AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF CLARENCE G. CARTER
I was born in Montgomery, Alabama on January 14, 1936 on a cold cloudy Tuesday morning. My first recollection of life occurred when my grandmother took me to visit a neighbor and I played with the neighbor’s granddaughter.
I started school when I was six years old at the Alabama school for the blind in Talladega Alabama.
My high school Education was divided between the blind school and Westside High School, which was also in Talladega.
Getting into college was not an easy task because it was hard trying to convince the officials in Alabama to pay for a “black” to go to college; likewise it was more difficult persuading College Presidents that blind students could perform in college. However, through steadfast perseverance, several of us were able to attend Alabama State College in Montgomery, where in 1960; I graduated in August with a B.S. degree in music.
My music career began with a school pal of mine, Calvin Scott, and we signed a contract with “Duke Records” from which we had two releases that you probably never heard. We were known by several names, Clarence and Calvin and sometimes were called the C.C. Boys. The songs that we recorded were, “You Stole My Heart” and “Money and women”. I think one of the funniest thoughts about the experience with Duke Records happened the day when we received our first royalty check that amounted to twenty-five cents.
It is said that all things happen for the better, however, when it happens, you cannot understand why. I am referring to the time, when I was eleven years old and my mother told me that Santa would not be coming to me anymore. Though this news was disappointing to me at first, I quickly recovered when she told me that she bought me a guitar for Christmas.
I had a hard time learning how to play the guitar for I had no one to teach me how to play, but I was determined to play and I did so by listening to other people play and copy what I heard.
My association with Calvin was short lived because in 1966, we had an automobile accident that caused us to choose different careers. I then signed a contract with Rick Hall, who owned Fame Records, which was located in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This was probably one of the wisest moves I have ever made. I learned how to write songs, how to sing professionally and how songs were produced into hit records.
Oh, I forgot to tell you, the name of my first record on Fame Records; it was “Tell Daddy All About It”. My association with Fame Records lasted from 1966 until 1973. During this time, we had records like: “Slip Away” in 1968, “Too Weak To Fight” in 1969 and “Patches” in 1970. All three of these records were in the top ten positions on the charts.
Atlantic Records proved to be a good idea that Rick Hall had for my career, for it was that company that gave stability in the music business for me.
In 1974, I signed with ABC Records and had three albums with them; the most notable one being, “Loneliness and Temptation” which featured the hit song. “I Got Caught Making Love”.
After 1975, the music field was not so kind to me. The disco era came along and damn near sent me to bankruptcy. I was able to hang by doing performances in nightclubs for what I could collect off the doors.
I however was determined to stay in the music business, so I sent tapes to record company after record company only to be told that my kind of music was no longer desired and they were sorry. “We will have to pass on your tapes.
Just about the time I was about ready to give up, I happened to go to Los Angeles and played a tape for Curtis Shaw, a well known attorney in the music business, and he contacted the president of Venture Records. They listened and decided to release the album and to top it all off, they were willing to advance me some front money.
In 1981, I was chosen the “Come Back Artist of the Year” and I received that award. I could hardly believe my luck, for now I not only had music that people liked and danced too, but I also was being interviewed by leading magazines like Jet magazine. The record that made all this possible was “Working on A Love Building” from the album “Let’s Burn”.
I only recorded two albums for Venture Records; the second album named “Mr. Clarence Carter in person”. It did not do so well. There is no telling what we, meaning Venture Records and I may have done together but they went out of business.
It was back to the drawing board again to find a record deal; however, this time I was in a better position to deal because I now had my own recording studio and I could record my own songs. In 1984, I released an album on “Big C Records” called “Singing for My Supper’ which featured the hit records “Love Me with a Feeling” and “It Ain’t What You Do, It’s How You Do It’.
It always seems as if you are able to find things when you look for them hard enough. I am thinking about the way I came in contact with John Abbey. Rodger Redding, my booking agent, suggested I go talk to John about a record distribution deal with a major company. During the conversation, John said, he was forming a record company and if I were interested, I could be his first artist. That’s how I came to sign with Ichiban Records in Kennesaw Georgia in 1985. Since then, I have had six albums with them; the most popular one is Dr. C.C., which has the hit song “Stroking”. Other notable songs with this label are: “Grandpa Can’t Fly Hit Kite”, “Kiss You All Over”, and “Gee Spot”. As of this writing, I am about to release my latest cd ”On Your Feet” It will be on the label: Cee Gee Entertainment , a new company.
I have done a lot of traveling, singing and playing in many countries. To name a few: England, France, Italy, Guyana, South Africa, Japan, The Virgin Islands and Canada.
I have now reached my golden years and I am still not ready to retire. During my career, I have been awarded five gold records and one platinum album. That is why I say, I have been blessed and well rewarded and I owe it all to my fans. THANK YOU ALL.