Clarence Murray Biography
Clarence Murray spent almost all of his recording career in Macon, GA. Clarence came into secular recordings via time in various gospel groups. He worked with the ubiquitous Bobby Smith in the Georgian town for several years, and Smith sent his tracks to Shelby Singleton for release on SSS International, and also to King, with whom he had a very close relationship, for release on their Federal subsidiary.
His first 45 included a version of a deep soul classic “One More Chance.” This had already been cut by the wonderful Jimmy Braswell, also in Macon. Murray’s version is a very similar arrangement, but it is taken at a slightly brisker pace and his vocal isn’t quite as desperate as Braswell’s. But this version won’t cost another mortgage! Murray’s second single features another outstanding cut, “Poor Boy.” His vocal performance here is simply wonderful, hoarse-toned, and full of screamed phrases that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Murray’s final SSS International 45 was recorded in Muscle Shoals, and it featured “Dancing To The Beat,” far and away his best uptempo track. This insistent toe-tapper is a very fine example of southern soul as dance music.
Clarence Murray passed on January 31, 2011. The Augusta Chronicle reported that he was 69 years old when he died, and summarized his career: “Mr. Murray attended Central Elementary and Jefferson High School. He was a gospel singer, singing with the Dixie Jubliers, The Glorious Kings and the Swanee Quintet. One of his hit recordings was “How Much Do I Owe Him” and many more.” He is survived by his companion, Marilyn Murray, one son-in-law, and a host of grandchildren.