BO CARTER & THE MISSISSIPPI SHEIKS
1928 - 1940 (4CD)
100 cuts by Bo Carter, The Mississippi Sheiks, The Jackson Blue Boys, Mississippi Mud Steppers, Walter Vincent, Charlie McCoy, Mississppi Blacksnakes, Texas Alexander, Charlie McCoy & Bo Carter, The Chatman Brothers.
The Chatman Brothers - Lonnie, Sam, Bo and Harry with Walter Vinson and Charlie McCoy were a musical force to be reckoned with down around Bolton, Mississippi in the early 1930s performing and recording in various line-ups of hot string bands that included The Jackson Blue Boys, Chatman's Foot Stompers, The Mississippi Mud Steppers and The Chatman Brothers. Most ferociously prolific of all were The Mississippi Sheiks who loped around country juke joints, white dances, barbeques and roadhouses blasting out their reels, rags, hard blues and hokum numbers.
Every now and then some assortment of Chatman musicians would enter the studio and out would come a hot number that would reverberate around the south - songs like Sittin' On Top Of The World, She's Crazy About Her Loving, Sales Tax, Bootleggers Blues, Stop And Listen Blues and other powerful stuff like the two tracks Bob Dylan took up on ‘World Gone Wrong' sixty-odd years later, I Got Blood In My Eyes For You and The World Is Going Wrong.
Chatman brother Bo, known as Bo Carter, soon realised that he could earn more money without the band and decided to go solo. His recordings show that he was a considerable talent who, despite coming from an area that contained a vast store of traditional blues styles, wrote tunes that were consistently more inventive and original than any of his contemporaries - his brothers included. Guitarist John Miller recognizes Bo as "one of the bona-fide geniuses of country blues. Bo was probably the most sophisticated of all country blues men from a harmonic viewpoint, playing with perfect facility in five tunings and showing consistent originality in his melodic and rhythmic concepts".
Lyrically he was a master of the double entendre. Titles like The Ins And Outs Of My Girl, Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me, Same Thing The Cats Fight About, My Pencil Won't Write No More, Banana In My Fruit Basket, Don't Mash My Digger So Deep and What Kind Of Scent Is This? mesh nicely with the harder, but no less melodic straight blues of Whiskey Blues, Shake ‘Em On Down, To Her Burying Ground and the divine I Want You To Know - one of his most beautiful compositions.
Compiler Neil Slaven has included a great sample of the prolific Bo's solo recordings along with those of The Mississippi Sheiks and his other contemporaries in the 100 tracks he's selected for this superb 4CD set. These cuts demonstrate perfectly why Bo Carter was such a popular blues artist in his day and why, eighty years since these first recordings, he's revered by blues fans the world over.
Review Date: January 2012