Most Wanted! Womack & Womack – MPB (Missin’ Persons Bureau) (Paradise Ballroom Remix) (Island)
Of course, chances are great the first cut(s) comin’ to mind when thinkin’ of Womack and Womack should be ‘Love Wars’ if not ‘Teardrops’. But the twosome happened to have way more than these two classics. Such as ‘Love Is Just A Ballgame’, ‘Celebrate The World’ or ‘MPB (Missin’ Persons Bureau)’. This makin’ proof of the wide spectrum of their influences.
As a matter of fact, kinda hard to deny the upbringing of Folk at least on the album version of ‘MPB (Missin’ Persons Bureau)’. And even though its original acoustic guitar line has disappeared during the remix treatment, the emotional content remains alive. This showcasing the incredible vibrance of Womack & Womack‘s vocal arrangements. Not to mention the sophistication of their approach.
Although bringin’ ‘MPB’ to a different dimension, Frankie Knuckles has undeniably added a lot of magnetism to it. I just wished we would be given more of Womack & Womack and with time. And by that more in the caliber of ‘MPB’…
– 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, Womack and Womack 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…
– A quick typing – ‘Frankie Knuckles’ – in the search box of our site should give you a certain idea of his legacy. And, by that, of the consideration we have for him. Standing among the most prolific but first and foremost talented producers/remixers of his generation. With his name firmly associated to a signature – the Def Mix Sound – and an alter ego – David Morales. Themselves synonyms with some of the most brilliant episodes in the maturation of the contemporary groove.
A native New Yorker, Frankie Knuckles arrived right on time to witness the early stages of the nightclubbing and its music – Disco – in the Big Apple. Eventually hangin’ out with his friend, Larry Levan, before comin’ to play Disco, Soul and R&B jams at The Continental Baths and The Gallery.
Knuckles relocated to Chicago, IL by the second half of the 70’s. This after a friend of his by the likes of Robert Williams had opened a space that was to become The Warehouse. Eventually inviting him to play on a regular basis. There, he came with a blend of everything, from Disco classics to European electronic fueled sounds and Rock. The whole setting up the foundations as what was to become House Music by the middle of the 80’s. This along with the use of drum machines and samplers.
Knuckles made his thing in Chicago, eventually collaborating with Jamie Principle. But he also happened to join forces with David Morales and For The Record DJ Pool founder Judy Weinstein under the Def Mix Productions banner to help manage remix requests and handle artist business affairs.
All in all, on his own or along with either David Morales or Eric Kupper, Frankie Knuckles has remixed and produced over 600 releases. With the list of those he happened to rework the music of givin’ a better idea of the impact he generated. And this way above the strict spheres of House Music. Beginning with blasts from the past such as My Mine‘s ‘Hypnotic Tango’ which he came to rework. But also Jago‘s quite sought after ‘I’m Going To Go’. Then Double Exposure‘s ‘My Love Is Free’ and Diana Ross (‘Love Hangover’). Eventually bringin’ fragments of his universe on Swing Out Sister‘s ‘Notgonnachange’. The latter being an example of the demand he generated in the UK. From Tongue’N’Cheek‘s ‘Tomorrow’ to L.A. Mix‘s ‘Live Together’ and D*Note (‘D*Votion 99’). Not to mention Lisa Stansfield‘s ‘Change’ or Loose Ends‘ ‘Hangin’ On A String’).
Of course, Frankie Knuckles made some noise in the House scene. Responsible for seminal tracks such as ‘Tears’ along with Satoshi Tomiie and Robert Owens. But also ‘And I Loved You’ featuring the same Tomiie and Arnold Jarvis. Both of them on FFRR. And how to not think of the burning ‘One Man’ by the likes of Chanelle back in 1989? Or Lil Louis feat. ChinahBlac‘s ‘Fable’??? With the same applying to Hercules & Love Affair‘s ‘Blind’. Then Sybil‘s ‘Let’s Yourself Go’. With the list to be incomplete without a mention to the Director’s Cut signature which he put together along with long time friend Eric Kupper.
And, just like David Morales, he also created serious bridges with R&B names. Beginning with Michael Jackson (‘Rock With You’). But also Chaka Khan (‘Ain’t Nobody’) and David Peaston (‘We’re All In This Together’). This in addition to The Gap Band (‘I’m Gonna Git You Sucka’) and Chanté Moore (‘This Time’). Then Toni Braxton (‘Un-Break My Heart’) and Womack & Womack (MPB). Not to mention En Vogue‘s ‘You Don’t Have To Worry’ or Will Downing‘s ‘A Love Supreme’…
Meanwhile, under his own banner, Knuckles also made quite an impression. Delivering his debut-album – ‘Beyond The Mix’ – back in 1991. And in the meantime one of his biggest classics ever by the likes of ‘The Whistle Song’. Eventually sharing the bill four years later with Jersey songstress Adeva on the ‘ Welcome To The Real World’ album. With his final album – ‘A New Reality’ – seeing the light back in 2004.
Frankie Knuckles sadly died on March 31, 2014 in Chicago, IL, of complications from diabetes. He was 59…