b. Otis Clay, 11th February 1942, Waxhaw, Bolivar County, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 8th January 2016, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Otis was born in Bolivar County, Mississippi.
His family relocated to Muncie, Indiana in 1953.
Otis sang with the gospel group, the Voices of Hope (during 1954), later, relocating back to Mississippi, to join the group the Christian Travelers.
Otis moved on to Chicago in 1957, where he joined, initially, the Golden Jubilaires (in 1957), before joining the groups, the Famous Blue Jay Singers (in 1959), the Holy Wonders, and the Pilgrim Harmonizers.
He began a secular solo career in 1962.
Otis recorded some unreleased songs (recording four tracks for producer Carl Davis at Columbia) before joining the Gospel Songbirds in Nashville in 1964.
three is a crowd b/w flame in your heart - 1965 / the only way is up b/w special kind of love - 1980
He went on to record for several imprints, including Elka and Rounder and Echo Records.
It was at Echo where he recorded the original version of ‘The Only Way is Up’ in 1980.
In 1965, Otis signed with One-derful! Records in Chicago.
Otis recorded his first hit in 1967, in the shape of ‘That's How It Is (When You're In Love)’, (number 34 on the R&B chart).
The follow up single also charted, entitled ‘A Lasting Love’ (number 48 R&B).
In 1968 the record company folded, which, as a result, took Otis to Atlantic Records.
Atlantic’s subsidiary Cotillion label released his version of the Sir Douglas Quintet hit, ‘She's About A Mover’.
The single reached number 97 on the Hot 100 (number 47 R&B).
Cotillion went on to release further Otis sides, including ‘Hard Working Woman’ and ‘Is It Over?’.
Otis switched labels to Hi Records in 1971, releasing, in 1972, ‘Trying To Live My Life Without You’, (number 24 R&B).
Follow up singles included ‘If I Could Reach Out’, along with an album entitled ‘I Can’t Take It’.
Otis moved on to Kayvette Records, releasing the single ‘All Because Of Your Love’ (number 44 R&B) in 1977.
trying to live my life without you - 1972 / i can't take it - 1977 / live! - 1978 / the only way is up - 1982
In the 1990s he recorded two albums for the Bullseye Blues imprint, namely, ‘I’ll Treat You Right’ and ‘This Time Around’.
live again - 1984 / watch me now - 1989 / i'll treat you right - 1992 / the gospel truth - 1993
In 2007, he recorded the gospel album ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’.
In 2013, Otis was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Otis died in 2016 as a result of a heart attack, at the age of 73.
Trying To Live My Life Without You (Hi Records 1972)
I Can't Take It (Hi Records 1977)
Live Otis Clay (Victor Records 1978)
The Only Way Is Up (Victor Records 1982)
Live Again (Rooster Blues Records 1985)
Watch Me Now (Waylo Records 1989)
I'll Treat You Right (Bullseye Blues Records 1992)
The Gospel Truth (Blind Pig Records 1993)