Bobby Womack, soul royalty, has left us, age 70

Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2014 02:34 pm
The wonderful Bobby Womack has died at the age of 70



Bobby Womack, who spanned the American soul music era, touring as a gospel singer in the 1950s, playing guitar in Sam Cooke’s backup band in the early ’60s, writing hit songs recorded by Wilson Pickett and the Rolling Stones and composing music that broke onto the pop charts, has died, a spokeswoman for his record label said on Friday night. He was 70.

Sonya Kolowrat, Mr. Womack’s publicist at XL Recordings, said further details about the death were not immediately available.

Mr. Womack, nicknamed the Preacher for his authoritative, church-trained voice and the way he introduced songs with long discourses on life, never had the million-record success of contemporaries like Pickett, Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Otis Redding. His sandpaper vocal style made him more popular in England, where audiences revere what they consider authentic traditional American music, than in the United States.

But the pop stars of his time considered Mr. Womack royalty. His admirers included Keith Richards, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder, all of whom acknowledged their debt with guest performances on albums he made in his later years.

Mr. Womack had his first major hit in 1964. He was under contract with Cooke’s SAR label when he wrote the song, “It’s All Over Now,” and recorded it with his group, the Valentinos, which consisted of him and four of his brothers. The song was slowly rising on the R&B charts when Cooke told him that a British band called the Rolling Stones had liked it so much that they planned to record it, too.

The song became the Stones’ first No. 1 single in Britain and their first international hit, while the Valentinos’ version sank.

“I was very upset about it,” Mr. Womack said in an interview. “It was like, ‘They stole my song.’ ”

Later, he said, as Cooke had predicted he would: “I stopped being upset when we got our first royalty check. That changed everything.”

Many of his songs were recorded by others, often with greater success than his own renditions. Janis Joplin included “Trust Me” on her album “Pearl,” the J. Geils Band recorded “Lookin’ for a Love,” which reached the Top 40 in 1972, and Pickett recorded “I’m a Midnight Mover” and 16 other Womack songs.

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In 1971 Mr. Womack played guitar on, and helped produce, Sly Stone’s most ambitious album, “There’s a Riot Goin’ On,” now considered a soul classic.

Bobby Dwayne Womack was born on March 4, 1944, in Cleveland. His father, Friendly, was a steelworker and part-time Baptist minister. His mother, Naomi, played the organ for the church choir. Under their father’s direction, Bobby and his brothers Cecil, Curtis, Friendly Jr. and Harry formed a gospel group, the Womack Brothers, which began touring in 1953.

Sam Cooke, who spent the early ’50s as lead singer of a gospel quintet, the Soul Stirrers, first heard the brothers sing on a visit to Cleveland, when Mr. Womack was about 7. A decade later, Cooke invited the brothers to join him in Los Angeles, where he had his own record company and was a successful secular pop balladeer.

The Womacks were raised to believe that hell awaited gospel singers who sang pop music, Bobby told interviewers, and at first they resisted Cooke’s summons. They made several gospel records for SAR before changing their name to the Valentinos and recording their first secular songs, a decision that caused a lasting rift with their father, until shortly before his death in 1981.

By 17, Mr. Womack was the lead singer of the new group, the youngest guitarist in Cooke’s touring band, and an emerging hit songwriter. His song “Lookin’ for a Love,” a remake of a gospel composition, became a modest hit for the Valentinos on the R&B chart in 1961 (a decade before the J. Geils version). Royalties from “It’s All Over Now” alone reportedly made him financially secure for most of his life.

In 1981 he released two of his most critically acclaimed albums, “The Poet” and its sequel, “The Poet II,” which featured several duets with the soul singer Patti LaBelle. He joined the Rolling Stones to sing a duet with Mick Jagger on “Harlem Shuffle,” on the Stones’ 1986 album, “Dirty Work.”

In 2009 Mr. Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His marriage to Ms. Campbell, as well as two subsequent marriages, ended in divorce. His survivors include a daughter, GinaRe.

Across 110th Street:

If You Don't Want My Love:

If You Think You're Lonely Now:

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Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2014 02:40 pm
An article from Time Magazine:

Bobby Womack: A Passionate, Reckless Soul Man to the End

Just months before his death, the legendary singer of "Across 110th Street" told TIME about his life, lived as heartfelt and wild as his songs

Its called soul music for the intensity with which its singers deliver a lyric: hearts on fire, the best seem to testify as they sing, wrenching their body when they perform, bellowing a message, funky and free. Bobby Womack was the quintessential soul man. The superb singer and songwriter, who wrote hit songs later put onto wax by the Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Wilson Pickett, and made a string of iconic R&B albums in the Seventies before having a career resurgence in recent years, lived his life with the same passion and, at times, reckless abandon that made him a dynamic musical force. He died last week at age 70.

“The only way you can create is you gotta be free” Womack told TIME a few months before his passing. “That’s what you’ve gotta do to be in this business. You’ve got to be on fire.” His talent was always burning, but Womack, known for his gravelly voice and recurring bouts with cocaine abuse, never reached the commercial heights of his contemporaries like Marvin Gaye, Al Green and Otis Redding.

Born dirt-poor in Cleveland, in 1944, the third of five sons, Womack and his siblings formed the Womack Brothers – later renamed the Valentinos – a gospel-singing kiddie crew, in the Fifties. They found a mentor and champion in Sam Cooke, who inspired them to branch out into secular music; he later employed Womack as a guitarist in his band. “When I first started recording, I was just so loose,” Womack said of a fertile songwriting period in the early-Sixties that spawned his first hit in “It’s All Over Now,” a 1964 chart-riser that got pushed to the side by the Stones’ cover. “I would just come up with an idea and Sam Cooke would say, ‘What is that?’ And I’d say, ‘Oh, just something that I’ve just got.’ It just came to me out of nowhere.” '

Womack is survived by Regina Banks and four children: Gina, Bobby Truth, Cory and Jordan. He died two weeks after playing the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee
Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2014 03:05 pm
May his SOUL Rest In Peace.
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Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2014 03:09 pm
He wrote The Stones' first hit.

What a talented man he was.
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Reply Sun 29 Jun, 2014 04:39 pm
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Real Music
Reply Tue 1 Jul, 2014 07:27 pm
Bobby Womack was truly one the great SOUL singers of our time. He will be miss. A few of my favorites by Bobby Womack included (1) "If You Think You're Lonely Now" (2) "That's The Way I Feel About You" (3) Woman's Gotta Have It" and (4) Harry Hippie. When you think of great soul performers, certain artists come to mind. Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and of course Bobby Womack.
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Real Music
Reply Tue 4 Jun, 2019 07:44 pm
If You Think You're Lonely Now - Bobby Womack

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Real Music
Reply Tue 4 Jun, 2019 07:52 pm
That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha - Bobby Womack

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Real Music
Reply Tue 4 Jun, 2019 07:56 pm
Bobby Womack: Woman's Gotta Have It

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Real Music
Reply Tue 4 Jun, 2019 07:58 pm
Bobby Womack - Harry Hippie

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