Legendary musician Bobby
Womack remembered for his delightful style of soul
Kobina "Boyo" Annan, Jr.
June 30, 2014
Robert Dwayne " Bobby" Womack was an American
singer-songwriter and musician. An active recording
artist since the early1960s, when he started his career
as the lead singer of his family musical group the
Valentinos and as Sam Cooke's backing guitarist.
Womack's career spanned more than 50 years in the styles
of R&B, soul, rock and roll, doo-wop, gospel and
He wrote and originally recorded the Rolling Stones
first UK No.1 hit, "It's All Over Now" and New
Birth's "I Can Understand It" amongother songs.
Born and raised in Cleveland's East 85th & Quincy area
to Naomi Womack and Friendly Womack. Womack was the
third of Five brothers.
His younger brothers musicians Cecil and Harry. Raised
Baptist, their mother played organ in their church and
their father was a minister and musician, often known to
play guitar though he advised his sons to not touch the
instrument while he was away.
One night, eight- year-old Bobby,
who was often playing it, broke a guitar string. After
Friendly replaced the string with a shoelace, he let
Bobby play the guitar for him.
According to Bobby, his father was
shocked by his talent as well as the talents of his
other sons. Soon afterward, he bought Bobby his own
guitar and formed the The Womack Brothers. The group
toured the gospel circuit with their parents
accompanying them on the organ and guitar respectively.
Sam Cooke discovered the group performing while he was
still in the Soul Stirrers in 1956 and began
mentoring the boys, promising that he would help with
their careers once he established himself. Within four
years, Cooke had formed SAR Records and signed the
quintet to the label.
Changing their names to the Valentinos, Cooke
produced and arranged the group's first hit single, "
Looking for a Love", which was a pop version of a gospel
song they had released titled " Couldn't Hear Nobody
Pray", written by Bobby. The song became a R&B hit and
helped land the group a spot on James Brown's Revue.
The Valentinos career was left shaky after Sam Cooke was
shot and killed in a Los Angels motel. Devastated by the
news, the brothers disbanded and SAR Records folded.
In 1968, Womack signed with Minit Records and
recorded his first solo album, "Fly me to the Moon",
where he scored his first major hit. He also played
guitar on several Aretha Franklin's albums, including
Womack worked with rock musicians
displaying his ability to work with a variety
of artists in different fields of music.
After two more albums with Minit, Bobby switched
labels, signing with United Artists where he
changed his attire and his musical direction with the
album "Communication". The album bolstered his first top
40 hit, " That's the Way I Feel About Cha", which peaked
at number two R&B and number twenty-seven on the
Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1972.
Following Communication, Womack's profile was
raised with two more successful albums. The first was
"Understanding" which was certified gold.
Another hit album released after "Understanding" was the
soundtrack to the Blaxploitation film "Across
110th Street". The title track would be played in the
opening and closing scenes of the film, Jackie Brown,
years later. He had two more R&B top ten singles during
the 1980s including the Patti LaBelle duet, Love Has
Finally Come at Last ", and "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me
Womack's solo career started to slow down, however,
after 1985, partially due to issues with drug addiction.
After sobering up in the mid-1990s, he released the
album Resurrection and continued his performing career.
In early 2012, Womack entered several hospitals with
health problems including pneumonia, for which he was
successfully treated. On January 1, 2013, Womack
admitted that he was struggling to remember his
songs and other people's names, leading doctors to
suggest that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer's
Bobby Womack died on June 27, 2014 at the age of 70.
Though the cause of his death is currently unknown, he
suffered from an array of health complications.
May you rest in Peace and your gift for soul music live
on through your albums.
Kobina "Boyo" Annan, Jr.
New York, New York, June 30,