In the history of Afro-American music the name Clarence Williams means the composer / pianist /bandleader who worked with such early jazz greats as Bessie Smith, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong. The guy on this page is, however, a much less famous musician but his talents are more than worthy of inclusion here. This man came from North Philly and made music for independent local producer / label owner Phil Gabey in the early 60s, several of the tracks from his own pen.
His first 45 was the doo wop styled ballad Love Me on which he demonstrated his rich expressive delivery to very good effect. Gabey was able to get it issued on the bigger Chancellor label as well – but it still didn’t worry the charts sadly. You’ve got to love those gritty phrases he throws in. I like his next 45 No Rest For The Worried very much. This big beat ballad features an even more committed Williams vocal, but yet in 1963 the doo wop influence can still be clearly heard. But the soul style was much more apparent on Clarence’s final disc for Gabey, the melodic deep soul of I Know It’s True. This has more really fine singing from the man and may just be his finest track.
Note ~ I’m not convinced that the Clarence Williams who recorded the good doo wop ballad “Every Lover Has A Heartache” for Kim in Hollywood is the same artist. Can anybody confirm?