"I feel great," the 69-year-old soul singer said in a recent interview with Okayplayer. Despite battles with cancer and a recent Alzheimer's diagnosis, Womack is still playing shows and working toward the release of what will be his 28th studio LP. He even guests on the hotly anticipated new album by rapper Rick Ross.
It wasn't always easy. Coming out of hospital, Womack recalled, was "like a great boxer goin' out, and he can't box … I lost my sharpness, I lost my skills, you know?" But through rehearsing, gigging, writing and recording, Womack's skills returned; he didn't even wait for Albarn and Russell to ring him up.
"I told Damon and Richard that whenever they're available to record I will make myself available," Womack said. "But I was already working on a new album, I have Stevie Wonder on it, I have Rod Stewart, Levert, Snoop Dogg is on it, this lady from Motown – now what was her name?" And it's not just Wonder making a tiny cameo: there are apparently "a lot of songs where you hear Stevie Wonder singing the song and you hear me on the same song". He compared it to "Sam Cooke and Ray Charles … You don't get that style anymore."
Womack's 2012 album, The Bravest Man in the Universe, was one of the Guardian's favourite records of the year. Debuting at No 49 in the UK chart, it brought Womack to Glastonbury and earned him Q's album of the year prize. But it wasn't perfect, Womack admitted. "I woulda put more music in it and stuff like that," he said. "At the same time I went along with it, I liked what we were writing about."
Womack is scheduled to perform in Liverpool and Glasgow at the end of January.
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