Soul legend Bobby Womack to play concert at Celtic Connections 2014

A rough guide to the Womack story, from recording classic albums to collaborating with Damon Albarn

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Soul legend Bobby Womack to play concert at Celtic Connections 2014

Photo: Jamie-James Medina

Every great artist who has endured periods in the musical wilderness is deserving of a comeback story, and Bobby Womack’s is full of more twists and turns than most. After a decade on the fringes of making music, and years of struggle with poor health, Womack was invited by Damon Albarn to make a guest appearance on the 2010 Gorillaz album Plastic Beach. Revitalised by the collaboration, and suddenly back in demand, Womack went on to record his first album of new music in nearly 20 years, 2012’s critically-acclaimed The Bravest Man in the Universe. It was a title that took on deeper meaning with further context – that year Womack was successfully treated after a colon cancer scare. At the beginning of 2013 he revealed that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

That Womack continues to record and play gigs is of little surprise given his reputation as one of soul music’s survivors. After being ostracised by many of his peers at the age of just 21, when he married Sam Cooke’s widow – almost scuppering his career before it had even started – Womack went on to record classic albums including Communication, Across 110th Street, Facts of Life and The Poet in a ten-year period. He is currently preparing the follow up to The Bravest Man in the Universe, an album that will feature cameos from Stevie Wonder, Rod Stewart and Snoop Dogg, and is set to collaborate on new material with rapper Rick Ross. Womack, who was possibly the most surprised of all at the unexpected welcome he’s been given, remains an enthusiastic and timeless performer over sixty years after starting his career.

Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Mon 27 Jan, part of Celtic Connections.

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