E.C. Scott brings blues style to Sunset Concert Thursday

By Gus Bode

Ray Charles, Patti La Belle, John Lee Hooker, Junior Walker and Lou Rawls – if E.C. Scott were to drop the names of all the people she has worked with, you couldn’t help but be in total awe.

This California talent has worked with the best acts in the blues industry and garnered the respect of her peers and blues fans all over the world. She has won awards and admiration for her three previous albums (“Come Get Your Love,” “Hard Act to Follow” and “Masterpiece”) and is on the road now promoting her latest independent effort, “The Other Side of Me.”

Scott will play July 15 on the steps of Shryock Auditorium at 7 p.m. with her four-piece band, Smoke, for what she calls a “high-energy” concert.


Scott’s deep and sultry voice is soothing like a warm bath, but she has the ability to turn up the temperature and make somebody jump right out of the tub. She is a fierce vocal force unmatched by most entertainers in her profession because she is a throwback to the early female blues singers famous before the mid-century mark.

Scott also looks the part of the classic blues singer, creating an awesome aura due to her vintage dresses and occasional feather boa. She controls the stage with the same presence of her male counterparts, but demands more respect because of her diva-caliber performances.

However, Scott did not always appreciate the blues and the lifestyle associated with the music. When the songstress was growing up in the Bay area of California, she was not allowed to listen to what her mother called “worldly music.” Scott was afraid she would become blind or crippled if she disobeyed.

Instead, Scott listened to gospel and sang in the choir at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland. She was inspired by touring gospel artists, such as Shirley Caesar and Albertina Walker, who she saw perform in her hometown.

The spiritual music inspired her to be a singer, but it would take a very unheavenly sort of music to make her understand that she could make a living using her voice.

On her way back home from church, a 16-year-old Scott was searching desperately for a restroom. She entered a bar called Lancer’s against her best judgment and was asked to sing by the in-house pianist, Slim Slaughter. The high-schooler sang “Moon River” for the bar, and the patrons were amazed.

Slaughter, a veteran keyboardist from the ’40s and ’50s, took the young woman under his wing and mentored her early in her career. Even while still in school, she made good money singing in bars. Scott asked Slaughter to be in her band full-time, but he advised her to start a group with people her own age.


She took Slaughter’s advice and eventually made a big name for herself around the Oakland and San Francisco areas. At the brink of her success, she thought it was more important to settle down and start a family of her own.

A decade later, the songbird still had the same desire to sing as the first time she saw the traveling gospel singers in her town. With the support of her family, she decided to go back to her first love – performing.

After she made the commitment to her passion, Scott made another step in the evolution of her career.

Joe Louis Walker, a fabulous guitar player and friend of Scott, told the musician she should start writing her own music instead of singing other people’s songs. Scott took his advice and began writing in the early ’90s.

Shortly afterward, she was signed to Blind Pig Records, where she released her first three albums. Her songwriting has gone through stages of evolution, but her gospel roots sometime show through her lyrics.

In “He Ate the Apple,” a single from her new album, Scott denounces the Christian male-dominated concept that women are the source of all the evil in the world. In her tune she boasts:”Let’s give credit where credit is due/He ate the apple cause she asked him to/Let’s give credit where credit is due/What kind of fool does anything you ask him to?”

Just as male blues performers concentrate on women, Scott’s music deals a great deal with the opposite sex and the trials and tribulations of tumultuous relationships. Some of her song titles include:”Make a Man Kit,” “Missionary Man,” “Men Gossip, Too,” “I Need a Real Man” and “Take the Garbage Out.”

This no-nonsense woman and self-proclaimed “man basher” does everything in good fun, although she represents women and their pain and suffering.

“I’ve been listening to ‘woman bashing’ for years,” Scott said. “I sing the same things men sing about, but I sing from a woman’s perspective. If you’re a good man, then you’ll enjoy it, too.”

For more information, check out her Web site, (www.ecscott.com).