Classics: Womack And Womack – Life’s Just A Ballgame (Ballroom Remix) (Island)
Responsible for outstanding pieces of art such as ‘Love Wars’ or ‘Celebrate The World’, Womack & Womack (Linda and Cecil Womack) are to Soul Music what Ashford & Simpson happened to be to Disco. Sophistication even though with simplicity being the keyword to their repertoire. With ‘Life’s Just A Ballgame’ standing as a brilliant illustration to this. From its straight forward lyrics standing as an allusion to the inherent risks of the speculation(s). To its arrangements, in a vein somehow reminding of the purity of Maze‘s ‘Joy & Pain’.
Nothing that surprising though. With ‘Life’s Just A Ballgame’ belonging to the repertoire of confirmed songwriters. Responsible for gems such as ‘Love TKO’ which Teddy Pendergrass brought to the top. But also ‘Woman’s Gotta Have It’ along with Bobby Womack.
One of the absolute highlights along with ‘Missin Persons Bureau (MPB)’ and ‘Teardrops’ from their 1988 released ‘Conscience’ album… ‘Life’s Just A Ballgame’ is a timeless must. Featuring Phillip Bent on flute. This with remixing work courtesy of Lee Hamblin, himself remembered for his collaborations with Simon Law. The twosome producing ‘Love’s Taken Over’ and ‘This Time’ for Chanté Moore among others…
Missed it at the time? Feel free to check it out and let us know what you think…
A native of Cleveland, OH, Cecil Womack and his brothers (Harry, Bobby, Friendly and Curtis) first appeared as a Gospel group in the ealy 60’s. Eventually turning their name into The Valentinos. This upon the suggestion of Sam Cooke who acted them as their mentor and signed them on his own label. Things would alas turn tragically with his murdering in a motel. With his label soon after folding and the group disbanding.
Cecil Womack who primarly got worked as a songwriter and producer went back to his activities. Responsible for gems such as ‘Breezin” and ‘Love TKO’ which George Benson and Teddy Pendergrass respectively released in 1976 and 1980.
He first met Linda (Sam Cooke‘s daughter) when he was 13 and she was 8. Although the twosome were close, and even more after her father’s death in 1964, Cecil married singer Mary Wells three years after. Eventually writing material for her including ‘The Doctor’ which saw the light on Jubilee Records.
From this union came three children. Meanwhile Cecil acted as her manager until they parted ways back in 1977. Cecil and Linda marrying shortly afterwards and forming Womack & Womack in the early 80’s.
Their debut-album – ‘Love Wars’ – saw the light back in 1983 on Elektra. This with production work courtesy of Stewart Levine. The twosome comin’ first with their vibrant rendition of ‘TKO’. Then with the title track of the album standing as one of their signature songs. And last but not least, ‘Baby I’m Scrared Of You’.
Strangely enough, they failed to reproduce a comparable following during the following years. This until the end of the decade with their arrival on 4th & Broadway and the release of their 4th album, ‘Conscience’. Arguably their best effort ever, as led by the Chris Blackwell produced ‘Teardrops’, their biggest success. But also the outstanding ‘Life’s Just A Ballgame’ and ‘Missin’ Persons Bureau (MPB)’ with remix courtesy of Frankie Knuckles. Not to mention ‘Celebrate The World’ from the same package. Strangely enough though, Womack & Womack never managed to come up with another album with the density of ‘Conscience’…
After turning his name into Zekuuba Zekkariyas in 1994, Cecil spent his final years traveling the world with his family. Eventually exploring his African heritage, as well as keeping on making music with his family under the The House Of Zekkariyas guise.
He sadly died of unknown causes in Johannesburg, RSA on Feb. 01, 2013, aged 65…