He was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and began his singing career as a member of a church choir in his home town. He relocated to Chicago in 1960, and received a recording contract one year later at Age Records. He had a local hit with "You Better Be Sure" and, in 1963, his hit "Cut You A-Loose" reached Number 20 in Billboard's R&Bchart. Some of his recordings of the 1960s, such as "It's A Mess I Tell You" and "I Can't Stand No Signifying", portended the emerging soul-blues style of the 1970s. After his retirement from the music industry in the early 1970s, he ran a laundry and a limousine service.