Liner Note Authors: Dean Rudland; Ted Williams .
Recording information: Fame Studios, Muscle Shoals, Alabam (1966-1967).
Kent's 2016 CD combines Clarence Carter's first two albums for Atlantic -- his 1968 debut This Is Clarence Carter and its 1969 sequel The Dynamic Clarence Carter -- and adds five bonus tracks, all recorded between 1966-1967: "I'm Happy-Go-Lucky," "She Ain't Gonna Do Right," "Take Me, Use Me," "There Won't Be Another Sunset," "I'll Be Over After a While." Carter started having hits quickly, when "Slip Away" -- the single that doesn't appear until the second side of This Is Clarence Carter -- turned into a Top Ten crossover hit, but the 1968 debut makes no overt play for a pop audience, not even when it opens up with a Jimmy Webb tune. It's deep Southern soul through and through, alternating between originals by Carter and tunes by Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn -- an excellent songbook delivered with punch and panache by the FAME crew, all elements that make this one of the finest deep soul albums of the late '60s. The Dynamic Clarence Carter contains a couple of feints toward that crossover audience "Slip Away" brought the singer/songwriter. He covers the Doors' "Light My Fire," Tom T. Hall's "Harper Valley PTA," and Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil's "You've Been a Long Time Coming," enough pop material to give this a slightly slicker vibe, but it's still a strong soul album anchored by the funky "Steal Away," a cover of Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind," and the bright, snappy "Too Weak to Fight," the biggest hit on this record. Both records are prime Carter -- arguably the two best LPs he made -- and the bonus tracks are of a similarly high grade, making this an excellent disc for serious soul fans. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine