Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Clarence Carter Is The Back Door Santa (1968)

The foot of snow outside and the evergreen tree in my living room can mean only one thing. It's time for some Christmas tunes.

Today's track comes from the R&B and soul singer Clarence Carter. Carter is often compared to both Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles (mainly because he is also a blind soul singer) but to me Carter always had a roughness in his voice and a blues sound that reminded me more of Muddy Waters or Otis Redding.

I first became familiar with Clarence Carter several years back when I first heard the song "Patches" on a soul compilation album. Not knowing anything about the artist, I was immediately hooked on his sound and his colorful lyrics. How could anyone not love a song that starts out "I was born and raised down in Alabama, on a farm way back up in the woods; I was so ragged that folks used to call me Patches."

Luckily, a short while after discovering the song "Patches", my local public library decided to sell off most of their existing vinyl collection, and I ended up with about six or seven Clarence Carter albums (among many others). Among them was the 1968 album Testifyin' which contained today's Christmas tune.

The track is "Back Door Santa" and if you are not familiar with the song, you may still recognize the beat. The song was sampled by hip-hop pioneers Run D.M.C. in their hit song "Christmas In Hollis" which appeared on the first 'A Very Special Christmas' album back in 1987.

That Run D.M.C. song was also used in the opening sequence to the first 'Die Hard' film, which is probably one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time.

So click the link below, to hear Clarence Carter be called a Back Door Santa, and I hope your holidays are pretty happy so far.

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