Who's the Muse?
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


The Valentinos - "Lookin' For A Love"
Bobby Womack - "Fly Me To The Moon"
Bobby Womack - "I'm Through Trying To Prove My Love"

On December 11, 1964, Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, killed Sam Cooke. The official story, which remains controversial, is that Cooke broke into Franklin's office and, wearing nothing but one shoe and a sports coat, demanded to know where his female companion was. When Franklin told him that she had no idea, Cooke attacked her; in self-defense, Franklin shot the great singer dead. The music world mourned, with the possible exception of Cooke's protégé, Bobby Womack.

Three months after the shooting, Womack, then twenty years old, married his mentor's widow, Barbara Campbell, making himself a pariah in the R&B community and derailing his career. His detractors claimed that Womack was trying to capitalize on Cooke's legacy, to ascend to the soul king's vacated throne. It's true that Womack pursued not only Cooke's wife, but also his singing style, so it was probably a mistake, political, if not ethical, to wear one of Cooke's suits to the wedding, too. For his part, Womack said that he married Campbell to protect her; he felt that, left alone, "she would do something crazy."

Whichever story is true, Womack's formative romantic experiences were decidedly unromantic. This might come as a surprise to those familiar with the above trio of songs, recorded over a period including and just longer than Womack's seven-year marriage to Campbell and which, taken together, seem to describe the romantic development of a most sensitive soul. "Lookin' For Love", which Womack recorded with his teenage brothers, is a doo-wop account of all-consuming adolescent girl-craziness; "Fly Me To The Moon", his take on the pop standard, is the best musical mirror of the song's love-drunk lyric, while "I'm Through Trying to Prove My Love to You" captures the common love-hangover.

These are inspired love songs, but inspired by what? As is so often the case with Womack, nothing very specific is said about the woman or women these songs are supposed to be about. Instead, the lyrics focus on his subjective experience of love or, implicitly, on his love for the love song. In "Prove My Love to You", Womack sings, "See when you take my heart/I can't let you take my soul." It's mournful music, but Womack sounds unbroken; though the woman has left, he is not without love. He finds solace in something human relationships, however poisonous, cannot defile (soul music). And he sings the song just like Sam Cooke.

[Buy, Buy, Buy]

Posted by Jordan at December 28, 2011 9:34 PM
Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny