Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Valerie Carter, St. Petersburg recording artist and backup singer, dies at 64

Fans of Valerie Carter may best remember the singer for her rendition of Ooh Child that was part of the soundtrack for the 1979 Matt Dillon movie Over the Edge or for the decades she performed backup for James Taylor.

But for Janice Carter, the fondest memories of her little sister's singing date to childhood.

"She and Dad would make up silly songs," said Janice Carter, 68, of St. Petersburg. "He'd make up a verse and she would and back and forth. The songs would be about things like our pets or Mom's rollers in her hair."

Valerie Carter, also a resident of St. Petersburg, died Saturday at St. Anthony's Hospital of a heart attack at age 64, her sister said. Janice Carter said her sister had heart issues for years.

Known for a soulful, sultry and smoky voice and for being adept at soul, rock, pop and folk, Valerie Carter released four solo albums, most notably her 1977 debut, Just a Stone's Throw Away.

That album also featured Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Earth Wind and Fire, included the songs Ooh Child and Face of Appalachia and got her booked as the opening act for the Eagles during a European tour.

Still, Ms. Carter was more comfortable as a backup singer.

"She didn't feel deserving of adoration," her sister said. "She never felt like a big star."

Among musicians for whom Ms. Carter sang backup included Ronstadt, Browne, Christopher Cross, Ringo Star and Willie Nelson. James Taylor used her voice on seven albums.

"She was held with highest regard, known as a first-call session vocalist for these artists," her former manager Jim Della Croce said. "More importantly, she was a great friend. She left a lovely light."

READ MORE: James Taylor, Carole King, Shawn Colvin, more pay tribute to 'inimitable' St. Petersburg singer Valerie Carter

Valerie Carter and Taylor were especially close.

In 2009, after Ms. Carter was arrested in St. Petersburg on drug charges, Taylor paid for her three-month stay in a Texas rehab center.

In 2011, Taylor was there for her "graduation ceremony" held in a Pinellas County drug court to celebrate those winning the battle with addiction.

"Thank you," Ms. Carter whispered to Taylor that day. "Thank you for taking such good care of me."

Taylor and other peers took to social media to express their condolences.

"Valerie was an old soul and as deep as a well. Her voice came from her life and her life was a steep, rocky road,'' Taylor wrote on Facebook. "We were the lucky ones, who worked (played) with Valerie Carter over the long arc of her creative career; we got the best of her love.''

Valerie Carter was born in Winter Haven in 1953, but her father James' stint in the military meant the family often moved, Janice Carter said.

"Portsmouth, Dayton, Savannah, to name a few … " she said.

Valerie Carter's first break came while living with her family in Tucson, where she joined a band fronted by Gretchen Ronstadt, sister of Linda Ronstadt.

Next she was off to New York City where she formed the folk band Howdy Moon. They headed to California, released a self-titled album in 1974 and regularly played at the West Hollywood rock club, the Troubadour.

It was also during the 1970s she became known as a songwriter, penning tunes such as Cook With Honey for Judy Collins and Love Needs a Heart for Browne.

She moved to St. Petersburg a decade ago to help care for her mother, Dorothy, and retired as a professional musician.

But from time to time, her sister said, Ms. Carter would randomly ask to join a band on stage at a local establishment.

"The audience was always wowed," her sister said. "She had some voice."

Information from Times files was used in this report. Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] Follow @PGuzzoTimes.

   
Comments
Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

Joe Henderson: Farewell to Eddie Card, sports enthusiast, gentleman and friend

There was an empty seat in the pew at the back of my church Sunday. It was where Eddie Card used to sit.That’s where I would see Eddie and his wonderful wife, Joan, nearly every week. He would always extend his hand and give mine a firm shake.He woul...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

Procession planned for ‘America’s Pastor,’ Rev. Billy Graham

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, the magnetic, movie-star-handsome preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, has died. He was 9...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Forecast: Warm weather persists in Tampa Bay, but slightly cooler weekend ahead

Tampa Bay has broken record high temperatures since Monday, and Thursday should be no different.Happy Thursday! We are rolling through the week and once again temperatures will be near record highs this afternoon. If we break the record high of 85° t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Grapefruit League 2018 day-by-day schedule

Here is the 2018 day-by-day Grapefruit League schedule. Check out the Tampa Bay Times’ 2018 Spring Training Guide for stadium locations, contact information, team-by-team schedules, ticket information and more.Thursday, Feb. 22U. of Tampa vs. Philade...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

Man rescued after boat swept away, capsizes in Little Manatee River

RUSKIN — A man was rescued early Thursday morning after Hillsborough County deputies say his boat was swept away by a strong tide and capsized in the Little Manatee River.According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, a 911 call was received ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The Daystarter: Rubio taken to task; Romano on the GOP lobby; St. Pete’s World Liquors sign finds new home; what if Rays know what they’re doing?

The Daystarter: Rubio taken to task; Romano on the GOP lobby; St. Pete’s World Liquors sign finds new home; what if Rays know what they’re doing?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Temperatures peaked Wednesday, but don’t expect cooler air to return just yet. Highs will remain in the mid 80s through next week, according to 10Weather WTSP. And it will re...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Romano: Welcome to Florida, a state more afraid of conversation than guns

Gun advocates are absolutely right about this:A ban on assault weapons will not end school shootings.How do we know?Because there was a federal ban on assault weapons for 10 years, and mass killings persisted. That’s because a ban deals only with fut...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Supercross brings athletes — not just motorcycle riders — to Tampa

Supercross brings athletes — not just motorcycle riders — to Tampa

TAMPA — When breaking down the competitive skill in Saturday night’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series event at Raymond James Stadium, you won’t find an analysis of 40-yard dash times, bench-press weights or vertical-leap measurements...
Published: 02/22/18

Ernest Hooper: Andrew Young, in Tampa for award, holds up crown of inspiration at 85

Theologian and Morehouse College graduate Howard Thurman, a man who influenced many of the nation’s civil rights leaders, once issued a challenge to students at the famed Atlanta school.Over the heads of her students, Morehouse holds a crown that she...
Published: 02/22/18
PolitiFact: Donald Trump falsely says he never denied Russian meddling

PolitiFact: Donald Trump falsely says he never denied Russian meddling

The indictments of 13 Russians detailing how they used Facebook and Twitter to undercut Hillary Clinton and promote President Donald Trump spurred a flurry of tweets from Trump over the Presidents Day weekend."I never said Russia did not meddle in th...
Published: 02/22/18