Living with…Bobby Womack…for a week
2013…and all good health
If like me you always add to the seasonal clinking of glasses the comment “and all good health”, then I wish you that in a world where we are surrounded by sniffing and hacking coughs. Welcome to Britain in the winter time!
But spare a few minutes for my musical companion of the week, Bobby Womack. There’s no denying that he hasn’t necessarily lived the most virtuous of life and that his body may have taken a hammering in 68 years. But last year he was first hospitalised with pneumonia and then taken in a few months later following a diagnosis of colon cancer. Following surgery he seemed to be in the all clear. This week he announced that doctors believe he is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s after he reported struggling to remember names and the words to his songs.
Which might make you think it’s been a bad year for him, but actually 2012 delivered probably his most positive musical experiences in nearly 20 years. My companion album for the week, The Bravest Man in the Universe, came out last year to universal acclaim and should really be subtitled When Bobby met Damon. The relationship and collaboration with Damon Albarn (he of Blur and Gorillaz of course) has brought us back this most amazing voice.
The album is a delight from start to finish. Not every song will suit every mood but yet again it shows what happens when you mix maturity and the new. Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond both produced some of their best later in life, and you could argue the same here for Bobby Womack. There is a strong Gorillaz influence but a couple of stand-outs for me are Please Forgive My Heart and Stupid. There’s nothing clever or complicated about them, in many ways they are just sparse piano laid over a simple bass and drum, but they are a perfect foil for the growling, urging voice. For the traditionalists there is the almost gospel soul of Deep River. While If There Wasn’t Something There slips on to my exercise playlist (of which more below). If anything the single Love Is Gonna Lift You Up is my least favourite.
So an excellent collaboration and start to 2013 to discover When Bobby Met Damon, and like many others I’m grateful that he’s come back and shown us how much he still has to give. And at the end of the day I wish him all good health.
A stripped back of Stupid for the video of the week.
Working at all good health
I’m not big on new year’s resolutions. They let you down. Or I should say I let them down.
But this year I’m dedicating myself to shifting some of that fat and getting the fitness levels up a wee bit. A return to the piste in six weeks fills me with both delight and fear. Delight at the prospect of mountain air and the swish of powder, fear at the prospect of really how unfit I am.
I’ve also just committed myself to one of those three peaks walking thingies in March which piles on the pressure to shape up even more.
And this being no81bob’s world the most important topic for the next three months at the gym surely has to be the playlist. Too much silence will force me to listen to my groaning body. And it won’t be the uninspiring pop videos that will get me moving. My willpower needs the assistance of some driving beats to get me there. So this week my heavy breathing has mainly been drowned out by the following trax:
1. I Don’t Wanna Lose,Lose,You – ZZ Top
2. Daft Punk is playing at my house – LCD Soundsystem
3. Cigarettes and Alcohol – Oasis (I know…ironic)
4. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
5. If There Wasn’t Something There – Bobby Womack
6. Barbara Streisand – Duck Sauce
7. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
Any other suggestions gladly received. I’m going to need every help I can get to reach my optimum <cough cough>.