You won’t believe a 69-year-old can look good in red leather trousers until you’ve seen still-going soul vocalist Bobby Womack take to the stage.
A virtual retiree until he was coaxed back in front of the mic by Damon Albarn, first for a Gorillaz collaboration in 2010 and then for 2012’s The Bravest Man in the Universe album, Womack’s performance betrayed few signs of age here, even as his health (drug addiction, diabetes, pneumonia and colon cancer have all beset him) required a steady, chaperoning hand on and off the stage.
He bravely opened this Celtic Connections show with his best-known song, Blaxploitation soundtrack classic Across 110th Street, although the quality of the set which followed told of a far broader and more enduring talent than the revival of interest the song’s inclusion in Tarantino’s Jackie Brown might allow.
Surrounded by thirteen support singers and musicians, he touched upon "It’s All Over Now", recorded by Womack’s first group the Valentinos and popularised by the Rolling Stones, the righteous groove of his Wilton Felder collaboration "(No Matter How High I Get) I'll Still Be Looking Up To You" and the sublime disco-funk of "I Can Understand It", with the striking harmonising of his crystalline falsetto with the entire horn section during "The Bravest Man in the Universe" leaving the most indelible impression of his continued ability.
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