A veteran who paid his dues for over a decade before getting his shot at solo stardom, Bobby Womack persevered through tragedy and addiction to emerge as one of soul music's great survivors. His records were quintessential soul, with a bag of tricks learned from the likes of Sam Cooke , Wilson Pickett , and Sly Stone , all of whom Womack worked closely with at one time or another. Yet often, they also bore the stamp of Womack 's own idiosyncratic personality, whether through a lengthy spoken philosophical monologue or a radical reinterpretation of a pop standard. An underrated guitarist, Womack helped pioneer a lean, minimalist approach similar to that of Curtis Mayfield , and was an early influence on the young Jimi Hendrix. Bobby Dwayne Womack was born in Cleveland on March 4, His upbringing was strict and religious, but his father Friendly also encouraged his sons to pursue music as he had he sang and played guitar in a gospel group. They were chosen to open a local show for the Soul Stirrers in , where Bobby befriended lead singer Sam Cooke ; following this break, they toured the country as an opening act for numerous gospel groups.
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Womack grew up in Cleveland as one of five brothers. When they were children, their father, a steelworker and amateur singer, organized them into a gospel vocal group called the Womack Brothers. In the group opened for the gospel act the Soul Stirrers and impressed one of its members, Sam Cooke. After Cooke transitioned to secular pop music , he persuaded the Womacks to do the same. The latter song , cowritten by Bobby, gained further exposure through a contemporaneous cover version by the Rolling Stones.
For the Record …. Bobby Womack was born in Cleveland , Ohio , one of five sons of a steelworker. He and his brothers — Cecil, Curtis, Friendly, and Harris — began singing gospel as the Womack Brothers while Bobby was still a youngster. The group travelled throughout the Midwest and performed in shows with other gospel ensembles.