Clarence Lewis

From Bhamwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Clarence Junior Lewis, also known as C. L. Blast (born August 20, 1934; died February 26, 2016) was a soul and blues singer.

Lewis grew up in Birmingham and graduated from Parker High School in 1954. His talent came to the attention of classmate Shelly Stewart, who put him on his radio show and introduced him to Red Robin Records owner Bobby Robinson. Lewis recorded "Your Heart Must Be Made of Stone" for Red Robin in New York for a 1955 release.

Lewis was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1957 and served the military as a touring entertainer for two years. He returned to New York as "Little Junior Lewis" and recorded "Cupid's Little Helper" for Robinson's new label, Fury Records. He signed with Columbia Records in 1961 and recorded four more singles over the next two years while also performing as a vocalist for Erskine Hawkins' band at Harlem's Minton Playhouse.

Lewis moved back home in 1964 and opened The Players Lounge and One-Stop Record Shop in North Birmingham. He took the stage name of C. L. Blast and began recording again in 1967, but was held back by health issues, drug use, and a string of bad managers. Among his singles were "I'll Take the Case" for Atlantic Records (1969) and "What Can I Do (When My Thrill is Gone)" for United Records (1971)

In 1976 Lewis began an eight-year partnership with songwriter and Juana Records co-founder Frederick Knight. Some of his singles for Juana were included in his first full-length album, "Lay Another Log on the Fire," which appeared in 1980 on Atlantic Cotillion Records. The album charted in the South African market and Lewis toured there for months.

After his return to Birmingham, Lewis became more religious and performed mainly gospel music in church settings. He died in 2016.

References

  • Garrison, Greg (March 4, 2016) "Soul singer C.L. Blast was a voice from Birmingham's musical past." The Birmingham News