Cecil Womack – R.I.P.

Concepts depend on the course of a particular, and Womack & Womack’s Love Wars reveled in particulars. The 1983 album, a minor hit on the R&B and British charts, is most famous for the title track and the Larry Levanized mix of “Baby I’m Scared of You,” less for its quiet, rippling grooves and needle-sharp lyrics chronicling a relationship whose experience with discord deepens its intimacy, although they’d trade the discord for the intimacy without blinking. They even transform the most ridiculous Stones ballad into a cry of desolation. Love Wars should be as immense as Shoot Out The Lights, Blood on the Tracks, and Wild Gift as a breakup-to-makeup classic. If renewed interest in “think pieces” on indie attraction to R&B have a point, it’s to stir interest in albums this solid.

The couple’s two other less essential eighties albums overdid the gauze, but if you’re fan of Linda’s clear high tone and Cecil’s watery guitar lines they provide consistent pleasure. They recorded one more classic, unreflected in its American chart impact. With its ever-circling refrain, two-note keyboard solo (the most minimalist since Pete Shelley’s guitar solo in the Buzzcock’s “Boredom,” according to Marcello Carlin), and Linda’s sass undercutting the paranoia of lyrics about hearing whispers in the powder room, “Teardrops” is a sparkling example of desire and loneliness playing out on the dance floor.

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2 Responses to Cecil Womack – R.I.P.

  1. Richard Cobeen says:

    At the age of 21 I had no real idea of what a complex, intense, long-standing relationship entailed. Love Wars and Legendary Hearts were my introduction, even blueprint, to what to expect when I finally achieved that level of intimacy with someone else. In this regard they were failures, as I was lucky enough to find someone that to “Fight to make what’s right” was not a huge ingredient. Five years later “Teardrops” became one of our favorite songs, sometimes just for the fact of reminding us of we had.

    Love Wars is one of the albums that makes me thankful for Robert Christgau. Doubt I would have found it without him.

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