E. C. Scott Went From Gospel To Blues Stardom
Jerry Wexler is the Atlantic co-founder who produced Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and Ray Charles. When he calls Blues and R & B vocalist E. C. Scott “one honest-to-God Soul singer,” maybe we should pay attention.
E. C. Scott spent a lot of her time singing at St. John Missionary Baptist Church while growing up in Oakland, California. Her mother, like the mothers of so many Blues stars, did not want E. C. listening to secular music, but the draw was strong and E. C. couldn’t resist her older sister’s radio.
E. C. says “I was introduced to the hip stuff. I always wanted to do that, but it was so taboo. I felt I’d go blind or I’d be crippled the next day if I sang blues. I shied away from that for many, many years.”
Fortunately for all of us, by age 16 she overcame her fears and gave into her love of people like Gladys Knight, Dinah Washington, Bobby Bland, and Clarence Carter. She began singing Jazz in area night clubs, gained fans and rose to the top of the local scene.
E. C. Scott’s singing career ran afoul of the tides of life and she married, had children and settled down to raise them. Then when they were 8 and 10 she decided they were old enough and she could resume her dreams. “I just sat them down and told them, ‘Look, this is something I was doing before you met me and I’d like to start singing again.’ They thought it was a great idea and told me to go for it. They’ve been behind me all the way. They’ve been a great help.”
She started a band called Smoke and soon became the top band at San Francisco’s number one Blues Club, Slim’s. Many artists took notice of them and Lou Rawls, Ray Charles, Patti La Belle, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, and John Lee Hooker were among the artists she shared the stage with.
E. C. Scott first recorded in 1991 and quickly became known nationwide. Blues festival gigs followed, plus continued club work and she has become in demand around the World. Scott has won many accolades including a W.C. Handy nomination for Soul/Blues Female Artist of the Year in 1999.
Her vocals are smooth yet powerful, her back-up musicians are always the best and she and the band drive hard without ever being abrasive. Plus her style is a unique breath of fresh air you really ought to hear.
By the way, I haven’t been able to find out what E. C. stands for.
Tune in to The Nine O’clock Blues this week for some music from E. C. Scott, plus Memphis Minnie, Etta James and Lurie Bell.