Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street

I first heard this song in the 80s and later on, I heard it in a Tarantino movie called Jackie Brown. You feel like you are walking down that Street in 1973 with this song. You can see the sights and feel the grime as the song finishes. It’s R&B, Soul, and a touch…just a small touch of Motown in the background.

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free
Across 110th Street
Woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh, baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all in the street

Bobby Womack’s 1973 hit single Across 110th Street was the title song from Barry Shear-directed movie starring Anthony Quinn for which Womack provided the soundtrack music. The song peaked at #56 on the Billboard 100 and #19 in the R&B Charts. The song was written by Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson.

It was used in the movie by Quentin Tarantino “Jackie Brown” in 1997 and featured in the 2007 movie “American Gangster.” I’m glad that it has had a revival of sorts and didn’t get lost in history.

Bobby Womack was asked if he noticed his audience changed after this song.

Bobby Womack: I did simply because, at that particular time, that was a change for me, to record with orchestration like that. Across 110th Street had meaning, because although I lived on Central Avenue in Cleveland Ohio [growing up], it was like Across 110th Street. That’s what made me in the frame of mind to write the lyric as I did, because it sort of typified me and my brothers growing up.

Carol Kaye plays bass on this song.

“Across 110th Street”
Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh
Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

I was the third brother of five
Doing whatever I had to do to survive
I’m not saying what I did was all right
Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day-to-day fight

Been down so long, getting up didn’t cross my mind
But I knew there was a better way of life that I was just trying to find
You don’t know what you’ll do until you’re put under pressure
Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free
Across 110th Street
Woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh, baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all in the street

Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, oh-oh-oh

I got one more thing I’d like to talk to y’all about right now

Hey, brother, there’s a better way out
Snorting that coke, shooting that dope, man, you’re copping out
Take my advice, it’s either live or die
You got to be strong if you want to survive

The family on the upper side of town
Would catch hell without a ghetto around
In every city you’ll find the same thing going down
Harlem is the capital of every ghetto town
Help me sing it

Across 110th Street
Pimps trying to catch a woman that’s weak
Across 110th Street
Pushers won’t let the junkie go free
Oh, across 110th Street
A woman trying to catch a trick on the street, ooh, baby
Across 110th Street
You can find it all
In the street
Yes, you can

Oh, look around you, look around you
Look around you, look around you
Yeah
Yeah

Ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh, ooh-ooh-ooh

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

22 thoughts on “Bobby Womack – Across 110th Street”

    1. I heard it on an oldies channel in the 80s but the movie Jackie Brown…really brought it back to me. I agree it should have went higher than it did.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Such a groovy sound.
    It’s uncanny how Tarantino started this movie with this song playing as Jackie is on the moving walkway at the airport, in exactly the same fashion as The Graduate’s credit opening with Simon and Garfunkle’s Sound of Silence.
    What did you think of American Gangster btw? I’m really looking forward to the Elvis Biopic coming out from Baz Luhman in a few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Graduate has some of the best music that assists the movie than I’ve ever seen. I also like Goodfellas.
      I liked American Gangster…I need to watch it again. The Elvis one yea…it should be interesting and I guess they will cover his entire career.
      Although…I’m skeptical about these kinds of movies…I’m a hard ass for wanting real facts…no artistic license… but that is just me.

      Although not a Beatles movie…that is why I get peeved at the Anthology… doesn’t tell 1/3 of the story… but that doesn’t make them all not enjoyable…they are…

      Like

      1. I was watching a great Elvis doco last night on you tube by BBC called ‘Rebirth of the King’ which was excellent and seemed to align with how this movie wants to hone in, at least according to the trailers.
        I wasn’t a big fan of American Gangster because the genre is a lot to live up to, but I did see it a few times and has its moments. It has more an Al Pacino Serpico style, but lacks the nuance and quality of that classic.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Now you are talking what I love… documentaries… I haven’t seen that one on Elvis. I’ve read some good books though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. To be frank my knowledge of Elvis has always been a bit lacklustre since his music has never really done it for me. But after seeing the various trailers last night I had to watch a doco on him. I couldn’t recommend that doco more highly, but if you are already cognisant of his history, then it may not feel as fresh as it did to me. I had a blast seeing it. What a voice he had even in his latter concerts.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I like his early music…it’s about as rock and roll as it gets..but his 60s music…basically sound tracks to movies I never liked…he picked it up in the 70s.
        I’ve gone to Graceland a few times…it’s interesting

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I agree, his early hits and delivery on stage which Luhman seems to have captured really well at least in the trailers were something to behold. How many great songs have been written about Graceland after his departure? It’s a place of great inspiration. It must have been awesome to have seen it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Badfinger,

    Song verses back then at least gave advice about how t get out of the ghetto.

    Can;t say the same for the messages in some of out contemportary times verses which often promote drugs.

    Regards and goodwilll blogging.

    R

    Liked by 2 people

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