack fans. A gospel track may have been risky at some events but not here.. 'Jesus, Be A Fence All Around Me' had Bobby down in the pit area.. prowling the front row. An agile leap(this guy is 60) had him back onstage and calling for Altrinna to join him again. We knew what was comin..... the Showstopper 'No Matter How High I Get'.. this was and always is.. an awesome song.. and the interplay..these two people have so much respect for each other. The Finale (although we didn't know it) was his 1972 hit 'I
Can Understand It' with call and answer between star and fans. Bobby left the stage and an ecstatic audience screamed and shouted for more.
The PA announced that it was over.. and slowly we left the room... one more Bob!.. icing on the best cream cake..! Oh well....
Bobby Womack's years in the business make him an artist not to be missed.. and vocally he is as good as ever. He played the audience to perfection and felt the love.. all the more mysterious that he did no encore. Next day I heard that he had had a dispute with his ex... maybe this was the reason. Nevertheless.. this was a superb show! I tried before and after to get backstage.. nothing doing.. even the promotors could not get to see him... but had the pleasure of chatting to Altrinna Grayson after the show.. a charming and forthcoming lady.. who told me she hopes to get some material released and also to come back on her own. Not to be missed.. the lady deserves to be upfront more.