Younger ears may know Bobby Womack from his recent work with Damon Albarn's Gorillaz project, guesting on the supergroup's 2010 album Plastic Beach, lending his magic to the disco-throb of "Stylo" with Mos Def, and the forlorn stunner "Cloud of Unknowing." Older audiences, though, know the R&B survivor for his solo work, and his early collaborations with his family group The Womack Brothers on some landmark Sam Cooke and James Brown recordings and tours. Womack's guitar work has been unmatched, especially when it comes to the fluid emotion that seems to drip from every cut, from hits like "Woman's Gotta Have It," "Across 110th Street" and "Communication." Then there is the voice, this buttery thing that he can massage with the same skill as his guitar. His marriage of soul and rock would open doors for guys like Jimi Hendrix and even Prince, while also informing the funkiness that even the Grateful Dead would sometimes traffic in on their own Shakedown Street. For a peek at Womack's versatility, seek out his acid-country album B.W. Goes C.W. , which put Nashville on notice in 1976 right as the scene was being flooded with rhinestone cowboys.
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