Clarence Carter

Soul Collection

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The first three songs on this collection ("Slip Away," "Too Weak to Fight," and "Patches"), even though they are not the original Atlantic versions, are still strong and compelling performances from Clarence Carter. The voice is a little less powerful, but Carter's strength was always in the unburnished emotional nuances and sincerity of his phrasing (his bawdy material like "Strokin'" aside), and these songs still have the power to connect. It takes a special singer to pull off a tune like "Patches" without tipping it over into terminally maudlin territory, and Carter walks that line beautifully, even in this retelling. Unfortunately, the balance of this compilation is mostly covers, and without the Muscle Shoals punch of his earlier arrangements, they don't add up to anything vital. Much better collections are available.

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