September 09, 1985 12:00 PM

Womack & Womack

Husband and wife Cecil and Linda Womack manage to avoid the sterility in much of today’s pop soul. Their second album shows texture and restraint, and these days that is a high compliment. On Radio M.U.S.C. Man (“M.U.S.C.” is “music” abbreviated to resemble a radio station call sign), the Womacks’ voices are models of flexibility. Linda is wan and tender on Night Rider, a soul rumba. On Maze Cecil dips into the deepest baritone burble since the heyday of Barry White. Cecil can also raise his voice to a high pitch for unusual harmonies with Linda, as he does on No Relief. These are sharp dance numbers that could cut a rug into remnants. The Womacks have long been known as quality songwriters for Teddy Pendergrass and others, but they got help composing this record’s best tracks. The swirling melody of Love’s Calling is extrapolated from an incomplete tune left by the great Sam Cooke, Linda’s father. Cecil’s brother Bobby joined him in composing Strange and Funny, which manages to be both sunny and funky. That track is in fact typical of the Womacks, who mix their soul with subtlety. (Elektra)

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