Bobby Womack didn't mean to take 14 years between albums. The R&B singer, songwriter and guitarist -- known for hits such as "Across 110th Street" and the Rolling Stones' "It's All Over Now" -- was "fed up with the (music) business" and also fesses up to "getting high most of the time."
But now Womack is back. Damon Albarn recruited him to be part of Gorillaz last album, "Plastic Beach" in 2010, and then co-produced "The Bravest Man in the World," Womack's first set of new material since 1998.
"If someone had told me that in your career you're gonna meet a group called Gorillaz and they're big fans and will want to work with you and think you've got a lot more to say, I would've laughed," says the Cleveland-born Womack, 68, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009. "I would've said the only gorillas I ever met was the Monkees, back in the day.
"But Damon was very positive. He had a different outlook with me and I was down with that outlook, because it didn't feel uncomfortable. He really helped me get my confidence back."
Now Womack is looking ahead towards a more prolific future. He's planning a blues album and has also recorded duets with Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and the late Teena Marie for another set called "The Best is Yet to Come." And he's been getting his health back into shape after battles with prostate and colon cancer, as well as pneumonia.
"My doctors get frustrated with me, man," Womack acknowledges. "They keep saying, 'I wouldn't go on the road if I was you right now.' But you can ask any artist; you can have the flu and feel real bad, and then you walk on stage and you hear the audience respond, the flue and everything else leaves you. I go from being 68 to 38, and they have to drag me off stage. I know where home is."
Bobby Womack performs with the Isley Brothers at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 21, at Chene Park, 2600 E. Atwater St., Detroit. Tickets are $27-$100. Cal 313-393-7128 or visit www.cheneparkdetroit.com
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