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When Bobby Womack came to Jamaica

When Bobby Womack came to Jamaica

Posted by Shanelle Weir on June 30, 2014

One week before his performance at the 2004 Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival, singer Bobby Womack was excited about his first show in Jamaica.

The veteran soul singer, who died Friday in the United States at age 70, was pleased to know he had a legion of fans in reggae land since the early 1970s.

"That's kinda weird to me, to be around for over 30 years and it's the first time I'll be playing in Jamaica...it's a big deal for me," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Womack had been soul giant Sam Cooke's guitarist in the 1960s. He broke through as an artiste in the early 1970s with the emotional Harry Hippie, a song inspired by his troubled brother Harry.

Harry Hippie was a massive hit and is played regularly on Jamaican radio. So too other Womack standards like I Wish he Didn't Trust me so Much, If You Think You're Lonely Now and Where Did we go Wrong (with Patti LaBelle).

Before Womack began singing, he was a respected guitarist who influenced another left-handed 'axeman' named Jimi Hendrix. At the time Womack was touring with Cooke, Hendrix was part of the Isley Brothers band.

Womack told the Observer that his favourite guitarist was Curtis Mayfield who “played with a lotta soul” and had a unique tuning method. Womack wrote and first recorded the instrumental, Breezin', made famous by George Benson.

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