Here’s the deal:
Once in a great while, a song comes along that becomes part of our shared cultural heritage – “White Christmas,” “Yesterday” and probably some others.
Sometimes, though, certifiable classics slip through the cracks, being songs of such magnitude and artistic foresight that the society they are presented to simply cannot handle them. Clarence Carter unleashed such a monstrous masterpiece in 1986, earning his reputation as the “Stravinsky of the ‘80s.”
So gather ‘round children and pull up a chair, for today we’re talking about “Strokin’.”
Clarence Carter made a name for himself as an immensely talented, if lesser-known, soul and R&B singer in the 1960s and 1970s, releasing rollicking and moving tunes like “Tell Daddy,” “Looking for a Fox” and “Patches.”
By 1986, however, Carter had decided to do away with the yearning and bubbling-under-the-surface sexuality of R&B and try his hand at something a bit more overt. What humanity was graced with due to this decision was “Strokin’,” a song so filthy it was only available in jukeboxes since computers hadn’t yet become personal smutprocessors.
At just over four-and-a-half minutes, “Strokin’” seems all too brief, considering that it is a sobering, intellectual view of human sexuality rivaling the work of Alfred Kinsey. Yet in this short span, Carter proceeds to ask the vital questions, such as “Have you ever made love while you watch the late-late show?” and “Have you ever made love on a COUCH?!”
Further lyrics explore important topics such as ensuring your partner is “sassified” and that if one’s partner’s “stuff ain’t tight enough,” further options await the dedicated lover. Bob Dylan has a lot yet to learn from Clarence Carter.
And if the mastery of “Strokin’” wasn’t enough, the song’s music video, with its California Raisins-esque claymation demon, pushed the bounds of the medium in ways unseen since Journey’s “Separate Ways.”
So check out “Strokin’.” It’s a ridiculous sex song.
But seriously, let me ask you this…