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Clarence Carter

Singer Clarence Carter exemplified the gritty, earthy sound of Muscle Shoals R&B, fusing the devastating poignancy of the blues with a wicked, lascivious wit to create deeply soulful music rooted in the American South of the past and the present. Born January 14, 1936, in Montgomery, AL, Carter was blind from birth. He immediately gravitated to music, teaching himself guitar by listening to the blues classics of John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Jimmy Reed. He majored in music at Alabama State University, learning to transcribe charts and arrangements in Braille.

With blind classmate Calvin Scott, Carter in 1960 formed the duo Clarence & Calvin, signing to the Fairlane label to release "I Wanna Dance But I Don't Know How" the following year. After the 1962 release of "I Don't Know (School Girl)," Clarence & Calvin left Fairlane for the Duke imprint, renaming themselves the C & C Boys for their label debut, "Hey Marvin." In all, the duo cut four Duke singles, none of them generating more than a shrug at radio -- finally, in 1965 they traveled to Rick Hall's Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals, AL, paying $85 to record the wrenching ballad "Step by Step" and its flip side, "Rooster Knees and Rice." Atlanta radio personality Zenas Sears recommended Clarence & Calvin to Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler, and the label issued "Step by Step" on its Atco subsidiary -- the record failed to chart, and the duo was once again looking for a label.

Backed by a four-piece combo dubbed the Mello Men, Clarence & Calvin spent the first half of 1966 headlining Birmingham's 2728 Club. One Friday night in June while returning home from the nightspot, the group suffered an auto accident that left Scott critically injured, initiating an ugly falling-out with Carter over the resulting medical bill. In the meantime, Carter continued as a solo act, signing to Hall's Fame label for 1967's "Tell Daddy," which inspired Etta James' response record, "Tell Mama." The superb popcorn-soul effort "Thread the Needle" proved a minor crossover hit, and after one additional Fame release, "The Road of Love," Carter returned to Atlantic with "Looking for a Fox," issued in early 1968. "Looking for a Fox" proved the first of many singles to slyly reference the singer's visual impairment, not to mention showcasing the libidinous impulses that dominate many of his most popular records.

But few performances better typified the emerging Carter aesthetic than "Slip Away," a superior cheating ballad spotlighting his anguished, massive baritone alongside the remarkably sinuous backing of Fame's exemplary backing band. The record was a Top Ten hit, and its follow-up, "Too Weak to Fight," also went gold, solidifying Carter's newfound commercial appeal. He ended 1968 with a superbly funky Christmas single, the raunchy "Back Door Santa," in addition to mounting a national tour featuring backing vocalist Candi Staton, who later became Carter's wife as well as a soul star in her own right.

The percolating "Snatching It Back" was Carter's first Atlantic release of 1969 -- its B-side, a remake of James Carr's deep soul classic "The Dark End of the Street," remains one of the singer's most potent efforts, drawing on traditional blues and gospel to explore both the absurdity and anguish of infidelity. Subsequent singles including "The Feeling Is Right," "Doing Our Thing," and "Take It Off Him and Put It on Me" were only marginally successful, but in 1970 Carter returned to the Top Ten with the sentimental "Patches," his biggest hit to date. He nevertheless stumbled again with a run of 1971 releases like "Getting the Bills" and "Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love," and in the wake of "If You Can't Beat 'Em" -- a duet with Staton -- Carter left Atlantic in 1972, returning to Fame with "Back in Your Arms Again."

Released in 1973, the leering "Sixty Minute Man" proved a novelty hit, but in 1975 he attempted to reignite his career at ABC, releasing "Take It All Off" and "Dear Abby" to little notice. By the end of the decade Carter was relegated to small independent labels like Future Stars and Ronn, and in 1980 signed to Venture for the ill-advised "Jimmy's Disco" and "Can We Slip Away Again?" In 1985 he resurfaced on the fledgling Ichiban label, returning to the ribald deep soul of his heyday -- the LP Dr. C.C. earned positive reviews and spawned the hilariously lewd "Strokin'," a major word-of-mouth hit. (A sequel, "Still Strokin'," followed in 1989.) Carter continued recording and touring regularly into the 21st century, maintaining a strong fan base throughout the South. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Soul Jam Hits

1. Slip Away (Re-Recorded/Re-Mastered Version)

2. Patches (Re-Recorded/Re-Mastered Version)

3. Too Weak To Fight (Re-Recorded/Re-Mastered Version)

4. I'm Easy

5. You Talk Too Much

6. Starting All Over Again

7. Got A Thing About You Baby

8. Brick House

9. Back Stabbers

10. Lovely Day

11. Woman Don't Go Astray

12. Everybody Plays The Fool

13. Drift Away

14. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

x

Track List: The Girl From Soweto

1. Girl From Soweto

2. Love Me With A Feeling

3. Slip Away

4. Too Weak To Fight

5. Sweet Feeling

6. Wrong Too Long

7. I Was In The Neighbourhood

8. Hot Stuff

9. Fast Young Lady

10. It Ain't What You Do

x

Track List: I'm Easy

1. You Talk To Much

2. Got A Thing About You Baby

3. Everybody Plays The Fool

4. Lovely Days

5. Women Don't Go Astray

6. Brick House

7. I'm Easy

8. Starting All Over Again

9. Backstabbers

10. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

11. Drift Away

x

Track List: The Dynamic Clarence Carter

1. I'd Rather Go Blind

2. Think About It

3. The Road Of Love

4. You've Been A Long Time Coming

5. Light My Fire

6. That Old Time Feeling

7. Steal Away

8. Let Me Comfort You

9. Look What I Got

10. Too Weak To Fight

11. Harper Valley PTA

12. Weekend Love

x

Track List: Rhino Hi-Five: Clarence Carter

1. Slip Away

2. Too Weak To Fight

3. Snatching It Back

4. Patches

5. I Can't Leave Your Love Alone

x

Track List: Testifyin'

2. Snatching It Back

3. Soul Deep

4. I Smell A Rat

5. Doin' Our Thing

8. Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street)

9. The Feeling Is Right

10. Back Door Santa

x

Track List: Patches

1. Willie And Laura Mae Jones

2. Say Man

3. I'm Just A Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin')

4. Let It Be

5. I Can't Leave Your Love Alone

6. You're Love Lifted Me

7. Till I Can't Take It Anymore

8. Patches

9. It's All In Your Mind

10. Changes

11. C.C. Blues

12. Getting The Bills (But No Merchandise)

x

Track List: Sings 'Patches' And Other Great Hits

1. Backstabbers

2. Brickhouse

3. Drift Away

4. Easy

5. Everybody Plays The Fool

6. Patches

7. Got A Thing About You Baby

8. Lovely Day

9. Starting All Over Again

10. Woman Don't Go Astray

11. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me

12. You Talk Too Much

x

Track List: The Best And The Rest

1. Slip Away

2. Patches

3. Too Weak To Fight

4. What Was I Supposed To Do

5. Messin' With My Mind

6. If Only

7. Another Night With You

8. Slip Away Again

9. I'm So Tired Of Explaining

10. I Was In The Neighborhood

11. I Could Refuse

x

Track List: The Best Of Clarence Carter

1. Strokin'

2. Trying To Sleep Tonight

3. Messin' With My Mind

4. I Was In The Neighborhood

5. Dr. CC

6. Love Me With A Feeling

7. I'm Not Just Good, I'm The Best

8. Slip Away

9. Grandpa Can't Fly His Kite

10. Kiss You All Over

11. I've Got A Thing For You

12. I'm Between A Rock And A Hard Place

13. Strokin' (Long & Dirty)

x

Track List: Back Door Santa

1. Back Door Santa

x

Track List: Patches / The Dynamic Clarence Carter

1. Willie And Laura Mae Jones

2. Say Man

4. Let It Be

5. I Can't Leave Your Love Alone

7. Till I Can't Take It Anymore

8. Patches

9. It's All In Your Mind

10. Changes

11. C.C. Blues

13. I'd Rather Go Blind

14. Think About It

15. The Road Of Love

17. Light My Fire

18. That Old Time Feeling

19. Steal Away

20. Let Me Comfort You

21. Look What I Got

22. Too Weak To Fight

23. Harper Valley P.T.A.

24. Weekend Love

x

Track List: Legendary Clarence Carter

1. Love Ain't Here No More

2. Take A Taste Of Your Love

3. Glad To See You Walking In

4. Just One More Day

5. Let's Start Doing (What We Came Here To Do)

6. Let's Live For Ourselves

7. I Got Caught Making Love

8. Is It Alright

9. Dear Abby

10. Take It All Off

x

Track List: I Couldn't Refuse

1. What Was I Suppose To Do

2. Messin' With My Mind

3. If Only

4. Another Night With You

5. Slip Away Again

6. I'm So Tired OF Explaining

7. I Was In The Neighborhood

8. I Couldn’t Refuse

x

Track List: Dr. C.C.

1. Dr. C.C.

2. I Stayed Away Too Long

4. Left Over Love

8. Strokin'

x

Track List: Snatching It Back

1. Step By Step

2. I Stayed Away Too Long

3. Tell Daddy

4. Looking For A Fox

5. I Can't See Myself

6. The Road Of Love

7. Slip Away

8. Back Door Santa

9. That Old Time Feeling

10. Too Weak To Fight

11. I'd Rather Go Blind

12. Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street)

13. Snatching It Back

14. Soul Deep

15. I Smell A Rat

16. Doin' Our Thing

17. The Feeling Is Right

18. I Can't Leave Your Love Alone

19. Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love

20. It's All In Your Mind

21. Patches

x

Track List: This Is Clarence Carter

1. Do What You Gotta Do

2. Looking For A Fox

3. Slippin' Around

4. I'm Qualified

5. I Can't See Myself

6. Wind It Up

7. Part Time Love

8. Thread The Needle

9. Slip Away

10. Funky Fever

11. She Ain't Gonna Do Right

12. Set Me Free

Comments

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I love it so much
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Too weak to fight reminds me of basement house parties in oaktown with the lights out. Not to mention my dad coming down the stairs a million times to turn them back on.☺
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/
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Only way to find u at times
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One of my favorites songs,love my Pandora..
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Ahhhaww"rite ....lets 2stepp ....love me like you do
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life! Dont stop reading this is freaky! But if you read this and ignore it you will have bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 minutes. When your done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on the screen. This is so creepy because it actually works.
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LOL! Im too old for the stroking in the back seat and a police coming up on me. My dad had to come get my car and panties still hanging on the mirror. Old and good times. good music make me bad.
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I
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So, you have gotten to weak..
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The, time is right "".
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Love all of C.Carter Music old school from Brooklyn Bedstuy
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Love the horn section..... . great lyrics too. .Looking for a Fox
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Already sroke stroke lol
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hardin7j3
Stroke it good big bull lol
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Old. Skool
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R.I.p pop you were to weak to fight love you always
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myrtle beach jukebox, on the sand, feet moving in the sand 1970's, warm, love it baby.
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Clarance Carter. Havent heard in awhile.. stil sound good as lleh!!! All of the above lol
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A true Superman
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This remind me of my grandma..... . M a y she R.I.h

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Love that strokin song
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Saw fellow Alabamian a few years ago in New Orleans. He was absolutely awesome!
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I stroke it to the north, I stroke it to the south! Well, you know the rest! ;-)♥ ♥ ♥
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0
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Old school song back when I was in high school
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o god damn this just came on and knocked me out.
Strokin was my wedding song. Still have the clarence record, not the wife.
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Hum
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Theirs it is.
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wow the good old sing it Clarence
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I am too weak to fight! Al B. Martin baby I love you!!!
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You every make (love) back sent in car calling my name ( bad man ) This. is strokin gotta
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I be strokin gotta love this song
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Bring. Back in. The 601 mdn Mississippi
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Dam. Ride or. Die
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His music is all that, I saw him in Ky last year.
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Duck &. Hide. R.i.p. my friend
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Love this song
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I'd Rather Go Blind...it would have been nice to have seen a collaboratio n of Etta James & Clarence on this song
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头为
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I love Patches
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Just the best...
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Singers like Carter and others from his era, backed up by the great Muscle Shoals horns and keyboard player session men = some good music !
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Great song...one of my father's favorite. Love it!
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Saw home boy from Alabama( he from Montgomery and me from Andalusia) in New Orleans live in concert! Clarence is the man!
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Memories of daddy playing this on Saturday night and all of us dancing when I was a kid growing up on Long Island!
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Youis sohot
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Youissodeep
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Yougo
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Saw u in. Alabama
Show more

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