Woah Now. Bobby Womack, Notting Hill Arts Club.

Ain't it always the way? Follow where Damon leads, and not only do you oft find yourself penned in against a nearby HSBC storefront by his customary array of Albarn-alikes, but they that impatiently await anxiously chatter of rare Blur tour tees and other inessential memorabilia. At least it's nowhere near gelid enough for it to be blue-lipped natter, as it's remarkably mild for an October eve way out west in the revered cultural polymath's native endz. Going against the grain, however, although there may be many here to fawn over Albarn he's not exactly the figurehead of what has become an almost propulsive movement – one spearheaded by inimitable Ohio crooner Bobby Womack – as he and his enviably assembled backing brigade glide on in to the capital.

If these be some of few final words on the gently megalomaniacal west London loon, then they're pertinent ones. For despite the egomania to have wrecked various rapports beyond repair (see the now chasmic rift between he and Gorillaz accomplice Jamie Hewlett for weighty corroboration) there's something about the way in which the Blur boy sticks by his miscellaneous men to go greatly endear. Our beloved Kwes. is on keys, the pair having worked together on the phenomenal DRC Music LP of yesteryear, and indeed Albarn is, in many respects, the driving force behind Womack's contemporary renaissance having fished Bobby out for a couple Plastic Beach cameos and the album's (almost excessive) subsequent touring. He co-produced Womack's XL début, The Bravest Man in the Universe alongside the label proprietor least likely to, Richard Russell, who tonight serves as human drum machine and flickers various frayed coppers. However, here Albarn's enthusiasm is patent as he plods away behind his weatherbeaten piano. No piano sounds quite like it; no voice hums as softly either, although it's for once winning to witness him assume a significantly less focal role within proceedings. It's a slight alteration to last time out, at least.

It's testament to Womack's enduring powers, though, that his name alone could attract these headlining faces. Factor in Jaleen Bunton of TV On The Radio on stark bass tones, legendary Nigerian sticksman Remi Kabaka on rather impromptu hype man duties stage-right, and Kabaka's son (another producer in on DRC Music) on rhythms and you've not only a motley crew, but a quite magnificent one too. Oh, and idolise or despise, Mark Ronson's spinning some appositely soulful stuff off shadowed plates beneath the stairs. All in a boho soirée down around 21 Notting Hill Gate, then.

The seesawing strings of Del The Funky Homosapien's Catch A Bad One grind to a halt, and the band emerge. Adorned in matching Womack baseball jackets, the expressive crackle-laden croaks of the late R'n'B songster Sam Cooke, for whom Womack once strummed a string or two, introlude the show. "As a singer grows older, his perception goes a little deeper, because he lives life and he understands what he's trying to say a little more", he softly intones from beyond the faraway grave and over the PA. This is, of course, a knowingly astute prelude to Womack's imminent arrival: born and raised in the playgrounds of Cleveland's East 85th & Quincy and brought up beneath the breadline, Bobby carries that world-wary yet never world-weary sagacity only truly afforded they that place an unremitting faith in faith itself. He epitomises, and has now epitomised for comparative aeons, greatness. And a madcap instrumental take on a Lana-less Dayglo Reflection echoes this perfectly. Its tumbling keys and syncopated rhythms recall quite unmistakably much of Albarn's more melancholic outpour – the sort which comes from some remote cloud of unknowing somewhere deep within him; concealed somewhere beneath the sporadically hooliganistic façade and metallic gnashers – and stripped bare of Del Rey's stilted wails, it is imbued with an hitherto unprecedented poignancy.

"This one's dedicated to XL. The best family I ever had", Womack rasps once finally materialised. Not only has Russell's extolled London label facilitated the release of his finest record in yonks (and his first comprising original material in longer still), but they've also aided in the fostering of this irrefutably superb group. However in finer keeping with his familial kin, his attentions soon turn quite capriciously to his pious upbringing. "It feel like a church in here. The church I used to go to. About the same size; the same shape; just as crowded." He rolls on gently into the creaky gospel acoustica of Deep River. We consequently rejoice. His acoustic then gets axed for a brooding Whatever Happened To The Times? as Russell's muffled beats rustle up the sort of grubby ambience known of nearby Harlesden. "What we doing now? Ah yeah – my favourite. No, this one's actually my favourite." Please Forgive My Heart follows, and it's ours too. If it here lacks the finesse of its finalised version then it more than compensates in sheer felicity, for it's music at its most honest, and open, and honestly invigorating. It's a tour de force, and yet its force is no more vigorous than the very bare minimum.

Womack reverts to the sinuous funk-splotched feel of '71 LP Communication with The Bravest Man in the Universe, a track which tonight more than ever sounds like Robert Del Naja re-refracting the more soulful end of the seventies spectrum through a clunky bass line that circles to close whilst Jubilee (Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around) signals a return to the gospel watering hole, as hysteria descends. Womack, meanwhile, ascends: he appears to be experiencing something quite transcendental, as his insistent calls of "Don't let nobody" are met with rabid responses of "Turn you around!" Albarn's nodding like a Bromley bulldog, his teeth glinting with convincing glee before he too becomes overwhelmed with overexcitement, sousing the front few with 500ml of H2O.

"The clock on the wall says it's time to go", Womack laments and it's the one face in the room not grinning quite gormlessly this evening as having lingered downstairs now for well over two hours, a thoroughly ecstatic half hour brings all forms of redemption. It's been a truly special evening; one to transcend time, just as Womack's illustrious career has. And, his voice still pure as ash yet with it grittier than a teeming ashtray, he's not only stood the test o' time, but has ambled its long, winding, and wearying extent. His voice remains his steadfast sidekick, and with that the brilliant twinkle in this star-studded ensemble.