Back when I was in college, I had a friend named Brian who was a karaoke fan. We used to head out to the Chelsea Street Pub on Wednesday nights, where we would proceed to get absolutely shitty drunk and pick out songs to sing in front of a likely bewildered audience. I usually picked really awful pop songs and sang them as straightforward as possible in order to piss off the audience, songs such as “I Want It That Way” or “Bailamos.” Occasionally I would whip out “Lovesick Blues” by Hank Williams, because that song is awesome and it allowed me to basically yodel onstage, further pissing off the largely country-listening audience. I did it out of love.
Brian, on the other hand, generally stuck with one of two songs. Sometimes he would bust out “Kiss” by Prince, a crowd pleaser even though he couldn’t sing for shit. However, it is his other regular song choice that sticks with me to this day, and I sometimes catch myself humming it randomly for no discernible reason. The song, of course, is Clarence Carter’s “Strokin'”.
Clarence Carter is a blind soul singer who enjoyed a fair amount of success with soul songs in the early 70’s, such as his most well known song from that time, a cover of The Chairmen of the Board’s “Patches.” With the rise of disco, Carter’s career took a downturn. However, he found a new audience in the 80’s by recording risqué sex tunes. One of these was “Strokin'”, a silly, ridiculous little song, but fun and hilarious at the same time. This video takes me back to the Chelsea Street Pub, where audiences actually sat enraptured by Brian’s version of a Clarence Carter tune. I be strokin’!
Clarence Carter – “Strokin'”