First recorded by Chairmen of the Board (1970).
Hit versions by Clarence Carter (US#4/R&B #2/UK #2 1970), Ray Griff (C&W #26 1970).
Also recorded by The Rudies (1970), George Jones & B.B. King (1994).
From the wiki: “‘Patches’ (sometimes known as ‘Patches (I’m Depending On You)’), a Country-Soul song, was written by General Johnson and Ron Dunbar. The song tells a story about how a boy born and raised in poverty in Alabama ‘on a farm way back up in the woods’ took over responsibility for his family from his dying father.
“‘Patches’ was included on Chairmen of the Board’s first album, The Chairmen of the Board (later reissued as Give Me Just a Little More Time), and was the B-side of the group’s July 1970 single, ‘Everything’s Tuesday’, their third chart hit. The best-known recording was the 1970 hit production by Clarence Carter. It won the 1971 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song.
“When Carter first heard the song, ‘I heard it on the Chairmen of the Board LP and liked it, but I had my own ideas about how it should be sung. It was my idea to make the song sound real natural …’ Initially he thought ‘that it would be degrading for a black man to sing a song so redolent of subjugation’ but was persuaded to do so by record producer Rick Hall, who told Carter that it related to his [Carter’s] own personal history as he was growing up. (Carter was born blind in Alabama.)
“Carter recorded the song at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, with Hall as producer and musicians including Junior Lowe (guitar), Jesse Boyce (bass), and Freeman Brown (drums). Carter’s recording was released in July 1970 and was described by a Billboard reviewer as a ‘powerful blues item’ featuring a ‘blockbuster vocal work-out.’
“A reggae version was recorded late in 1970 by The Rudies, later known as Greyhound. Another version by Canadian country singer Ray Griff reached #26 on the US country music chart the same year. ‘Patches’ was also covered by George Jones and B. B. King on the album Rhythm, Country and Blues in 1994.”
Clarence Carter, “Patches” (1970):
Ray Griff, “Patches” (1970):
The Rudies, “Patches” (1970):
George Jones & B.B. King, “Patches” (1994):