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"Go Back Old Devil": A Serious History of Bo Carter and the Sheiks

AnAnchor Blues Biography:  The Chatmon Family

By T. DeWayne Moore

It is difficult to exaggerate the historical significance of Armenter (Bo Carter) Chatmon in regards to the Mississippi blues. He was a blues singer and a guitarist most often, but sometimes he picked up the banjo, the string-bass, the clarinet, and the mandolin. While his brothers initially limited him to playing bass viol, or the “bull fiddle” in the family band, he eventually developed into a master musician and clever songwriter who logged an almost unprecedented amount of studio time. From 1928 to 1940, no blues artist from Mississippi made more pre-World War II records than Bo Carter.

He also served as one of the best talent scouts that the record labels could have ever hoped.  Although completely ignored by the authors of A&R Pioneers (Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 2018) and having suffered from the construction of a negative and ongoing bias against him that has languished in print for over forty years, Itta Bena tale…

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