James Carr (musician)

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James Carr
James Carr.gif
Background information
Birth name James Edward Carr
Born (1942-06-13)June 13, 1942
Como, Mississippi, United States
Died January 7, 2001(2001-01-07) (aged 58)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Genres Rhythm and blues, soul
Years active 1966-1980s
Labels Goldwax Records

James Edward Carr (June 13, 1942 – January 7, 2001),[1] was an American rhythm and blues and soul singer, described as "one of the greatest pure vocalists that deep Southern soul ever produced."[2]

Biography[edit]

Born to a Baptist preacher's family in Como, Mississippi, he moved with his parents to Memphis, Tennessee, at the age of three.[1] Carr began singing in church, and performed in gospel groups including the Harmony Echoes, at the same time as making tables on an assembly line in Memphis. After being turned down by Stax, he made his first recordings for Goldwax Records, a small Memphis-based independent record label, in 1964. He released several singles for the label before achieving his first success in 1966, when "You've Got My Mind Messed Up" reached number 7 on the Billboard R&B chart and number 63 on the pop chart.[3][2] He also released the successful and critically acclaimed album You Got My Mind Messed Up".[4][5]

Carr continued to have chart entries with his later singles on Goldwax, including "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man", but his greatest success and most critically acclaimed performance came in 1967 with his original recording of "The Dark End of the Street", written by Dan Penn and Chips Moman. The song reached number 10 on the R&B chart and number 77 on the pop chart. Carr continued to record for Goldwax until the label closed in 1969 but failed to reach the same heights with his subsequent releases, though "A Man Needs a Woman" in 1968 reached number 16 on the R&B chart and number 63 on the pop chart, and he recorded an album of the same title.[2][3] After Goldwax closed down in 1969, he released a single on Atlantic Records in 1971, and another on his manager Roosevelt Jamison's River City label in 1977.[2]

Carr suffered from bipolar disorder for most of his life. This frequently found him unable to deal with the stress of performing and touring, and became most evident during a tour of Japan in 1979 when he froze in front of an audience following an overdose of antidepressants. However he completed the Japan tour before returning to Memphis. Thereafter, he lived with his sister but was frequently hospitalized.[5] A resurgence in interest in his music, spurred by his portrayal in Peter Guralnick's 1986 book Sweet Soul Music, helped return Carr to the recording studio, and he was able to complete another album, Take Me to the Limit, for a revived Goldwax label in 1991. He also performed at festivals in the US and Europe, and released another album, Soul Survivor, in 1994.[2]

He was diagnosed with lung cancer in the mid-1990s, and died in a Memphis nursing home in 2001, aged 58.[1][5]

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • "You've Got My Mind Messed Up" (1966) R&B #7, Pop #63
  • "Love Attack" (1966) R&B #21, Pop #99
  • "Pouring Water on a Drowning Man" (1966) R&B #23, Pop #85
  • "The Dark End of the Street" (1967) R&B #10, Pop #77
  • "Let It Happen" (1967) R&B #30, Pop #106
  • "I'm a Fool for You" (duet with an uncredited Betty Harris) (1967) R&B #42, Pop #97
  • "A Man Needs a Woman" (1968) R&B #16, Pop #63
  • "Life Turned Her That Way" (1968) Pop #112
  • "Freedom Train" (1969) R&B #39
  • "To Love Somebody" (1969) R&B #44

Albums[edit]

Compilations[edit]

  • Complete, Vol. 1 (1994)
  • Complete, Vol. 2 (1994) Goldwax
  • The Essential James Carr (1995) Razor & Tie
  • 24 Karat Soul (2001) Soultrax
  • The Complete Goldwax Singles (2001) Kent
  • My Soul Is Satisfied/The Rest of James Carr (2004) Kent

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues - A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishers. p. 204. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Biography by Steve Huey, Allmusic.com. Retrieved 15 October 2016
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–1995. Record Research. p. 67. 
  4. ^ "You Got My Mind Messed Up", Allmusic.com. Retrieved 15 October 2016
  5. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon. "James Carr, 58, Soul Singer Whose Life Reflected the Blues". www.nytimes.com. Retrieved 4 March 2014. 

External links[edit]