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Daily Journal
     April 8, 2020      #28-99 KDJ
 

Son pens biography of soul-singing father's life

By Jeff Bonty
jbonty@daily-journal.com


KANKAKEE — A Kankakee man has penned a biography of his father, James E. Carr Sr., a talented soul singer who lived a hard life.

James Carr Jr. tells his father’s story in “Darkest End of the Street,” with author Ron E. Smith. The book is available on Amazon.com.

“I owed it to my father. He is a forgotten artist,” said Carr Jr., who is a third-generation pastor.

The book’s title comes from James Carr Sr.’s biggest hit of the same name. The song reached the top 10 of the Billboard R&B chart in 1967. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016.

The song was written by Dan Penn and Chip Norman and been covered by artists like Percy Sledge, Joe Tex and Aretha Franklin.

James Carr Sr. was described as “one of the greatest pure vocalists that deep Southern soul ever produced.”

Carr Sr. was born in Coahoma, Miss., on June 13, 1942. He died in Memphis, Tenn., on Jan. 7, 2001. Carr Sr. married Willie Lee Moore in 1959. James Jr. was one of the couple’s six children.

While Carr Sr. was a talented singer, he battled mental health illness in his private life.

Carr Jr. wrote his father was in and out of the family’s life: “By no means was my father the devil, but he had some devilish ways.”

“I wrote about the struggles he went through,” Carr Jr. said. “I want to give an awareness of the sickness and people’s struggles. I know other families are going through this.

“He was a great, great artist. As the Bible says, ‘The truth shall set you free.’”

In 1969, James Jr.’s mother moved with the children to Kankakee, where her parents lived. His father visited the family in 1971 before going back to Memphis.

After Carr Jr. married, he traveled to Memphis annually to see his father.

Carr Jr. and his mother traveled to Memphis in December 2000 to visit Carr Sr. during his battle with lung cancer.

“I love that man. I loved him. I am proud of my father,” Carr Jr. said. “He couldn’t help himself. He was stubborn. He wouldn’t listen to my mother.”

James Carr Sr. songs

Here are songs recorded by James Carr Sr. Included are the composers"

The Dark End of the Street, Chips Moman / Dan Penn

Love Attack, Quinton Claunch

Pouring Water on a Drowning Man, D.K. Baker; Drew Baker; D. McCormick; Dani McCormick

You've Got My Mind Messed Up, O.B. McClinton

A Man Needs a Woman, O.B. McClinton

Let It Happen, Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn

You Don't Want Me, Roosevelt Jamison

To Love Somebody, Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb

A Woman Is a Man's Best Friend, Quinton Claunch and Rudolph V. "Doc" Russell

I'm a Fool for You,  Earl Cage; Quinton Claunch; Dolly Greer; G. Jackson; Rudolph V. "Doc" Russell

A Losing Game, James Carr and Denny Weaver

Freedom Train, Steve Bogard nd Larry Rogers

That's What I Want to Know

She's Better Than You

Life Turned Her That Way, Harlan Howard

Love Is a Beautiful Thing, Eddie Brigati and Felix Cavaliere

Hold On, Tommy Tate and Carson Whitsett

Source: allmusic.com

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Jeff Bonty
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