I’d forgotten HOW LONG AGO I was listening to the “Wild Child” album, with baby-pout Valerie doing the “i’m so hot, I can look wasted” look. Or was it that she looked hot BECAUSE she looked so wasted? You tell me.
In a world loaded up with Linda Ronstadt, Chi Coltrane, Maria Muldaur and Carly Simon album covers, maybe Valerie got lost in the 12x12 shuffle. She had a semi hit with “Ooh Child,” which fit comfortably into that hammock of swingy James Taylor and white-funk Steely Dan stuff.
I had a fondness, at the time, for “Da Doo Rendezvous,” which had a light jazz tilt, and that oh so hip notion that “doing” a chick was “da doo”-ing her, and back then a classy term for a “booty call” would be “da doo rendezvous.” Ooh. OOH, CHILD. So, what did she da-doo if she wasn’t making solo albums?
If you check your record collection you’ll find that Valerie was a back-up singer on TONS of great discs. If you’ve replaced your vinyl with mp3 files, well, too bad, mp3 files don’t have much information do they? And CD booklets need a magnifying glass to read.
Let me help. Valerie was on albums by black artists (Aaron Neville’s “Warm Your Heart” 1991, Diana Ross’s “Force Behind the Power” 1991) and by crossover babes with roots rock or C&W/folk influences (Nicolette Larson’s solo album from 1981, and Shawn Colvin’s 1992 “Fat City”). She sang with the smooth guys including Don Henley (“End of the Innocence” 1989), James Taylor (“Gorilla” 1975 through “Hourglass” 1997), and Jackson Browne “I’m Alive,” 1993). LOTS more. Christopher Cross, Eric Carmen, Glenn Frey, Jimmy Webb…Carter thrived as a back-up singer while other Carters took their solo shots (from Linda Carter doing Billy Joel to Carlene Carter connecting with Nick Lowe.)
Valerie’s songs sometimes got covered, and not by assholes on YouTube. “Cook with Honey” was on Judy Colllins’ “True Stories” album, and “Turn It Into Something Good” cooked for Earth Wind and Fire’s “Faces” album.
Once in a while, Valerie got a shot at making a new CD. She didn't look like the "Wild Child" anymore.
In 2009 she was playing in front of the cops, busted for drugs. Fortunately James Taylor was one of the people who hadn’t forgotten about her, and he helped her deal with that situation. Here’s Valerie looking over to James, who apparently testified that she was now clean and sober. And she embraces him and thanks him.
According to her older sister, Valerie would sometimes take the stage at some information outdoor show down in Florida, or maybe some bar, and wow the crowd with her expertise as a back-up singer, or doing a solo on a familiar number.
Below are a few tracks from THAT album with THAT pouty photo that I liked so much. Yes, it’s slightly dated in the way most all “mellow” late 70’s early 80’s jazz-tinged singer-songwriter stuff is dated, but it’s still good, y’all.
Valerie Carter CRAZY Instant download or listen on line, no ads, no pop-ups, no Zinfart password.
Valerie Carter DA DOO RENDEZVOUS Instant download or listen on line, no ads. No "I don't own the copyright, I'm just using it because I like it" YouTube caveat shit. The pricks who say that are monetizing and get paid. This blog doesn't monetize or have a Paypal "tip jar" and doesn't profit financially in any way.