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Clarence & Calvin - Rooster Knees & Rice (1965)

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Published on Feb 24, 2012

Rooster Knees & Rice by the duo Clarence & Calvin (1965) for ATCO Records.
The duo of Clarence & Calvin teamed vocalists Clarence Carter and Calvin Scott. 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. After signing to the Fairlane label in 1961, Clarence & Calvin issued "I Wanna Dance But I Don't Know How". After the release of "I Don't Know (School Girl)" the following year, they left Fairlane for the Duke imprint and renamed themselves the C&C Boys for their label debut, "Hey Marvin." In all the duo cut four Duke singles, though none of them generated more than a shrug from radio stations. In 1965 they traveled to Rick Hall's Fame Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama and paid $85 to record the wrenching ballad "Step by Step" and its flip-side, "Rooster Knees and Rice." Atlanta radio personality Zenas Sears recommended Clarence & 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 once again looked for a label. Backed by a four-piece combo dubbed the Mello Men, Clarence & 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 critically injuredScott and initiated an ugly falling-out between he and Carter over the resulting medical bill. Carter continued as a solo act and signed 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 he signed to Stax in 1971. He released 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'."

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