“She’s always complaining about me never being at home,
But when I’m there I’m broke.
She’s telling about the things that her girlfriend’s got,
What she ain’t got,
And she wants me to go out and get it for her.
But girl, I can’t be in two places at one time.”
He is known as The Poet of Soul. From the Rock N’ Roll city of Cleveland, Ohio, Bobby Womack knew his early success as a member of soul group The Valentinos, discovered and signed by Sam Cooke. The Valentinos had several hits, including “It’s All Over Now”, but fizzled after Cooke’s untimely death. Womack found true success, however, as a writer for rockers The Rolling Stones and J. Geils Band and soulmen like Wilson Pickett. His music set the stage for pop/soul confections from Teddy Pendergrass and Jeffrey Osbourne while influencing R&B songwriters and producers from the early 1990’s, such as Babyface and the Riley/Lewis production team.
With well known songs for other artists under his belt, as well as years of production work and studio sessions, Womack was poised for success in the late 1970’s. This came to fruition with the writing and recording of 1981’s “The Poet”. The album was meant to be a showcase for Womack’s strengths…his masterful singing, writing and virtuosity. Some liken his work to an early version of megastar Prince’s albums, which are singular visions created by one man.
“If You Think You’re Lonely Now” is the true jewel of the album. The chorus is infectious and the lyrics are thought provoking, a hallmark of all Womack tunes. The song is almost a new wave soul creation, born from gospel as well as the musical background of rock and folk. Most liken this to the same approach Al Green uses to create a song. They both use guitars to write, something other soul writers eschew in favor of the keyboard. This enables the song to go in different directions and sets the tone apart from other songwriters and singers.
Womack found great succes with “The Poet” and it’s 1984 sequel, “The Poet II”, in Europe. His tours there have generally been larger than their U.S. counterparts, yet he has had many songs covered and featured in films (“Jackie Brown”, “Meet the Parents”) as well as a hit with Patti Labelle, ‘Love Has Finally Come At Last’. This song was even name checked in Mariah Carey’s comeback slow jam “We Belong Together’. Womack continues to write and perform, most recently at his 2009 Rock N Roll Hall of Fame induction, in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.