THIS FROM THAT – BOBBY WOMACK FROM BESSIE SMITH

I’m excited about this month’s THIS FROM THAT article in NO SKIPS NO SCRATCHES.  I grew up on Bobby Womack’s songs.  He almost single handedly turned me on to Blues as a young’un.  He’s a great singer, guitar player and songwriter so I always assumed he wrote, “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out.”  Imagine how wide my mouth fell open when Detroit Blues singer, Thornetta Davis, told me that Bobby’s hit record was a cover of a Bessie Smith song.  Bessie Smith… famous Blues singer from the 1920’s and 30’s.  Wow!  When was this song written?  Well, my crack research tells me that it was written in 1923 by a guy named Jimmy CoxBessie Smith’s was likely the fourth recording of the song but her smash hit popularized it in 1929.  Can you believe it?  The actual title is, “Nobody KNOWS You When You’re Down And Out,” but Bobby changed “Knows” to “Wants” and added a few new words here and there.  But all in all, it’s the same song that Bessie popularized 44 years prior to Bobby Womack’s 1973 release.   This song has been recorded by countless performers like Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Eric Clapton, Count Basie, John Lennon, Janis Joplin, Jose Feliciano, B.B. King and on and on.  It’s clearly a big time Blues standard that everybody sings at one time or another.  Everybody I listened to stayed pretty true to the original style of the song… except Bobby WomackBobby got Funky with it!  Please enjoy this Side By Side Audio comparison of “Nobody Wants You When You’re Down And Out” and see how THIS (Bobby Womack’s rendition) came from THAT (Bessie Smith’s version).


posted by ladybret


posted by RagtimeDorianHenry

 As a special treat, here is an audio video of Otis Redding’s 1966 rendition of the “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out.”  He stayed true to the original style of the song but he put that Otis Redding soulfulness on it.  I just thought you might enjoy it as much as I did.  Peace!


posted by cherrush