The Valentinos

Friendly Womack Sr. dreamed of fathering five gospel-singing sons before Friendly Jr., Bobby, Harry, Curtis, and Cecil were conceived. When they arrived, the hard-working laborer/preacher groomed them to praise the Lord and audiences watched the Womack Brothers perform at churches with Bobby standing on a crate because he was so small. They lived in the East 85th & Quincy area, one of the roughest neighborhoods in Cleveland in the late '50s and early '60s; a dubious honor that housing projects claimed in the '70s and '80s. If not for a strict father, they could have succumbed to their tumultuous surroundings. They attended Quincy Elementary, Rawlings Jr. High, and East Technical High School and were regular guys with classmates and acquaintances. Friendly took his name seriously and you won't hear one bad word about him. He married a girl named Shirley before the recordings, worked at a furniture store on Euclid Avenue, and as security at Karamu House, a landmark African American theater that features live plays.

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