As the light dimmed in a Vancouver movie theatre in 1997 I didn’t realize that my life was about to take a turn. Jackie Brown was the follow up to Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction and I was beyond excited to see what he had next in store. As the Miramax logo appeared and the keyboard began I couldn’t have guessed what was about to come next. Tarantino has a gift for pulling music that fits perfectly with what’s on screen. What followed may be one of the best movie intros ever. As Pam Grier enters the frame, the voice of Bobby Womack echoed through the speakers we can see that she’s a flight attendant but we’re not sure if she’s arriving for work or heading home.
As the seconds passed and the shot held, and I began to process the every detail I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed. The tracking shot doesn’t end, every inch of my body waited for the shot to change, this was the start of the era of fast cuts after all. The blast of 60’s soul music filled my ears, I instantly loved it but I was stunned to not know its origin. How did I need know this song? Its amazing. I don’t even know the artist! But it just feels so familiar.
Every line of “Across 110th Street” just enhanced the frame. This shot is lasting forever….wait, I’m studying every detail of the background, every inch of Pam’s face. How often do you get to really examine someone’s face? I don’t want this to end. I’m only 40secs into this movie and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like this, its so simply yet so powerful.
At 1 min and 50 seconds into the movie the shot changes and then some more magic happens. As Grier struts her way through LAX, and Bobby’s stunning voice continues to drill its way into my DNA, the pace picks up. Pam’s powerful strut is replaced by an urgent run. By the time its revelled that Pam is late for work, I am 100% a fan of the yet unknown to me, Bobby Womack.
Within a few days I posses the Jackie Brown soundtrack so began my love of the music of Bobby Womack. Now 17 years later with the passing of Bobby Womack this week I find myself filling my ears with the rich, soulful sounds of the truly amazing Bobby Womack.
I raise my glass to you Mr Womack, thank you for the amazing discography.