Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Clarence Carter

  • The Best of Clarence Carter [Atlantic, 1971] A-
  • Sixty Minutes With Clarence Carter [Fame, 1973] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Best of Clarence Carter [Atlantic, 1971]
Carter is not a high-definition singer. His penetrating timbre, like his uvular growl and the lowdown heh-heh-heh chuckle he makes of it, is more trademark than identity. But his all-purpose preacherly delivery--the rap on "Dark End of the Street" is as good as the music--makes him a perfect conduit for the gospel-based Muscle Shoals sound, the way the low-definition Marvelettes were for Motown. The hooks are as simple as the horn charts--an organ riff, an echoed drumbeat, a heh-heh-heh. And none of the lesser hits sounds all that much like "Slip Away." A-

Sixty Minutes With Clarence Carter [Fame, 1973]
The title has nothing to do with the record's duration--it's yet another play on this soul survivor's back-door-man routine. But thanks to Rich Hall's confident cop of the Allmans' high lick and an unusual things-ain't-getting-better lyric from George Jackson, a lot of this is more than routine. B+