The second installment of Ace's Clarence Carter single series -- it's called The Fame Singles because that's where the sides were recorded; they were released on Atlantic, Fame, and United Artists -- covers the years of 1970 through 1974. Carter worked his way toward the top of the charts in the late '60s, crossing over with "Slip Away" and "Back Door Santa" in 1968, and in the early '70s he began to slide down the pop charts after "Patches" hit number four in 1970. No other pop Top 40 hits were forthcoming -- the closest he came was "It's All in Your Mind" making its way to 51 in 1970 -- but he was a fixture on the R&B charts through 1973, when "Sixty Minute Man" and "I'm the Midnight Special" were in the Top 20. The Fame Singles, Vol. 2 charts this progression, opening with "Patches" and concluding with "Heartbreak Woman," his lone single from 1974. As the years marched by, Carter's Southern soul -- which, apart from the sentimental corn of "Patches," always was pretty deep and gritty -- got looser and funkier, save for his quietly burning slow numbers, which sounded as if they could've been recorded in the late '60s. Throughout it all, Carter stayed true to deep soul in all its forms, singing cheating songs, funky workouts (one of the best is "The Court Room," a story-song of an allegedly wayward preacher), danceable grooves ("Slipped, Tripped and Fell in Love"), and those testifying ballads. The songs, many penned by Carter himself with several others by George Jackson and Raymond Moore, are strong, suggesting that Carter's diminished chart presence was all about shifting tastes, not quality, for this second collection of The Fame Singles is as strong and enduring as the first.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine