C&C Boys

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The C&C Boys teamed vocalists Clarence Carter and Calvin Scott, and though little known during the lifespan of their collaboration, both went on to exemplify the gritty, earthy sound of Southern deep…
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The C&C Boys teamed vocalists Clarence Carter and Calvin Scott, and though little known during the lifespan of their collaboration, both went on to exemplify the gritty, earthy sound of Southern deep soul. Carter and Scott met in 1960 while attending Alabama State University. Both were blind since birth and excellent musicians as well as singers, with Carter even studying to transcribe charts and arrangements in Braille. At first the duo performed as simply Clarence & Calvin, signing to the Fairlane label in 1961 to issue their debut effort, "I Wanna Dance But I Don't Know How"; after the 1962 release of "I Don't Know (School Girl)," they left Fairlane for the Duke imprint, renaming themselves the C&C Boys for their label debut, "Hey Marvin." In all the duo cut four Duke singles, none of them generating more than a shrug at radio. Finally, in 1965 they traveled to Rick Hall's Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals, AL, paying 85 dollars to record the wrenching ballad "Step by Step" and its flip side, "Rooster Knees and Rice." Atlanta radio personality Zenas Sears recommended Clarence and Calvin to Atlantic producer Jerry Wexler, and the label issued "Step by Step" on its Atco subsidiary. The record failed to chart, and the duo was once again looking for a label. Backed by a four-piece combo dubbed the Mello Men, Clarence and Calvin spent the first half of 1966 headlining Birmingham's 2728 Club. One Friday night in June while returning home from the nightspot, the group suffered an auto accident that left Scott critically injured, initiating an ugly falling-out with Carter over the resulting medical bill. In the meantime Carter continued as a solo act, signing to Hall's Fame label for 1967's "Tell Daddy," which inspired Etta James' response record "Tell Mama." He enjoyed his greatest success at Atlantic, however, scoring the crossover hits "Slip Away" and "Patches." After recovering from his injuries, Scott formed a new group and also recorded for Atlantic before signing to Stax in 1971, releasing I'm Not Blind, I Just Can't See to positive reviews and poor retail reception. He eventually quit music altogether to work a government job, while Carter continued touring into the 21st century on the strength of such lascivious novelty hits as "Sixty Minute Man" and "Strokin'."