THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HEARD THIS CHRISTMAS…(Why I Still Need Rock and Roll: Session #12)

Wish I knew the song in question but it’s worth noting anyway.

On my way home from my friend MG’s lovely Christmas brunch, I stopped at my local convenience store…Walking out, I heard the thump of a rap song–loud but not abusively so–coming from a white kid’s pickup. The white-haired black man walking towards me was humming along–almost as loudly–to the blues sample underneath.

Smiles all around.

Reminded me that it isn’t all gloom and doom in this world and somehow–maybe just as a measure of how much farther we┬áreally have come down the weary highway that seems to have no end–put me in mind of this week’s great discovery…from that Fame box again and 1971. Merry Christmas ya’ll…and a big thanks to all who stopped by and let me reach all my yearly goals for the blog several weeks early and coast into the new year:

 

WHAT IMPRESSED ME THIS WEEK (Clarence Carter Closes Down the Fifties…and the Sixties)

If Clarence Carter was, as the story so often goes, a “minor” soul singer, then that just proves how major Soul really was. I’ve been chasing his early seventies’ version of “Sixty Minute Man” since I first read about it in Dave Marsh’s invaluable The Heart of Rock & Soul, roughly twenty-five years ago…The last time I looked on YouTube a couple of years back, it wasn’t there and I never got around to paying a collector’s price for a vinyl copy.

Now, thanks to the glories of reissue labels, Carter’s complete Fame singles, including “Sixty Minute Man,” are available in two very reasonably-priced volumes, the second of which was released this month and arrived at my doorstep on Friday.

And, lo and behold, it’s now available on YouTube as well.

So here’s Clarence, doing his thing, completely re-imagining one of the revolution’s seminal records from the fifties as a deep-soul, definitively sixties-sounding record released in the seventies.

Hey, twenty-five years is nothing. It was worth the wait: