It may be billed as an autobiography, but ‘Midnight Mover’ only resembles one. What it actually is is a collection of clearly often-told anecdotes assembled by a ghost-writer into roughly chronological order.
What’s good about that is that it undoubtedly gives you a insight into an extraordinary life lived as a soul legend and living alongside other soul and rock legends. You can almost hear him cackling as he tells the stories.
The downside is that, while I don’t dispute any of the facts, some of the details, particularly the conversations don’t ring true; they feel varnished by the retelling.
But that’s just quibbling when the stories are as great as these: friendship with Sam Cooke, a destructive marriage with Cooke’s widow, the psychotic behaviour of Wilson Pickett. Womack was the last-but one person to see Janis Joplin alive when he gave her a lift in his Mercedes and she made up a song around the line ‘Lord won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz.’
Amazingly, given Bobby Womack’s current resurgent popularity, ‘Midnight Mover’ is only available on kindle. It’s well worth the 3 or 4 quid for a rattling good rock ‘n’ soul read.