Binky Womack - Womack Style (2017)

Binky Womack
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Binky Womack – Womack Style

Curtis “Binky” Womack hails from a legendary family that has given so much to American arts and culture over the course of the last seven decades. Beginning in the early 1950s as The Womack Brothers and then as The Valentinos, Friendly, Curtis, Cecil, Bobby and Harry – individually and in various groupings – created music that is a part of the gospel, blues, R&B and soul music canon. The musical longevity of the Womack brothers connects them to everyone from Sam Cooke and Mary Wells to Jodeci and Damon Albarn.

Sadly, Binky, a singer/songwriter and guitarist who learned how to play the guitar at the feet of the most famous of the Womack Brothers – Uncle Bobby – is witnessing his family members leave life’s stage. Four of the five brothers have passed away, with Binky’s father Curtis dying on May 29, 2017.

Binky Womack – Womack Style

Curtis “Binky” Womack hails from a legendary family that has given so much to American arts and culture over the course of the last seven decades. Beginning in the early 1950s as The Womack Brothers and then as The Valentinos, Friendly, Curtis, Cecil, Bobby and Harry – individually and in various groupings – created music that is a part of the gospel, blues, R&B and soul music canon. The musical longevity of the Womack brothers connects them to everyone from Sam Cooke and Mary Wells to Jodeci and Damon Albarn.

Sadly, Binky, a singer/songwriter and guitarist who learned how to play the guitar at the feet of the most famous of the Womack Brothers – Uncle Bobby – is witnessing his family members leave life’s stage. Four of the five brothers have passed away, with Binky’s father Curtis dying on May 29, 2017.

However, Binky shows that he is prepared to step confidently into the large shadow cast by his father and uncles and carve out his own space with the release Womack Style.  One of the first things that music fans will notice when listening to this album is that Binky brings more of a guitar oriented rock sound – such as what is heard on “Put Something Down On It.” -- than long time Womack fans who recall “I’m Looking for a Love,” “A Woman’s Gotta Have It” or “Baby, I’m Scared of You” may expect. Recall though, that Bobby Womack cut a disco album in 1978 and his last album, The Bravest Man in the Universe, explored a myriad of styles and genres. Once you dive deeper into the lyricism and storytelling heard on this album, it becomes clear that in substance Womack Style is a record deeply indebted to Binky Womack’s legendary kin.

But about that guitar playing: Check him out on “Love Is,” a slashing distorted piece of rock guitar playing, and it becomes clear that Binky Womack doesn’t have to stand behind too many people when it comes to handling that six string. This song also shows that Binky has Uncle Bobby’s penchant for a lyric. The tune itself finds him venting about a woman who thinks that love is nothing more than a transaction where she takes but doesn’t do a whole of giving. “You took my love/threw it away/but you want my money/to always stay.”

While Binky transforms that signature raspy baritone into a growl on “Love Is,” he adopts a sweeter, soaring tone on the pop/rock cut “When You’re Wrong,” a track that finds Binky taking on the persona of a long-suffering man who is willing to overlook almost any of his woman’s misdeeds to keep her in his life, while on “Malibu Nights” Womack is joined in his guitar improvisations by a jazz infused piano and tenor sax as he sings about two lovers taking a stroll on a beach.

Vocally, Binky Womack possesses a rangy baritone that can move from the bottom to the heights. Clearly the Womack Style of singing came to him honestly, but hearing this record reminds listeners of other contemporary vocalists influenced by the Womack Brothers. That list includes singers such as Calvin Richardson and Jodeci and Leela James, all of whom have explored the Womack songbook.

Womack Style features a little bit more ‘rock ‘n roll’ than one might expect, but that’s Binky’s style. However, this record includes elements that have long been a part of the Womack musical DNA since – honest vocals that are passionately delivered, strong lyricism and strong musicianship. That’s Womack Style regardless of whether we’re talking about the legendary brothers from Cleveland or a descendant working to craft a legend of his own. Solidly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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