Womack & Womack – “Missin’ Persons Bureau (Folk Version)”

Cecil Womack – who has died aged 65 – was an accomplished producer and songwriter but is best known as one half of husband and wife pop soul duo Womack & Womack.  Anyone growing up during their 80’s heyday will be familiar with “Teardrops” and “Love Wars”, in my case both the original and The Beautiful South’s take on the classic.

To say the story of how the couple got together is a complicated one is an understatement, but it’s explained in a 1994 interview with The Independent “How We Met”.
The daughter of Sam Cooke, Linda Womack was 8 and Cecil 14 when they first met, three years later when her dad was shot, Cecil proposed to her. She turned down the “beautiful gesture” on the grounds they were too young.  Barely a month after Cooke’s death Cecil’s brother Bobby married his widow, and according to Womack’s autobiography also had a relationship with Linda.  Cecil meanwhile married “My Guy” singer Mary Wells, producing and co-writing tracks like 1968’s “The Doctor”.

The pair divorced a decade later after Mary began an affair with Cecil’s older brother Curtis.

So far so complicated but in 1979 Linda & Cecil met again, married and spent the next 34 years recording and writing together.

The first Womack & Womach album “Love Wars” spawned three singles, the famous title track, Love TKO (which the pair had written for Teddy Pendergrass) and Baby I’m Scared of You.
Here are two edits, the first, a Casbah 73’s re-edit of “Baby Im Scared Of You” and Rikards Extended Edit of “Love Wars”.

Conscience of My Conscience” is from the fourth W&W LP and Ashley Beedle does a particularly fine job at stretching out those grooves. The song was also covered by Freaks in 2011 who updated the song in a Chicago house Robert Wens style.

Also from 88’s “Conscious” LP, “Life Is Just A Ballgame” seems a fitting end for this mini Womack & Womack selection.

Paul Heaton has talked about how he had Womack & Womack in mind when choosing to have a female singer in The Beautiful South. The desire to have a call and response style led to the likes of “You Keep It All In” and of course the Beautiful South’s cover of  Womack & Womacks’s “Teardrops“.

I’d not heard Brisbane act Carry Nation before but she offers an interesting version of “Teardrops”.

The XX have also covered “Teardrops”.

Bobby Womack had a fractious relationship with his brother but on Facebook he commented on Cecil’s passing.
Thankfully we got a chance to reunite last year after a very long separation – and little did I know that it would be the last time I would see him.”

“I can only pass along what I have now learned, which is to not let anything – money, success, etc, come between you and your family.”