Monday, June 30, 2014

BOBBY WOMACK (1944 - 2014)


Another sad loss in music as the legendary singer/songwriter, Bobby Womack passed away on June 27th at the age of seventy.

Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Womack came from parents who were both professional musicians. After his father, Friendly Womack discovered Bobby's skills at the guitar at the age of eight as well of the talents of his other teenage sons, he formed a group, The Womack Brothers. The band toured the gospel circuit for a number of years and Sam Cooke, who was a member of the Soul Stirrers at the time, was highly impressed by the boys. Cooke took them under his wing and promised to use them when he found fame. True to his word, Cooke signed them to his record label after he left gospel music and became a successful r&b singer. Changing the group's name to "The Valentinos", they had a top-ten r&b single, "Looking For A Love" in 1962. This lead to opening for James Brown on tour as well as being the backing band for Cooke during recording and tours.

After Sam Cooke's shocking death in 1964, The Womack brothers were left in disarray and scandal due to Bobby marrying Cooke's widow, Barbara only mere months after his death. Womack decided to leave The Valentinos and wanted to start a solo career but the scandal left no one interested, so he settled as a session player and songwriter. Womack played guitar on a number of recordings and wrote songs for a diverse group of artists including Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, Wilson Pickett The Box Tops and Sly and The Family Stone.

Womack recorded his first solo album, "Fly Me To The Moon" in 1968 which began his successful run of singles and albums throughout the '70's and '80's. Drug addiction soon derailed the artist but after a stint in rehab, Womack was ready to focus back on music by the early 1990's. He gained attention after he provided vocals to the track, "Stylo" for Gorillaz from their album, "Plastic Beach" in 2010. This lead to Womack releasing "The Bravest Man In The Universe", his twenty-seventh solo album, in 2012. The album was critically acclaimed and brought the singer back in to the spotlight where he belonged.

In tribute to Mr. Womack, here are a few of my favorite songs:

"Across 110th Street" - Bobby Womack (1972)

"If You Think You're Lonely Now" - Bobby Womack (1982)

"Dayglo Reflection" - Bobby Womack featuring Lana Del Rey (2012)

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