The Pair Extraordinaire!

:: In the Beginning ::

:: A Hard Day's Night ::

:: A Hundred Pounds of Clay ::

This album calls them, The Pair, but Carl Craig and Marcus Hemphill actually went by the name, The Pair Extraordinaire. A lounge-style soul duo from Texas, Craig on vocals and Hemphill on upright bass, they made the rounds of the L.A. club circuit throughout the 1960’s. Liberty Records picked them up, and they recorded four albums, three of them live, between 1965 and 1967. This one is their first, recorded at the Ice House in Pasadena, CA, a home for folk music in the 60’s that exists now as a comedy club. There was, however, a little more than a pairing the night this was recorded, as there’s some un-credited drums and guitar accompaniment going on.

This album languished in my unlistened-to dollar-bin finds for quite a bit, I’m sorry to say. I thought it would be squaresville, but was pleasantly surprised to find laid back, smooth and jazzy soulfulness tucked inside. Carl sprinkles in jokes, both between songs and in lyric, giving a nice touch of humor to the show. Perhaps this sense of humor endeared them to Bill Cosby, with whom they toured for awhile as his opening act. Hemphill, who became a playwright during the 70’s, hooked up with Bill Cosby again in the ‘80’s as a writer for The Cosby Show before his death in 1986. That’s about all the internets will tell me about them. And, apologies in advance for the pops and surface noise, my copy is a bit thrashed.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007 8:26:00 PM

Excellent choice, especially the Beatles cover. And certainly no need to apologize for pops and surface noise. It lends character and authenticity.    

Thursday, October 25, 2007 4:49:00 PM


i saw the pair at the Ice House in 1964 or 65. on a a highschool date wher i bought this LP. i also gave the singer; i guess Marcus, my blue and black rep necktie. he was admiring it out loud. i had no choice! how do i download this album or the three songs? i get file not found.


Monday, December 10, 2007 12:20:00 PM

If you get a chance, listen to "IN"-CITEMENT, or The Pair Extraordinaire !!!!RECORDED LIVE!!!!. Both are phenomenal albums and much stronger than this one.
There are cuts you could release today and they would top the charts.

Check them out.    

Saturday, December 22, 2007 9:25:00 AM

In-Citement is one of the prides of my record collection both for it's obscurity and more importantly it's quality. Goin out of my head is probably my favorite track but they're all solid. The humor can get a little cheesy at times but the music more than makes up for it. Great for mix cds and party mixes.    

Tuesday, February 10, 2009 10:58:00 PM

I knew Carl and Marcus well. First saw them when I was in college in Scottsdale, Arizona in about '67. They did one of the best versions of "Somertime" I'd ever heard.
We became friends when I moved to LA the next year.
They were a great act. Just the two of them. Carl also played tamborine as well as vocals.
I last saw Marcus in '69. He was driving a Gremlin, playing with a group called the Trendsetters. I asked him how he was doing and he said, "I'm settin the trend, my friend."
Haven't seen either one since.    

Monday, March 02, 2009 2:02:00 PM

Hello, I have Three albums for sale which are:

1) Live at the Ice House
2) "In" -Citement
3) Recorded Live

All three LP's are in Mint condition - please mail me at if interested?

Friday, September 25, 2009 6:46:00 PM

Does it have the song "come back to me"? If so, how much is the record?    

Monday, November 16, 2009 8:31:00 AM

Sitting listening to The Pair Extraordinaire's "Hello Young Lovers" and wondering why this group is impossible to find on cd. I was born in '63 so I missed their music the first time around but grew to love their sound in '94 when I stumbled upon their records. I also dig "What About All These Changes". Wow Those were two hip cats.    

Monday, November 16, 2009 11:09:00 AM

they were great!! i saw them at red rocks in the '65 or'66 with the folk group 'the front porch majority' "the pair..." came on stage and jolked ' hi we're the back porch minority' i've always loved that line! i saw bill crosby there too, but i'm not sure if it was the same concert.    

Friday, December 04, 2009 3:27:00 PM

The fabulous Pair gave an unforgetable concert at the Univ of Minnesota for Homecoming in 1963. It was at Northrop Auditorium and the house was full. I booked the show which was on a Wednesday night. They had no engagements the foloowing weekend. Carl was married and went home the day after the show. Marcus stayed for the weekend as a special guest of the Homecoming. They were wonderful entertainers ( got a thunderous standing ovation!) and reallly nice guys with great senses of humor.


Saturday, December 11, 2010 8:37:00 PM

wow ...I had been searching for info about "The Pair" and happened upon the Marcus Hemphill info. Thank you. Do you happen to know how Carl Craig is faring? You know, they reminded me a lot of Joe and Eddie. When Joe passed in that terrible accident, I guess Eddie just lost the will to perform. I hope Craig still feels like sharing. They were really something else!

I. Clark    

Saturday, May 14, 2011 7:13:00 PM

My fiancee and I went to see Pair Extrodinaire at the Hub Uof Washington 1969, after we had decided to split up. I had accepted a Peace Corps post in Kenya, and she left for San Francisco. Thirty-eight years, 2 divorces each, and much water under the bridge later, we married and have been together for 12 years. I distinctly remember the Pair because I am a bass player... i didn't realize you could get so much music out of a bass!    

Saturday, November 12, 2011 12:18:00 PM

The Pair Extraordinaire played a concert at Glendale High School in California in the mid-60s. I LOVED them and bought their album. Over the years it has "disappeared" but I've always missed them and am so glad to have found them on the web (if anybody has my album, please return it!). So far I haven't found the songs I remember (The In Crowd, etc.), but I'm going to keep looking...    

Tuesday, December 25, 2018 11:01:00 AM

We saw them in Denver in the 60's. Great sound. They are on youtube.    

Wednesday, July 03, 2019 11:07:00 PM

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Friday, March 27, 2020 11:43:00 PM

These guys opened for Flip Wilson at the University of Texas, Austin in 1969. They were good enough that I remembered them some 50 years later when my neighbor treated our street to a "concert" of standards accompanying himself on the bass while we are all staying in because of Covid19.

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