Bo Carter

Bo Carter: The Essential

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Bo Carter was born Armenter Chatmon and with brothers Lonnie and Sam Chatmon formed the much-revered blues jug band the Mississippi Sheiks. A multi-instrumentalist (he played guitar, fiddle, and bass viol), Carter recorded several solo 78s in addition to his work with the Sheiks and is remembered as a master of the sexual double entendre, where even "Cigarette Blues" (included here) ends up having not much at all to do with smoking. He could play it straight, as well, and this two-disc collection includes several classics that don't fall into the hokum category, including the first recorded version of "Corrine Corrina," which features Carter's fiddle, and the sly, satirical "Sales Tax." The ancient "Old Devil Blues" and the fiddle-driven "Back to Mississippi" are also here. Although born in the Delta (he was a half brother to the legendary Charley Patton), Carter's guitar playing showed little of the local "Big Road Blues" style of Patton, Son House, and others, but featured intricate proto-ragtime fingerpicking. As versatile and charming as Bo Carter is, three-dozen tracks by him is probably more than most people need.

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