I’d heard of this trailblazing soul man before, but at that point I couldn’t actually say I ‘knew’ his music with serious conviction. That night at the Roundhouse, I was there to see Bobby perform with Gorillaz – Damon Albarn and his circus of musical collaborators. My unfamiliarity with his legacy didn’t stop me from appreciating what a special moment it was to be in his presence and feel his energy, however.
I’ll never forget the atmosphere all around me from the crowd that night when he sung ‘Cloud of Unknowing’. A dreamy, ever-so-slightly foreboding song, steeped with organs and strings. It’s classic Albarn at his melancholic best. It’s also seemingly a complete world away from Womack’s lean-in-and-listen soul music, you might think. Yet, every syllable fluttered with emotion. The mood in the concert hall at that moment was breathless – the entire crowd had been beset by the same euphoria.