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Bo Carter Vol. 2 (1931 - 1934)

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Album Review

22 songs (with three still missing) cut by Carter, solo with guitar or with Lonnie Chatmon on fiddle, over a three-year period. Document has had unusual luck with the quality on this release, as there's relatively little surface noise on much of it. This helps bring out the richness, dexterity, and playfulness of Carter's playing, as well as the expressiveness of his voice in extraordinary detail. Perhaps the most surprising element of these sides are the two unissued Okeh tracks from 1931, "The Law Is Gonna Step On You" and "Pig Meat Is What I Crave," which are the equal of anything that the label did put out from those same sessions, and show Carter's playing to great advantage and in extraordinarily high-quality sound. His music was probably closest in spirit to the early work of Tampa Red and Georgia Tom Dorsey, with its mixture of double-entendre lyrics and hokum influences. The three-year gap in Carter's recordings, caused by the crunch that hit the blues business with the Great Depression, show him re-emerging at the end (for Bluebird) with a more sophisticated sound, less stripped-down than his early sides but just as playful in its risqué way ("Banana In Your Fruit Basket," etc.).


Born: 21 March 1893 in Bolton, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s

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...
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