Album: Greatest Hits (1970)
Charted: 2 4
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  • I was born and raised down in Alabama
    On a farm way back up in the woods
    I was so ragged that folks used to call me Patches
    Papa used to tease me about it
    'Cause deep down inside he was hurt
    'Cause he'd done all he could

    My papa was a great old man
    I can see him with a shovel in his hands, see
    Education he never had
    He did wonders when the times got bad
    The little money from the crops he raised
    Barely paid the bills we made

    For, life had kick him down to the ground
    When he tried to get up
    Life would kick him back down
    One day Papa called me to his dyin' bed
    Put his hands on my shoulders
    And in his tears he said

    He said, Patches
    I'm dependin' on you, son
    To pull the family through
    My son, it's all left up to you

    Two days later Papa passed away, and
    I became a man that day
    So I told Mama I was gonna quit school, but
    She said that was Daddy's strictest rule

    So every mornin' 'fore I went to school
    I fed the chickens and I chopped wood too
    Sometimes I felt that I couldn't go on
    I wanted to leave, just run away from home
    But I would remember what my daddy said
    With tears in his eyes on his dyin' bed

    He said, Patches
    I'm dependin' on you, son
    I tried to do my best
    It's up to you to do the rest

    Then one day a strong rain came
    And washed all the crops away
    And at the age of 13 I thought
    I was carryin' the weight of the
    Whole world on my shoulders
    And you know, Mama knew
    What I was goin' through, 'cause

    Every day I had to work the fields
    'Cause that's the only way we got our meals
    You see, I was the oldest of the family
    And everybody else depended on me
    Every night I heard my Mama pray
    Lord, give him the strength to make another day

    So years have passed and all the kids are grown
    The angels took Mama to a brand new home
    Lord knows, people, I shedded tears
    But my daddy's voice kept me through the years

    Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
    To pull the family through
    My son, it's all left up to you

    Oh, I can still hear Papa's voice sayin'
    Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
    I've tried to do my best
    It's up to you to do the rest

    I can still hear Papa, what he said
    Patches, I'm dependin' on you, son
    To pull the family through
    My son, it's all left up to you Writer/s: RONALD DUNBAR, NORMAN JOHNSON
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 13

  • Dana from Virginia Johnson co wrote this song and was THE BEST to sing it live! No one can ever sing it more believably as General Norman Johnson. RIP, my friend.
  • Freida from Florida When I hear the song patches, I can relate to the difficult times, I loss my father when I was very young to cancer, I had to step in a help Mother with my younger sister, I was cleaning, cooking and took on a whole new role as Moms caregiver, because she too was sick, I missed a lot of time from school and fell behind in my classes. I was patches in my family. I was always the servant and never been served.
  • Melo from Austin TxI used to listen to this song, I do remember my dad as a man that worked hard for his family, not only was he a provider, but he showed me what it meant to be a father, I got into a lot of trouble as a kid, and one thing I could always count on was my dad being there, thru indictments, and trouble at school. He died alone in his country of origin this day before father's day. 06/20/2020
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn September 18, 1962, Dickey Lee performed "Patches" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV weekday-afternoon program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time the song was at #8 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, two weeks later it would peak at #6 {for 2 non-consective weeks} and it spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    Between 1962 and 1976 he had six records on the Top 100 chart, after "Patches", his next two biggest hits both peaked at #14, "I Saw Linda Yesterday" for 3 weeks in 1963 and "Laurie (Strange Things Happen)" for 1 week in 1965...
    Besides the above three, his other three Top 100 records were "Don't Wanna Think About Paula" {#68 in 1963}, "The Girl from Peyton Place" {#73 in 1965}, and "9,999,999 Tears" {#52 in 1977}...
    Dickey Lee, born Royden Dickey Lipscomb, will celebrate his 81st birthday in three days on September 21st {2017}...
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, exactly eight years later on September 18th, 1970 Clarence Carter's completely different record titled "Patches" was in it's first of two weeks at #4 on the Top 100, and that was also it's peak position on the chart.
  • John from Windsor, OnYou get the impression from the Muscle Shoals documentary that Rick Hall wrote the song.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 12th 1970, "Patches" by Clarence Carter entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on September 13th, 1970 it peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1967 and 1973 he had fifteen Top 100 records, with two reaching the Top 10, his other Top 10 record was "Slip Away, which peaked at #6 (for 1 week) on September 30th, 1968...
    Mr. Carter will celebrate his 79th birthday come next January 14th, 2015 (and a sad personal note, I'll be turning 70 the next day!!!)
  • David from Birmingham, AlIn the excellent 2013 documentary "Muscle Shoals," FAME producer/owner Rick Hall says that even though he didn't write "Patches," it was pretty much his life story. His father did indeed die when Hall was a young man, in a tractor accident.
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlThe story of a poor black share cropper trying to raise a family in the rural south.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhWow. A heartbreaking, soul-filled song brought to life by Clarence Carter. Me, my brothers and sisters and mom listened to this on the car radio all the time in the early 70s. Very memorable.
  • Rick from Belfast, MeThis was one of my fav songs to hear on AM radio when I used to help milk cows on a farm......yes, AM radio did rule at one time....LOL.....good song
  • John from Beltsville, MdThe video over to the right is just plain goofy.
  • Brad from Barry, TxI first heard this song on the CD "Golden Years: 1970" which consisted of new stereo recordings. I actually preferred this newer version, done in 1990, to Carter's original recording from 1970.
  • Don from Muscle Shoals, AlClarence Carter recorded this song (and Slip Away" in Muscle Shoals Alabama at FAME Studios. I heard Rick Hall, the owner, say that when Clarence recorded the he had to have someone whisper the words of the song in his ear. Being blind it was tuff for him to memorise the words. Another fact about Clarence was that he recorded at Muscle Shoals in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.
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