In bars across South Louisiana, whenever people hear a couple of Morse-code hi-hats followed by the words "When I make love, I don't just make love...I be strokin'!" they know it's time to put down their drinks, suspend their conversations and assemble on the dance floor for a curious "Thriller"-like line dance known as "The Freeze." The impetus is "Strokin'," the salacious and unlikely 1993 crossover hit by sightless Alabama-born soul man Clarence Carter that has since been endlessly anthologized on albums like Nasty Blues and Booty Jams. Carter, also the man behind late-'60s hits "Slip Away" and "Back Door Santa" — whose horn break Run-DMC sampled for the opening to "Christmas in Hollis" — tests Houston's freeze-ability Friday night at the third annual Valentine's Day H-Town Blues Festival, alongside San Antonio-born smooth operator Mel Waiters, the always elegantly heartsick Bobby Blue Bland and "Woman to Woman" Stax alumna Shirley Brown. How do you like to make love?
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