Cecil, who was also the brother of famed soul singer Bobby Womack, was living in Africa with his wife, Linda (pictured), when he passed away. The couple, who performed together as Womack and Womack, recorded six albums together and will forever be remembered for their R&B chart-topper “Baby, I’m Scared Of You.”
Watch “Baby, I’m Scared of You” here:
As a producer and writer, who penned hits for such recording greats as Teddy Pendergrass (“Love TKO”), George Benson (“New Day”), Patti LaBelle (“Love Symphony”), The O’Jays (“I Just Want to Satisfy You”), and Motown recording diva and first wife Mary Wells (“The Doctor”), Cecil began his music career as a gospel singer.
The Cleveland, Ohio, native sang with brothers Bobby, Harry, Friendly, and Curtis in a group and performed on the gospel circuit during the mid-fifties. After the siblings were discovered by the late, great soul singer Sam Cooke, they then decided to rename themselves The Valentinos, making the switch to secular music in 1961.
At the time, Cecil decided to bow out of the spotlight to concentrate on song writing and producing particularly for former wife Wells, who helped to define the emerging sound of Motown in the ’60s. Unfortunately, the couple’s marriage was thrown off course when Wells began having an affair with her husband’s brother, Curtis. Cecil and Wells produced three children but wound up divorcing in 1977.
When Cecil paired up with Linda, who was the daughter of Sam Cooke, not only did they relish in their newfound success as a recording duo, but they developed a fascination with exploring their African roots after an early nineties trip to Nigeria. The couple discovered they had ties to the Zekkariyas tribe and even adopted African names. Cecil changed his name to Zekuumba Zekkariyas.
During recent years, Cecil’s love for his African heritage never waned and he continued to search out his roots and increase his knowledge about the continent until his death.