- Hailing from where it all went down, Montgomery, Alabama, Clarence Carter graduated from the Alabama School for the Blind with a Bachelor of Science degree in music.
- His first grab at fame came as half a duo, Clarence and Calvin (later called the C&C Boys) – with his friend Calvin Scott. Although they released a number of singles and performed regularly, fame proved elusive.
- In 1966, Calvin was seriously injured in an vehicle accident, forcing Clarence was to go solo. Within a year he released Tell Daddy which peaked at #25 on the US charts – Clarence was on his way.
- In December 1967, Clarence signed with Atlantic Records leading to a number of hits, including Slip Away, Too Weak To Fight, and Back Door Santa.
- Clarence’s biggest hit came in 1970, however, when he released a cover of Patches, first recorded by Chairmen of the Board.
- The advent of disco put a speed-bump in the road of Clarence’s career until 1985 when he once again hit the charts. One of his songs, Strokin’ was considered too risqué to be released on record or radio so his record company, Ichiban Records, placed the disc in jukeboxes. Bar patrons discovered it and loved it (it was later used in Eddie Murphy’s, The Nutty Professor) – check out the video below.
- Now 79 years old, Clarence continues to record and play shows across the USA.
- Patches (sometimes known as Patches (I’m Depending On You)) was written by General Johnson (lead singer of Chairmen of the Board) and Ron Dunbar (who also wrote Band of Gold and other 70s hits).
- The story of a boy born and raised in poverty in the southern states of the USA, who is forced to take over the responsibility of his family from his dying father, Patches was first recorded in 1970 by, Chairmen of the Board. Later that year, blind southern soul singer Clarence Carter recorded and released the song.
- On releasing Patches, Clarence said,
I heard [Patches] on the Chairmen of the Board LP and liked it, but I had my own ideas about how it should be sung. It was my idea to make the song sound real natural…”
- Clarence’s version peaked at #4 on the US singles chart and #2 on the UK singles chart.
- In 1971, Patches won the Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song.
- Patches lyrics.
patches – clarence carter – 1970 – video
strokin’ – clarence carter – 1985 – video
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