His professional music career began with friend Calvin Scott, signing to the Fairlane Records label to release "I Wanna Dance But I Don't Know How" the following year. After the 1962 release of "I Don't Know (School Girl)," Carter and Scott left Fairlane Records for Duke Records, renaming themselves the CL Boys for their label debut, Hey. In all, the duo cut four Duke singles, none of them generating very much interest.
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In 1965, they travelled to Rick Hall's FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals to record "Step by Step" and its flip side, "Rooster Knees and Rice." Atlantic Records took notice and released "Step by Step" on its Atco Records subsidiary, but it also flopped.
Carter continued as a solo act, signing to the Fame Records label for 1967's "Tell Daddy." Several more solid singles followed, until Carter released "Slip Away," which hit number 6 on the Pop Charts. Then, "Too Weak to Fight" hit number 13.
Several more soul singles followed, like "Snatching It Back," "Making Love (At The Dark End of the Street)," "The Feeling Is Right," "Doing Our Thing" and then "Patches."
"Patches" - first recorded by Chairmen of the Board - was a UK number 2 and a U.S. number 4 in 1970, and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Song in 1971. It sold over one million copies, and received a gold disc awarded by the R.I.A.A.
In September 1970, just two months after its release.
Following "Slip Away" and "Too Weak to Fight," it was Carter's third million seller.
With the advent of disco in the mid 1970s, Carter's career suffered, before he found a new audience with bawdy songs such as "Strokin'" for Ichiban Records in the 1980s and 1990s.
Carter's strong soul sound also found an audience within the emerging hip-hop community. Most notably, the horn break from Carter's song "Backdoor Santa", is sampled in the Run DMC Christmas song "Christmas in Hollis."
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