Linda Womack (daughter of Sam Cooke, omg!) is a deep, articulate, and soulful as hell songwriter. I first learned of her work after I heard Womack & Womack’s “Baby I’m Scared of You” in a nightclub in NYC.
Baby I’m Scared of You By womack & Womack
A friend and mentor danced out the feminine and masculine parts of this song on the dancefloor, acting as if he was both characters portrayed by Cecil & Linda Womack’s voices. He KILLED it and sold the song even more for me. Soon after, I found the title and artist names. Womack & Womack are a married couple comprised of Cecil Womack (brother of Bobby Womack, legendary soul artist) and Linda.
This is two great songs in one. Check out the switch up at the 2:48 mark. It transitions from a solo lady song to a woman/man love spar duet. It’s a magnum opus of ‘80s R&B. And considering the singers are Womack and Cooke kin, why wouldn’t it be? Like, OF COURSE.
Some of the lines that do it for me:
Houdini, Houdini, was a great magician
He could crack a lock, from any position
But my heart, is nothing like those locks
Linda with the crazy fake out. In the melody and phrasing, she plays with taking time between the line to hold you and then tell him (when he least expects) “you better take this love seriously.”
And you’re falling last of my brand of stock
Like little red riding hood, you’re the fox
Oh baby I’m scared of you
She’s vulnerable and doesn’t wanna fall for your fairy tale villain mess.
Her: I need a man
Him: I’m available
Her: Mean everything he say
Wittyyyyyy. Sir, you interrupted before she could finish. Again playing with the phrasing for the fakeout.
It’s amazing how this song conveys what intimacy and vulnerability really are. So many other songs of the time have women proving they love the man, or what they’ll give up. “Baby I’m Scared of You” is real and honest and a timeless song about how intimacy is work beyond the physical.
Both Cecil and Linda (as well as Eddie Noble) wrote this song. I have no idea which part they played in the writing of the song and tried to research that to no avail. I’ve decided that until somebody teaches me otherwise, Linda wrote the lyrics that she sang. They’re too feminine and sharp. And considering Cecil sings the male response, I’m thinking he had more to do with those lyrics. Eddie Noble probably wrote the groove of the song that grabbed the NYC club culture by it’s damn ears.
Woman’s Gotta Have It by Bobby Womack
I walked into a room where someone was playing this and found it interesting that a man was singing these lyrics. Then I looked up the writers.
The song tells a story of imbalance in a relationship. It’s interesting because when I think back to that early ‘70s era, I think of how much folks yielded to the Bible for marriage. But this is definitely a song about a woman who will leave a man if he doesn’t fulfill her needs. Feminist in a heteronormative type a way?
Linda was quite young when she co-wrote this with Darryl Carter and Bobby Womack. That blows me away that these men even allowed her in the studio to give her POV. Again, I can’t find the level of input Linda Womack (Cooke at the time) had, but considering how Bobby Womack sings of a woman’s needs, my impulse says a lot.
Here are some key lines:
Do the things that keep a smile on her face
Say the words that make her feel better ev’ry day
You bet you better keep on you Ps and Qs
If you don’t the woman you can easily lose
Word. Take care of her in the way she needs you to.
Woman’s gotta have it
I believe that I should know
She’s got to know that she’s needed around
Am I wrong for thinking this was progressive for 1972?
Don’t take for granted the smile upon her face
Check a little bit closer, you might find a tear trace
Maybe the little girl never said a mumbling word
But she’s got to know that her voice is heard
“Little girl” is rough but hearing her is the word! Ok.
I love and appreciate Linda Womack’s contributions as a songwriter and singer to R&B.
miss al boogie writes songs (as well as dances and sings) and loves diving into the minutiae of good ass songwriting. Follow her on her socials and subscribe to her YouTube page below.