That girl may have shot a hole in Clifford Curry's soul in 1967, but Clifford's soul is well intact in 2012.
Clifford is, of course, the Knoxville-born-and-raised artist who recorded the song "She Shot a Hole In My Soul" back in the summer of love and watched it turn into a soul classic. He's also one of the nicest guys I've had the pleasure to talk with over the course of 30 years. Clifford's enthusiasm and goodwill is infectious.
In the years since "She Shot a Hole In My Soul" was released, Clifford became the king of Carolina Beach Music and a legend among classic soul enthusiasts — especially in Europe where his rare singles are highly prized by collectors and are being regularly reissued in soul and R&B anthologies.
"I got a call from a guy in the UK the other day trying to fix it up so I can come over and do some shows," says Clifford in a call from his Nashville home last week. "This guy said, 'Clifford you'd be surprised how much your records are being played over here.' 'Can't Get Ahold of Myself,' 'Ain't No Danger,' 'Soul Ranger! I Don't Need You' ..."
He points out that "Ain't No Danger" is a song he recorded with disc jockey/songwriter Rob Galbraith at a studio on Sutherland Avenue. He hasn't performed in years.
"They do their research over there," says Clifford. "They know more about me than I do myself!"
Clifford has had successful tours in Italy, France and the Netherlands, but has never performed in the United Kingdom. He says he's trying to get himself in physical shape to do the tour. Over the past few years he's had a series of medical problems that has waylaid his performance schedule. Diabetes and blood clots have been the most recent maladies and he's recently completed rehabilitation therapy for vertigo.
"I've got dates coming up this month, though!" says Clifford.
Those dates include a show in Myrtle Beach, S.C., with the Drifters on Sept. 29 and a Knoxville show with Gary Talley from the Box Tops, and Donny Trexlor from the O'Kaysions on Wednesday, Sept. 12, at the Holiday Inn Cedar Bluff ballroom.
Clifford, who began his recording career in 1956 as a member of the Five Pennies, seems unstoppable.
"I hope to have a new album out soon — it might be at the end of this year or maybe early 2013."
His songwriting muse is still delivering.
"I just wrote one called 'Tennessee Is Calling Me,'" says Clifford. "I've got another one called 'Going on a Booze Cruise'!"
If that mean old woman who pulled the trigger in 1967 wanted to stop Clifford, she should've had better aim.
© 2012, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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