R&B legend Bobby Womack dead at 70

Bobby Womack (Photo credit:Bill Ebbesen/Wikipedia).

Bobby Womack (Photo credit:Bill Ebbesen/Wikipedia).

You could hear the life and the living in Bobby Womack’s voice. He was the gospel-trained son of a preacher man, who climbed back from the depths of addiction, had career highs and lows and was a most cherished protégé of the great Sam Cooke.

The soulful singer was back in the studio this year recording a new album alongside the likes of Snoop Dogg and Ron Isley. It’s apt title was The Best is Yet To Come.

Womack passed away at the age of 70. According to Rolling Stone magazine, he had been known to suffer from a variety of ailments, including colon cancer, but the exact cause of his death is still unknown.

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 ’50s. 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.

After Cooke’s death, Bobby struck out on his own as a songwriter. He penned hits for The Rolling Stones, Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin.

As a solo artist, Womack produced a couple of hit albums and released a popular single ‘Lookin’ for a Love’ in 1971. He struck gold with the ballad ‘If You Think You’re Lonely Now,’ but his career stalled as he struggled with drug addiction for a decade.

Bobby Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, where according to Rolling Stone, he said “My very first thought was: I wish I could call Sam Cooke and share this moment with him.”

Womack had career resurgence with the release of ‘Bravest Man in the Universe’ in 2012, and was still hard at work when he died.

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.