The Shields Brothers Gospel Singers

The Womack Brothers

[ The Valentinos ]

Friendly Womack,  patriarch of the Womack Brothers.

He sang with The Shields Brothers in the 19 60’s and 1970s.

The Womack Brothers

(“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 solo artists and the latter finding success as a member of the husband and wife team of Womack & Womack with Linda Cooke.

Bobby had a sideline job of cutting hair and cut my father’s, brother and my hair for many years. I have childhood memories of playing with the Cooke children in the Womack family yard.

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.”) – Wikipedia


“Shortly afterwards, the group under its new moniker, recorded “Lookin’ for a Love”, which was a pop rendition of “Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray”. The song peaked at number eight on the R&B charts and number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100, going on to sell two million copies. The hit landed them an opening spot on James Brown & The Famous Flames’ national tour.

In early 1964, the group issued their next hit, “It’s All Over Now”, which was co-written by Bobby and sister-in-law Shirley. Prior to them releasing it, however, word got around that the Rolling Stones wanted to cover it. Despite Bobby’s initial protests, the Stones were eventually allowed to release it and their version became their first national hit in the U.S. Bobby’s anger cooled after he received his first royalty check for the single following the Stones’ release of the single.

Bobby Womack

Around 1963, Bobby Womack began touring as Sam Cooke’s backing guitarist. Bobby added instrumentation to several of Cooke’s albums including Night Beat and Ain’t That Good News.  Around the same time Bobby was one of the first people to hear Cooke’s chilling anthem, “A Change Is Gonna Come”. In December 1964, the Valentinos’ career was put in jeopardy when Cooke was suddenly shot and killed while at a Los Angeles motel.”

“Cooke was also a central part of the civil rights movement, using his influence and popularity with the White and Black populations to fight for the cause. He was friends with boxer Muhammad Ali, activist Malcolm X and football player Jim Brown, who together campaigned for racial equality.”

Cecil Womack

Personal life

Cecil Womack








In 1966, Womack married Motown singer Mary Wells at the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland. A ceremony that personally witnessed.

Black Kudos

Prior to that Womack fathered a son, Mustafa Womack in November of the same year.[4] They had three children. Womack and Wells separated after he discovered she was having an affair with his brother Curtis Womack. They divorced in 1977.

Cecil later married Linda Cooke, the daughter of Sam Cooke. This created an interesting family tree because Cecil’s brother Bobby Womack had married Sam Cooke’s widow and Linda’s mother Barbara Campbell in 1965.

 Cecil and Linda had seven children together, and had homes in Africa and Thailand. After 1994, Womack was known professionally and personally by the name Zekkariyas.


Zekkariyas spent his final years traveling the world with his wife and children, using his time to explore his African heritage, spirituality, and knowledge of the continent as well as making music. He died of unknown causes in Johannesburg, South Africa, on January 25, 2013, at age 6

Four of the five Womack brothers are now deceased. Cecil died on February 1, 2013,  Bobby died on June 27, 2014, and Curtis on May 21, 2017.  Only Friendly Jr. – the eldest brother – remains alive.