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Old Devil by Bo Carter

Armenter Chatmon was known as Bo Carter, a member of the famous Chatmon family from Bolton, Mississippi and part of the Mississippi Sheiks.  Bo had a successful solo career and was known to be a master of the double entendre with lyrics that were often quite funny.  The fact that he was an excellent and original guitarist made him an entertaining performer, and the bawdy nature of his songs made them popular as party music.  He recorded over 100 songs during his life.  Despite the sexual content of many of his songs, this was not Bo’s nature.  According to his brother, Sam, Bo’s songs were just a way to make a living.  He went blind in the late 1920s and took up the life of a street singer.  His recording career began in 1928, when he was the first to record the popular Corrine, Corrina.  According to Honeyboy Edwards, Bo Carter actually wrote the Sheiks Sitting on Top of the World.  He quit performing in the early 1940s and lived in poverty with his wife near Beale Street in Memphis.

“Go back ol’ Devil and look upon your shelf...” That’s not exactly what I heard this morning in the motel room when Eddie woke up and stretched his arms over his head and broke a fingernail on his bed’s headboard.  We decide to record even though we are certain to miss a few notes along with the fingernail. Bolton is a small farming community only a few miles west of Jackson, Mississippi.  We drive into town on an otherwise Good Friday to record Bo Carter’s Old Devil.  The schools are closed and recent rains have left a damp pavilion behind the old school building begging us to disturb the peace.