Otis Clay

Deep Soul Singer Clay backed by the Hi Rythm Section

Otis Clay The Windy City's Otis Clay is perhaps today's best representative of the deep soul tradition that began back in the early 1960s by the likes of O.V. Wright, Otis Redding, James Carr, Ollie Nightingale and Solomon Burke. Deep Soul, and Clay's style, owes a debt to both blues and gospel music.

Most deep soul singers are Southern born and Clay is no exception. Born in rural Mississippi in 1942, he moved to Chicago in the late 1950s. He spent 10 years singing gospel with quartets such as the Gospel Songbirds and the Sensational Nightingales. In 1965 he "switched" to R&B (although not abandoning gospel) with impressive results. For two decades, he would have several deep soul hits for labels like Onderful, Cottillion/Atlantic and Hi. Songs like, "Trying To Live My Life Without You," "Precious Precious," and "Pussy Footin' Around" date from this period

By the late 1970s, dsco and funk had pushed deep soul off the charts and Clay was forced to look abroad to sustain his livelihood. Japan provided an unlikely haven for deep soul artists and Clay toured the Orient several times and made two live albums there. He still recorded stateside, recording both deep soul and gospel and would score one on the biggest gospel records of the 1980s, "When the Gates Swing Open."

At this years Ponderosa Stomp, Clay will be reunited with the Hi Rhythm Band which is an added bonus.

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