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Review: Celtic Connections

Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

CONVENTIONAL wisdom has it that Monday nights are not good promoting nights. Well, they are if you bring over a legend and he lays on a funky soul party that turns Monday into a Saturday.

Bobby Womack may not be as strong as he once was. But this is not the place to list his ailments or dwell on his troubles because - save for the attentions of his valet and the occasional need for a chair - he put all that aside and presented a classic soul revue. The man has history and hits, and he covered quite a lot of both, recalling Sam Cooke producing Looking For Love for his brothers, the Valentinos, and joking that he's still waiting for a royalties cheque from a certain English rock'n'roll band for It's All Over Now.

If his ageing voice is cracked and not always clear, he more than compensates with the quality of his supertight band, which includes Sly Stone's marvellous bassist Rustee Allen and soul-preaching alto saxophonist Chazzy Green, and a trio of backing singers who could probably put on a decent show by themselves, not least the mighty Altrinna Grayson.

Fellow soul legends hovered in the background as Womack, resplendent in cerise leather, led a sidebar into Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and summoned up a stoic reading of Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come, and in time-honoured soul revue style he gave almost everyone a chance to express themselves within tight, concise margins. Then he upped and left, looking frail but with a celebratory I Can Understand It fuelling us up for the journey home.

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