Mr. Bobby Womack
“Listen – The Valentinos – It’s All Over Now – MP3″
I hope the middle of the week finds you well.
The track I bring you today is one of those OG versions I was unaware of for years,due in large part to the popular cover by the Rolling Stones. Once I discovered that the tune was a cover of a song by a group named the Valentinos it was another sizable interval before I found out that the group was in fact Bobby Womack and his brothers.
Like many R&B/soul performers, the Womack brothers (Bobby, Cecil, Curtis, Friendly Jr. (yes, Friendly Jr…) and Harris) got their start singing the music of the Lord. They were eventually discovered by none other than Sam Cooke who signed them to his SAR label (also home to Johnnie Morrisette, Mel Carter, Johnny Taylor (a MAJOR disciple of Cooke’s vocal style earlier in his career) and the Simms Twins who recorded the OG version of Sam & Dave’s ‘Soothe Me’).
They first recorded for SAR as the Womack Brothers in 1961, recording as the Valentinos for the first time the following year. They would record a half dozen 45s for SAR between 1961 and 1964 (after SAR closed due to the death of Cooke), before moving to Checker/Chess for a few sides in 1965 and 1966.
Ironically, the cover by the Stones was actually released just before the Valentinos OG after Mick and his pals were turned on to an advance copy of the tune by legendary DJ Murray “the K” Kaufman. They rushed into the Chess studios in Chicago in the summer of 1964 and beat the Valentinos to the streets (and the charts).
Ain’t THAT a bitch?
By August of ’64 the Stones had a Top 20 hit, with the Valentinos’ version only making it to #68 on the Pop charts (though the record was just missed the Top 20 on the R&B charts).
When you compare and contrast the versions, though the lead vocal by Bobby Womack is better that anything the Stones might have conjured up, there is a certain smoothing of the edges (not necessarily a good thing) in the Stones version that might have made it more appealing to a pop audience. I dig the gutbucket guitar and the glockenspiel accents on the Valentinos’ original, and as I said before, Womack is really tearing it up. The first time I heard the original version it was a little jarring, but I’ve grown to love it over the years. No matter which version you prefer (and there are many) there’s no denying that ‘It’s All Over Now’ is a damn catchy song.
All this, and the fact that Bobby Womack is definitely an important figure in the history of 60s and 70s soul who has never really gotten his due, either as a supporting player (major studio guitarist and songwriter) or as a performer.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll see you all on Friday.