"I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray" (1961) Bobby Womack & Womack Brothers





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Published on Apr 13, 2014

Lead by Bobby Womack
The Womack Brothers are Bobby, Curtis, Cecil, Harry and Friendly Jr.
The Valentinos (also known as The Womack Brothers), was a Cleveland, Ohio-based family R&B group, mainly famous for launching the careers of brothers Bobby Womack and Cecil Womack, the former brother finding bigger fame as a solo artist and the latter finding success as a member of the husband and wife team of Womack & Womack with Linda Cooke. During their 22-year tenure, the group was known for R&B hits such as "Lookin' for a Love", famously covered by The J. Geils Band and later a solo hit for Bobby Womack and "It's All Over Now", famously covered by The Rolling Stones.

The foundation of the Valentinos started in church where the five Womack brothers - Friendly, Jr. (born 1941), Curtis (born 1943), Bobby (born 1944), Harry (1945-1974) and Cecil (1947-2013) - performed at their father Friendly's church located from the East 85th & Quincy area of Cleveland. The group started out around 1952 when eight-year-old Bobby Womack played guitar for his father after he had broken a string. Following this, he discovered that all five of his sons could sing, forming the Womack Brothers.

Attracting a gospel following, in 1954, the group, under the name Curtis Womack and the Womack Brothers, cut a single, "Buffalo Bill" with the Pennant label; both Curtis and Bobby Womack were only ten years old at the time of the recording. In 1956, Sam Cooke discovered the group performing while he and his then group, The Soul Stirrers, were headlining and was so impressed with the brothers that he promised to help the group advance in their careers. In 1960, a couple of years after he founded SAR Records and becoming a crossover solo sensation, Cooke made good on his promise signing the teenage act to the label. The group arrived to California in a beat-up Cadillac prior to Cooke signing them.

Still going by The Womack Brothers, SAR cut two gospel singles the group recorded in 1961 and 1962 including "Somebody's Wrong" and "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray". After the singles failed to chart, Cooke advised the group to go a secular direction. Upon this, they changed their name to the Valentinos and while both Bobby and Curtis continued to switch leads, Sam Cooke reportedly favored Bobby and while some SAR singles featured Curtis in lead, the Bobby-led singles would garner the most airplay.

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