Bo Carter

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Bo Carter
Bo Carter musician.jpg
Background information
Birth name Armenter Chatmon[1]
Born (1893-06-30)June 30, 1893
Bolton, Mississippi, United States
Died September 21, 1964(1964-09-21) (aged 71)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Genres Delta blues
Country blues
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1931–1944
Associated acts Mississippi Sheiks
Sam Chatmon
Charley Patton

Armenter Chatmon (June 30, 1893 – September 21, 1964),[2] 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 brother Lonnie Chatmon on fiddle and occasionally Sam Chatmon on bass, along with a friend, Walter Vinson, on guitar and lead vocals.[1][2]


Since the 1960s, Carter has become best known for his bawdy songs, such as "Let Me Roll Your Lemon",[3] "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][4] 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.[2]

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 was 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 material, as well as for blacks, playing a bluesier repertoire.[citation needed]

Carter went partly blind during the 1930s.[1] He settled in Glen Allan, Mississippi,[5] and despite his vision problems did some farming but also continued to play music and perform, sometimes with his brothers. He moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and worked outside the music industry in the 1940s. He is not related to former Southwest Conference and Big 12 Conference assistant commissioner Sam T. (Bo) Carter.

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

Selected discography[edit]


Carter's style of playing the guitar and his songwriting have won him fans 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."


  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 c "Biography by Jim O'Neal". Retrieved June 3, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Let Me Roll Your Lemon Lyrics – Bo Carter". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  4. ^ "Harry's Blues Lyrics Online, Bo Carter Lyrics, page 1". Retrieved 2015-08-30. 
  5. ^ Bo Carter & the Mississippi Sheiks (box set). JSP Records. January 31, 2012. 

External links[edit]