Soul Serenade: Bobby Womack and Peace, “Across 110th Street”

Written by Ken Shane's Soul Serenade, Music

The 1972 blaxploitation film “Across 110 Street” has been largely forgotten, but Bobby Womack’s indelible title song lives on.

Soul Serenade

Bobby WomackI rarely get sick, but this week I’ve got it all. So please forgive me if I keep this short.

Across 110th Street is a 1972 blaxploitation that was filmed on the streets of Harlem. It stars Yaphet Kotto, Anthony Quinn, and Tony Franciosa. The film is a fun watch, but real pleasure is to be found in the soundtrack, specifically in the title song which was written by Bobby Womack and film composer J.J. Johnson. The song was clearly inspired by Curtis Mayfield’s “Superfly,” but it certainly has an awesome groove, and an attitude tough enough to allow it to stand on its own.

The single “Across 110th Street”, credited to Bobby Womack and Peace, reached #19 on Billboard’s Top Black Singles chart, and #56 on the pop chart. The song so powerfully evokes the world of urban street crime that it was featured again in Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film Jackie Brown, and more recently in Ridley Scott’s American Gangster in 2007.

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