Clarence Carter

Born in Montgomery, Alabama on 14 January, 1936, Carter attended the Alabama School for the Blind in Talladega, Alabama, and Alabama State College in Montgomery, graduating in August 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in music. After the 1962 release of "I Don't Know (School Girl)," Carter and Scott left Fairlane Records for Duke Records, renaming themselves the CL Boys for their label debut, Hey. In all, the duo cut four Duke singles, none of them generating more than a shrug at radio.


In 1965, they travelled to Rick Hall's FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record "Step by Step" and its flip side, "Rooster Knees and Rice." Atlantic Records took notice and released "Step by Step" on its Atco Records subsidiary, but it flopped. Carter continued as a solo act, signing to the Fame Records label for 1967's Tell Daddy. Several more solid singles followed, until Carter released "Slip Away," which hit number 6 on the Pop Charts. "Too Weak to Fight" hit number 13. Several more soul singles followed, like "Snatching It Back," "At The Dark End of the Street," "The Feeling Is Right," "Doing Our Thing" and "Patches." "Patches", (first recorded by Chairmen of the Board), was a UK number 2and a U.S. number 4 in 1970, and was nominated for a Grammy in 1972. This disc sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A. in September 1970, just two months after its release. It was Carter's third million seller.


With the advent of disco in the mid 1970s, Carter's career suffered, before he found a new audience with bawdy songs like "Strokin'" for Ichiban Records in the 1980s and 1990s. Strokin recently found new acclaim with popular Australian artist Jezz Bedwani covering the track in early 2008. Jezz Bedwani gave the song a contemporary rebirth and was the catalyst for the song being known throughout Australia today. Carter's strong soul sound also found an audience within the then-nascent hip-hop community. Most notably, the horn break from Carter's song "Backdoor Santa", is sampled in the Run DMC Christmas song "Christmas in Hollis"

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