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Bobby Womack

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Bobby Womack, one of the preeminent musical figures of his generation, has truly earned the title "Soul Survivor." Beginning his career in the 1950s, Bobby has been in the forefront of five decades of soul music. Alongside a roster of immortals like Sam Cooke, Sly Stone and Marvin Gaye, Bobby created the body of work that helped define classic soul. But unlike most of his musical contemporaries, Bobby continues to produce new music today, a music based on his experience and the soul tradition he helped to shape.

Bobby was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1944. Bobby's father, Friendly Womack, Sr., played guitar and sang with a local quartet. With his help, Bobby and his brothers formed a gospel group called the Womack Brothers in the early 1950s. Opening for the Soul Stirrers in 1953 put Bobby and his brothers in touch with Stirrers' leader Sam Cooke, who was to play a central role in Bobby's early career, first as a mentor, then as a friend and collaborator.

In 1961, the Womack Brothers were signed by SAR Records, which was owned by Sam Cooke and his manager. The group changed their name to the Valentinos, and branched out into secular music, scoring their first hit in 1962 with "Lookin' for a Love." After a spell with his brothers backing up James Brown, Bobby joined Sam Cooke's band as a guitarist. In 1963, the Valentinos made the charts for the last time with "It's All Over Now," which was covered by the Rolling Stones shortly thereafter.

After Sam Cooke's tragic death in 1964, Bobby concentrated on songwriting and session work for several years, working with artists like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendrix and Wilson Pickett. The late 60s and 70s saw Bobby come into his own, performing a string of hits including "Woman's Gotta Have It," "Daylight," "Stop on By," "That's the Way I Feel About Cha," and "Across 110th Street." Other artists continued covering his music, with Janis Joplin, Leon Russell, Sly Stone and Ron Wood among them.

After the death of his brother, Harry, Womack took a two-year hiatus from writing and recording. His comeback records, Poet and Poet II, received critical attention and gave rise to the hit single "Love Has Finally Come At Last," featuring a steamy duet with Patti LaBelle.

Bobby's latest offerings include a recording of Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and RAW, a concert video featuring Bobby's first ever acoustic guitar performances at the Five Spot in NYC.

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