Clarence Carter

is a legendary soul singer whose career has spanned over five decades, including the hit songs “Slip Away,” “Too Weak to Fight,” “Snatching It Back,” “Making Love (At the Dark End of the Street),” “The Feeling Is Right,” “Doing Our Thing,” and “Patches,” all for famed label Atlantic Records.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1936, Carter attended the Alabama School for the Blind, and Alabama State College, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in music. He joined forces with musical partner Calvin Scott, and for several years they recorded and released songs with various small labels.

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. 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” was a UK number 2 and 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. 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”.