b. Sam McCollum, 17 April 1926, Friar’s Point, Mississippi, USA. As a child, Carr sometimes attended performances given by his father, blues singer Robert Nighthawk. On occasion, he would dance with the band when aged about nine. Carr became a bass player in his father’s band when in his early teens, then a guitarist with Frank Frost, whom he had known since early childhood. The harmonica player in this band, which was formed in St. Louis, Missouri, in the early 50s, was Willie Foster. Carr switched to drums, on which instrument he settled, and the band played with many noted bluesmen over the years. They were with Sonny Boy ‘Rice Miller’ Williamson during the mid- to late 50s, and they also recorded with Big Jack Johnson in 1962/3.
Going under the name of Frank Frost And The Nighthawks, Frost, Carr and Johnson recorded Hey, Boss Man! (1962) for Sam Phillips in Memphis, Tennessee. Their music was out of step with the change that popular music was making at that time. Nevertheless, the record was popular with juke joint customers and did the band no harm, despite the musicians being treated less than kindly by the label’s owner. The band, which they then named the Jelly Roll Kings, became noted for their powerful drive and were regularly called upon to back singers on record dates.
Based for some years in Helena, Arkansas, Carr and Frost continued to work together into the late 90s, including a 1998 session recorded at Helena’s Sonny Boy Williamson Memorial Music Hall, at which they performed largely new material. Not long after this, their enduring partnership was ended by Frost’s death in 1999.