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Bo Carter

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  • Born: Bolton, MS
  • Died: Memphis, TN
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

Bo Carter (Armenter "Bo" Chatmon) had an unequaled capacity for creating sexual metaphors in his songs, specializing in such ribald imagery as "Banana in Your Fruit Basket," "Pin in Your Cushion," and "Your Biscuits Are Big Enough for Me." One of the most popular bluesmen of the '30s, he recorded enough material for several reissue albums, and he was quite an original guitar picker, or else three of those albums wouldn't have been released by Yazoo. (Carter employed a number of different keys and tunings on his records, most of which were solo vocal and guitar performances.) Carter's facility extended beyond the risqué business to more serious blues themes, and he was also the first to record the standard "Corrine Corrina" (1928). Bo and his brothers Lonnie and Sam Chatmon also recorded as members of the Mississippi Sheiks with singer/guitarist Walter Vinson.


Armenter "Bo Carter" Chatmon (June 30, 1893 – September 21, 1964) was an American early blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts, and on a few of their recordings. Carter also managed that group, which included his brother, Lonnie Chatmon, on fiddle and occasionally Sam Chatmon on bass, along with a friend, Walter Vinson, on guitar and lead vocals.

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Since the 1960s, Carter has become best known for his bawdy songs such as "Let Me Roll Your Lemon", "Banana in Your Fruit Basket", "Pin in Your Cushion", "Your Biscuits Are Big Enough for Me", "Please Warm My Wiener" and "My Pencil Won't Write No More". However, his output was not restricted to risqué music. In 1928, he recorded the original version of "Corrine, Corrina", which later became a hit for Big Joe Turner and has become a standard in various musical genres.

Carter and his brothers (including pianist Harry Chatmon, who also made recordings), first learned music from their father, ex-slave fiddler Henderson Chatmon, at their home on a plantation between Bolton and Edwards, Mississippi. Their mother, Eliza, also sang and played guitar.

Carter made his recording debut in 1928, backing Alec Johnson. Carter soon was recording as a solo artist and became one of the dominant blues recording acts of the 1930s, recording 110 sides. He also played with and managed the family group, the Mississippi Sheiks, and several other acts in the area. He and the Sheiks often played for whites, playing the pop hits of the day and white-oriented dance material, as well as for blacks, using a bluesier repertoire.

Carter went partly blind during the 1930s. He settled in Glen Allan, Mississippi and despite his vision problems did some farming but also continued to play music and perform, sometimes with his brothers. Carter moved to Memphis, and worked outside the music industry in the 1940s.

Carter suffered strokes and died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Shelby County Hospital, Memphis, on September 21, 1964.

^ Let Me Roll Your Lemon Lyrics - Bo Carter^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 99–100. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. ^ Blueslyrics.tripod.com^ "Biography by Jim O'Neal". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 3, 2009. ^ Bo Carter (January 31, 2012). Bo Carter & the Mississippi Sheiks (Box Set). Jsp Records. 


Bo Carter's style of playing the guitar and his songwriting won him fans long after he died. One of the most notable examples was blues-rock guitarist, Rory Gallagher from Ireland, who performed several of his songs, including, "All Around Man."

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