Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Tribute to a Real Rapper...

















This guy was sayin' some deep stuff
when Tupac was an itch in his daddy's
pants.

He was a poet, preacher and a communicator
in the soulful age of Rhythm and Blues when
singers not only sang, but rapped as well. And
they said some really deep, soul stirring stuff too.
They talked about life, love, heartbreak,
pain and hard times.

In other words, real life ish.

By no stretch of the imagination was Bobby
Womack a hip-hopper. But we can learn
a lot from he and his music.

"Across 110th Street", "If You Think You're
Lonely Now", "A Woman's Gotta Have It",
"I'm Lookin' For A Love", "Where Do We Go
From Here", "Harry Hippie" and "I Can Understand It";
Womack had a way of getting straight to the heart of
the matter.

"When the skeletons come out of the closet,
And chase you all around the room,
And the memories sail around like a ghost,
And mess you around with a sad long tune.
If you think you're lonely now - wait until tonight."

And this...

"I was the third brother of five,
Doin' whatever I had to do to survive.

I'm not saying what I did was all right.
Tryin' to make it out of the ghetto was a day to day fight."

I met him backstage at the Oakland Paramount Theatre in 1996.
I didn't know how old he was. But the brother seemed "old"
to me. I now know that he was about fifty-two - but
from being around him and listening to him he seemed like he
was seventy-two.

My best friend Mark was working with the promoter somehow
or another, so I tagged along and got to hang out with "The Poet."
He was impressed by my knowledge of music.
Only a crate digger knows that it was Bobby and Gabor Sazbo
(I probably spelled it wrong) that originally did "Breezin"
a song that George Benson would later popularize.
Bobby's eyes glistened behind his glasses and a warm smile
enveloped his face with every song of his I mentioned.
After all it isn't everyday that a legendary soul man comes
face to face with a twenty-six year old that knows his
music like it came out yesterday.

At the time I was shopping demos and having no luck.
I had heard all of the music business horror stories: Broke artists.
Ripped off artists. Broken groups. Fat cat record men with huge
pockets made off of near destitute artists. I had to ask someone who
would really know...

"Mr. Womack, how do you make a living in the music business?"

Mr. Womack took a long draw on his cigarette while interrupting
himself from the small space of solitude that he reserved for
himself for quiet private thoughts and said to me: "Son, you gotta
love what you do."


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