Bo Carter

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Bo Carter
Background information
Birth nameArmenter Chatmon[1]
or Armentia Chatmon[2]
BornMarch 21, 1893[3][4] or January 1894[2]
Bolton, Mississippi, United States
DiedSeptember 21, 1964 (aged 70-71)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Years active1928–1944

Armenter (or Armentia) Chatmon (March 21, 1893 or January 1894 – September 21, 1964), known as Bo Carter, was an early American blues musician. He was a member of the Mississippi Sheiks in concerts and on a few of their recordings. He also managed that group, which included his brothers Lonnie Chatmon on fiddle and, occasionally, Sam Chatmon on bass, and their friend Walter Vinson on guitar and lead vocals.[1][3]


Since the 1960s, Carter has become best known for his bawdy songs, such as "Let Me Roll Your Lemon",[5] "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".[1][6] However, his output was not limited to dirty blues.[1] 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.[3]

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

Carter made his recording debut in 1928, backing Alec Johnson, and was soon recording as a solo musician. He became one of the dominant blues recording acts of the 1930s, recording 110 sides.[1] He also played with and managed the family group, the Mississippi Sheiks, and several other acts in the area. He and the Sheiks often performed for whites, playing the pop hits of the day and white-oriented dance music, as well as for blacks, playing a bluesier repertoire.[7]

Carter went partly blind during the 1930s.[1] He settled in Glen Allan, Mississippi,[8] and despite his vision problems did some farming but also continued to play music and perform, sometimes with his brothers.[7] He moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and worked outside the music industry in the 1940s.

Carter had strokes and died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Shelby County Hospital, in Memphis, on September 21, 1964. He is buried in Nitta Yuma Cemetery, Sharkey County, Mississippi.[9]


  • Greatest Hits 1930-1940 (Yazoo, 1969)
  • Twist It Babe 1931-1940 (Yazoo, 1973)
  • Banana In Your Fruit Basket (Yazoo, 1980)
  • The Best of Bo Carter Vol. 1 1928-1940 (Earl Archives, 1982)
  • Bo Carter 1931-1940 (Old Tramp, 1987)
  • Bo Carter 1928-1938 (Document, 1988)
  • The Rarest Bo Carter Vol. 2 1930-1938 (Earl Archives, 1989)
  • Bo Carter Vol. 1-5 (Document, 1991)
  • Bo Carter's Advice (Catfish, 2000)
  • The Essential Bo Carter (Document, 2003)
  • The Country Farm Blues (P-Vine, 2011)
  • Bo Carter & The Mississippi Sheiks (JSP, 2012)

Selected songs[edit]


Carter's style of playing the guitar and his songwriting have won him fans[who?] long after he died. One of the most notable examples is the Irish blues rock guitarist Rory Gallagher, who performed several of Carter's songs, including "All Around Man."[10][11]

Carter was not related to former Southwest and Big 12 Conference assistant commissioner Sam T. (Bo) Carter.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 99–100. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  2. ^ a b Eagle, Bob L.; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. ABC-CLIO. p. 214. ISBN 9780313344244.
  3. ^ a b c "Biography by Jim O'Neal". Allmusic. Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  4. ^ Johnson, Greg. "Bo Carter (Armenter Chatmon)". Retrieved November 11, 2022.
  5. ^ "Let Me Roll Your Lemon Lyrics – Bo Carter". Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  6. ^ "Harry's Blues Lyrics Online, Bo Carter Lyrics, page 1". Archived from the original on 2015-09-07. Retrieved 2015-08-30.
  7. ^ a b Giles Oakley (1997). The Devil's Music. Da Capo Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-306-80743-5.
  8. ^ Bo Carter & the Mississippi Sheiks (box set). JSP Records. January 31, 2012.
  9. ^ "Resting Places". Retrieved March 1, 2021.
  10. ^ "Banana in Your Fruit Basket - Bo Carter | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  11. ^ "Against the Grain - Rory Gallagher | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved December 30, 2019.

External links[edit]