Clarence Carter - New Kent CD Review
This Is Clarence Carter / The Dynamic Clarence Carter And More - Kent CDKEND 444
Lovers of Southern Soul have been spoilt by Ace/Kent Records the last few years with the releases covering genre and in particular the World-renowned Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Fame. You have had to be lost in the deepest darkest Amazon not to have seen or heard these fantastic compilations.
The latest features the rich deep soulful voice of Clarence Carter and in particular his first two LPs that saw release on the Atlantic Label. Also included are five bonus tracks.
Blind from birth Clarence took a huge interest in music, learning the guitar that was given to him by his grandmother and gaining a degree in music at Alabama State College. He teamed up with fellow blind musician Calvin Scott and toured as a duo. They had a couple of 45’s released under the name Calvin & Clarence and were soon signed up by Duke Records for five releases.
They then travelled to Fame where they self financed two singles that were leased to Atlantic but failed to sell. Rick Hall obviously saw something in them and he soon had them recording demos but Calvin was shot by his wife and unable to record. Hall was reluctant to record Carter as a solo act but Hall was eventually persuaded by Carter that he could cut it as a musician, a singer and a songwriter.
Clarence’s early efforts did make the R&B charts but he was soon struggling to make any impact. Jerry Wexler suggested Clarence would fair better with the backing of the Atlantic label and as a result Clarence’s success rocketed.
The first LP, “This Is Clarence Carter” kicks off with Clarence’s take on “Do What You Gotta Do”, better known by most by The Four Tops but Clarence gives it the classic Southern feel on this version. “Looking For A Fox”, a top 20 hit on the R&B charts for Carter was next. “Slippin’ Around” and “I’m Qualified”, better known by Art Freeman And Jimmy Hughes respectively followed. Two compositions by Carter himself were next up, the Southern Soul ballad “I Can’t See Myself” and the R&B mover “Wind It Up”. The Clay Hammond penned R&B Chart topper by Little Johnny Taylor “Part Time Love” was next followed by the self penned “Threads The Needle”, a song demoed earlier by Calvin And Carter upon arriving at Fame. The next track was actually the flip to the one that follow “Funky Fever” but it was “Slip Away” that found favour with the DJs up and down the country who turned the record in to a top ten Pop & R&B hit. One of the flops on the Fame imprint for Carter “She Ain’t Gonna Do Right” was next up and to complete the album was the ballad “Set Me Free”.
The second Album, “The Dynamic Clarence Carter” although I’m not sure it is as dynamic as the title suggest when compared to the first but it still showcases some great Southern Soul and the talent not only of Carter but the musicians at the time at the Fame studios. The disc kicks off with a cover of “I’d Rather Go Blind”, a hit for Etta James. Don Covay’s “Think About It”, also recorded by Otis Redding sees Clarence pleading with his woman to “Think About It” before she walks out the door. Carter’s own “The Road Of Love” is next, an excellent blues influenced recording. “You Been A long Time Coming” sees Carter telling us just how long he has been waiting for love to come into his life. More covers follow, a pretty good take of “Light My Fire (The Doors), “That Old Time Feeling” and Jimmy Hughes’s “Steal Away”. “Let Me Comfort You” is classic Carter, pleading with another man’s woman to come to him to escape the treatment of her partner who is also a friend of Carter. You can hear the influence of Country music in Carter’s work and none more so than “Look What I Got”. Another Gold Disc for Carter and the top side of the single that featured “Look What I Got” on its flip is next, “Too Weak To Fight”. Another cover “Harper Valley PTA” follows and to close the LP is “Weekend Love”.
To close the CD is five tracks taken from the session between 1966 and 1967 including early work by Calvin and Carter. All in all, an essential purchase for lovers of Southern Soul.
As you would expect you have some great reading material whilst listening to the music this time the notes come courtesy of Dean Rudland.
Track Listing and media
1. Do What You Gotta Do
2. Looking For A Fox (Stereo Mix Without Backing Vocals)
3. Slipping Around With You
4. I'm Qualified
5. I Can't See Myself (Crying About You)
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
13. I'd Rather Go Blind
14. Think About It
15. The Road Of Love (Duane Allman Version)
16. You've Been A Long Time Coming
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 Pta
24. Weekend Love
25. I'm Happy-Go-Lucky
26. She Ain't Gonna Do Right (Demo)
27. Take Me, Use Me
28. There Won't Be Another Sunset
29. I'll Be Over After A While