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O.B. McClinton

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Biography

b. Obie Burnett McClinton, 25 April 1940, Senatobia, Mississippi, USA, d. 23 September 1987. The son of a Baptist preacher, McClinton was dissuaded from listening to R&B, but took solace in country music. Having worked for a time as a disc jockey at radio station WDIA in Memphis, he forged a career as a songwriter, penning country-soul ballads for Otis Redding (‘Keep Your Arms Around Me’), before finding the ideal foil in James Carr. Two of McClinton’s compositions, ‘You’ve Got My Mind Messed Up’ (1966) and ‘A Man Needs A Woman’ (1968), stand among this singer’s finest work. McClinton then became a staff writer at the Stax Records label and, in January 1971, began recording as a C&W artist on the company’s Enterprise subsidiary. His albums there offered varied material, including versions of Wilson Pickett’s ‘Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You’ (1972) - his most successful country chart single - and Merle Haggard’s ‘Okie From Muskogee’. McClinton briefly moved to Mercury Records in 1976, where he had a hit with ‘Black Speck’, before moving to Epic, where he scored half a dozen minor C&W hits. One of the few successful black country singers, McClinton died of abdominal cancer in September 1987.

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