Formed at high school in Arlington, Virginia, USA, in 1951 by Scotty Mansfield (lead), Fred Council (baritone), Gerald Bullock (bass), Pavel Bess (tenor) and Frank Newman (second tenor), this R&B vocal group’s early performances were limited to fraternity parties and school hops. For the recording of their first demo a year later, Leroy Flack (brother of Roberta Flack) had replaced Bullock on bass, with James Sheppard adding further tenor support. Through manager Lillian Claiborne they were brought to the attention of Chess Records, who subsequently released their cover version of the Ink Spots’ ‘We Three’. Afterwards they returned to the local club circuit, losing one member (Flack) in 1955, at which time Bess took over on bass. One further single emerged before they were offered a contract with Peacock Records in Houston, Texas. However, the Clefs declined, opting to pursue their fortunes with the more musically sympathetic Vee Jay Records. However, 1955’s ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ failed to provide any degree of success. Their name was then changed to Scotty Mann And The Masters, but ‘Just A Little Bit Of Loving’ also failed to work the miracle for them, in light of which they returned solely to live performances and, finally, more secure day jobs. This turn of events had become inevitable when Vee Jay failed to release them from contract, despite not wishing to release any new material by the band in either incarnation.
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