Singer, songwriter, musician, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Womack (1944-2014) saw his songs covered by The Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, and his longtime friend Wilson Pickett. But his solo output, recorded over 40+ years for labels including Minit, United Artists, Columbia, Arista, MCA, Capitol, XL, and others, was no less impressive. Now, two of his albums for the Beverly Glen label (also onetime home of artists including Anita Baker and Johnnie Taylor) are being reissued by ABKCO in remastered editions due March 19 in North America and April 30 in the rest of the world.
1981’s The Poet, Womack’s thirteenth studio album, re-established the veteran artist as a musical force with which to be reckoned. It took the spotlight off the well-publicized demons that plagued his personal life and put it squarely back on his music. Every track save one was written or co-written by Bobby, with the remaining song authored by his brother Cecil of Womack and Womack. The Poet featured such veteran musicians as bassist Nathan East, harpist Dorothy Ashby, guitarist David T. Walker, The Funk Brothers’ Eddie “Bongo Brown,” James Gadson, and Paulinho da Costa, plus vocals from The Waters and various members of the Womack family. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B survey and the top 30 of the pop chart, making a triumphant comeback for the artist and the biggest-selling LP of his career. “If You Think You’re Lonely Now,” the album’s lead single, made it to No. 3 on Billboard‘s Hot Soul Singles chart and a sample later provided the basis for Mariah Carey’s chart-topping “We Belong Together.”
Three years later, Womack released The Poet II. The album reunited many of the same musicians and singers as its predecessor, and Bobby again penned all but one of its songs. That lone track not authored by Womack, “It Takes a Lot of Strength to Say Goodbye,” was written by Chris Brubeck (son of jazz legend Dave) and was one of three duets on the album with Patti LaBelle. George Benson also guested, and The Crusaders’ Wilton Felder and rock legend Andrew Loog Oldham teamed with Womack as co-producers. Another one of the LaBelle duets, “Love Has Finally Come at Last” by Womack and Patrick Moten, reached the top three of the R&B Singles chart while the album hit No. 5 on the R&B Albums chart.
While both Poet albums have been previously reissued on CD multiple times, the upcoming editions have been remastered from the original tapes (long believed to have been lost). The Poet and The Poet II will be available on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl as well as on CD. Both formats will feature new liner notes by Bill Dahl. Digital versions (including HD) will also be released.
Look for The Poet and The Poet II on March 19 in North America and April 30 in the rest of the world.
- So Many Sides of You
- Lay Your Lovin’ on Me
- Just My Imagination
- Stand Up
- If You Think You’re Lonely Now
- Where Do We Go From Here
- Love Has Finally Come at Last
- It Takes A Lot of Strength to Say Goodbye
- Through The Eyes of a Child
- Surprise, Surprise
- Tryin’ To Get Over You
- Tell Me Why
- Who’s Foolin’ Who
- I Wish I Had Someone to Go Home To
- American Dream