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Country Blues => Weenie Campbell Main Forum => Topic started by: uncle bud on February 04, 2007, 02:06:00 PM

Title: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: uncle bud on February 04, 2007, 02:06:00 PM
I?ve been listening to the Mississippi Sheiks Volume 3 on Document a lot lately. This is a tremendous disc which took me forever to track down (some kind UK shop put it on eBay eventually and I snapped it up). If you only have the Yazoo Stop and Listen record, a small bit of the material will be familiar (and it is some of their strongest material IMO): He Calls That Religion, I?ve Got Blood In My Eyes for You, Shooting High Dice. A few of the other tunes have appeared on other compilations (e.g., the Catfish Records disc Show Me What You Got).

The Sheiks would have already been popular by the time the sessions covered on this CD occurred, so there is some recycling going on of sorts. They redo ?Stop and Listen Blues?, and ?Stop and Listen Blues No. 2?, as the ?New Stop and Listen Blues?, but they are really smokin? on this and it is no lazy rehashing. They also do a gritty ?New Sittin? On Top of the World?, and a fabulous, up-tempo second version of ?Don?t Wake It Up? (marred only by a 78 in less than great condition). It seems to me that Walter Vinson is really loose and relaxed, playing hard on a lot of these and the interplay between him and Lonnie Chatmon on fiddle is wonderful. Sound on the disc is not great in places, though there are many Documents out there with poorer quality records, and the power of the material really overcomes the sound issues. 

My point (finally getting to it) has to do with something in the liner notes, which I don?t believe I?ve seen discussed before. For the Sheiks? sessions in San Antonio on 26-27 March, 1934, which is covered partly by the last five tracks on this disc, Chris Smith writes that according to Blues and Gospel Records, Bo Carter is said to be ?the vocalist and guitarist for the Sheiks on these dates, with Sam Chatmon on second guitar, and Lonnie on violin as usual.?

He goes on to write ?The discographers add that ?Walter Vincson (sic) might be present on one of the sessions.? As may be heard on DOCD-5086, Vinson was definitely present at both sessions, but it appears that he was absent for the titles on this CD: the guitar picking (and there seems to be only one on the 26th March session) is characteristic of Bo Carter, although he transposes down, perhaps in an attempt to sound like Vinson. After much listening I conclude that Bo is the singer as well, again pitching lower than usual in an attempt to sound like Vinson.?

?Why Bo Carter had to stand in, we shall probably never know; perhaps Walter had over-indulged the night before, and the teetotal Bo was used in a crisis.?


The last five tracks on Document Vol 3 from the 26 March session are as follows: ?Hitting the Numbers?, ?It?s Done Got Wet?, ?Pencil Won?t Write No More?, ?I Am the Devil? and ?Baby, Please Make a Change.? These are really strong songs with some great playing and singing, but I just don?t believe this is Bo Carter. The guitar playing occasionally dips into Bo territory, like those characteristic D figures up the neck, heard here in ?I Am the Devil.? But surely this is something Walter might just have tossed in there, since it occurs a number of times in Sheiks? accompaniments. The guitar playing overall sounds way more characteristic of Vinson than Carter (or at least like ?generic? Sheiks), including the many ? probably flatpicked ? bass patterns. The singing sounds very much like Vinson as well to my ear, a little higher and reedier than usual. To say it is Bo is to say that Bo is actually doing a full-on Walter Vinson impersonation. I just don?t buy that. Bo himself was popular at the time and I can?t see him disguising his personality and voice in sessions where he was also recording solo and duet material himself (see Bo Carter Volume 2) and sounding very much like Bo. Even ?Pencil Won?t Write No More? is not Bo?s version and is a different song.

There is, however, a slightly different quality to Vinson?s voice here, and I think what makes him sound a bit different is that everything is pitched higher. Whether the Sheiks were just tuned higher or whether the recording speed is off a bit, there is a different sound. I suspect the former: the guitar sounds more taut and punchy, as tuning up a half-step would do.

If you look at Frankie?s handy-dandy Mississippi Sheiks? Keys table here http://www.donegone.net/?page_id=28,  you will notice that every song recorded on 26-27 March ? which means the last 5 tracks on Volume 3 and the first 9 tracks on Volume 4 -- is pitched a half-step higher than concert pitch. If you look at the previous sessions on Volumes 1, 2 and 3, and positions and pitches for the Sheiks' material, you?ll see they are frequently pitched at concert or lower by a half or even whole step.

I think playing in a higher register (or recordings that were not made at the correct speed) accounts for the slight difference in Vinson?s overall sound, but it?s still Vinson. I?m not trying to slag the authors and really do respect their expertise, but I think in this case they?re just wrong. Am I nuts?


Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: mississippijohnhurt1928 on February 04, 2007, 06:42:04 PM
Nope, It Sounds Reasonable To Me, I purchased an original Harry The Hipster Record and his voiced sounded something like Alvin and The Chipmunks so I placed my copy of the Emancipation Proclomation under the turn table and his voice was normal again.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: banjochris on February 04, 2007, 10:59:06 PM
I agree too. It's definitely Walter. Plus those high D figures up the neck in "I Am the Devil" are accented just a little bit differently (less staccato, to my ears) than Bo would have played them. I also don't buy that Sam is on any of those records until the stuff at the end of Vol. 4.
Chris
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Stumblin on July 05, 2010, 08:50:50 AM
Searching Weenie for Sheiks info. This thread seems closest to what I'm after, so here goes:
Is there a comprehensive listing of the personnel for each recorded Sheiks number?
I only have the Yazoo Stop and Listen compilation, so personnel details for that album would be a nice start.
It's just that I'm unsure what role, if any, Sam plays on these songs.
On a related note, whilst I know he didn't record with them, did Charlie Patton play with the Sheiks - or is that basically anyone's guess? I've always assumed that he would have done, given their fraternal relationships, and I can't help trying to imagine what a wonderful sound that would have been had they left us a "team-up" recording.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Johnm on July 05, 2010, 09:49:15 AM
Hi Stumblin',
I don't think Patton's familial relationship to the Chatmons via their father, Henderson Chatmon, is established as factual.  It was a surmise of Sam's, but has not been determined as a certainty.  I don't know of any anecdotal evidence that he and the Sheiks ever played together.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: CF on July 05, 2010, 09:56:42 AM
Stumblin', I asked a similar question a while back. You can access the thread here

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4570.0 (http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=128&topic=4570.0)
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Stumblin on July 06, 2010, 04:11:40 AM
Thanks.
A surmise? I've been operating under the impression that the Chatmons and Charlie Patton were related via a shared parent. Maybe Sam made the half-brother claim to enhance his post-rediscovery credentials? Who knows...
Pity really, their supposed relatedness added something to their stories for me. Still, I don't suppose this will undermine their musical legacies in any way.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: CF on July 06, 2010, 07:40:41 AM
Check out this promo for the Sheiks Stumblin'. I've said this elsewhere as well but that pic of Bo at the bottom . . . looks like a likely candidate for a Patton relation to me!
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: hortig78rpm on July 07, 2010, 11:18:30 PM
nice pics on the flyer. wonder who are the ones on the top. should be walter vonson ( left) and lonnie chatmon ( right).
any other ideas?

regards
mike
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: banjochris on July 07, 2010, 11:24:53 PM
nice pics on the flyer. wonder who are the ones on the top. should be walter vonson ( left) and lonnie chatmon ( right).

You've got it (Vinson or Vincson or Vincent tho not Vonson). It looks like the other pic of them standing with Bo; they've just had their hair done.
Chris
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Stumblin on April 15, 2011, 03:17:45 PM
Check out this promo for the Sheiks Stumblin'. I've said this elsewhere as well but that pic of Bo at the bottom . . . looks like a likely candidate for a Patton relation to me!
I've kept returning to this to have a look. Those ears.
Also, I was just looking for that Sheiks personnel list again, so I thought I'd bump this thread and, by extension, that one. Phew.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: JohnLeePimp on April 15, 2011, 03:55:32 PM
Having watched too many films and drank too much grape juice my eyes are out of focus so I physically can't read what this post is about, so I'll just apologise for being offtopic and go ahead and ask...

What happened to Bo Carter during the revival? According to the Documents available he recorded up to 1940 (where he sounded in pretty good shape) but there's more than one picture of him as a fairly old man with a fukin guitar in hand, but seemingly no recordings... what the hell? could he not play anymore... did they guys drive up to his house and in their enthusiasm forgot to bring sound recording equipment, or was he photographed by family members?
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: LD50 on April 15, 2011, 04:06:30 PM
Having watched too many films and drank too much grape juice my eyes are out of focus so I physically can't read what this post is about, so I'll just apologise for being offtopic and go ahead and ask...

What happened to Bo Carter during the revival? According to the Documents available he recorded up to 1940 (where he sounded in pretty good shape) but there's more than one picture of him as a fairly old man with a fukin guitar in hand, but seemingly no recordings... what the hell? could he not play anymore... did they guys drive up to his house and in their enthusiasm forgot to bring sound recording equipment, or was he photographed by family members?

I think Paul Oliver interviewed him in the 1960s. I gather he was blind and in bad health.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: banjochris on April 15, 2011, 08:04:03 PM
He's pretty prominently featured in Oliver's "Conversation with the Blues." LD50 is right about him being blind and in poor health, he died in 1964 -- I think he was interviewed around 1960 or so. I've read that his guitar was in pretty bad shape as well. He died after a series of strokes, so perhaps his playing was impaired by that. It's definitely too bad, but somehow I can't see Bo's style of music making a big hit with the folk revival in the 1960s -- too uptown and dirty, though no doubt if he had been in good health he could have brought out some of his more old-timey material.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: TallahatchieTrot on April 15, 2011, 08:21:04 PM
I have the two 78s made by the Sheiks onTuesday March 27 and it is definitely Walter singing on "Pop Skull Blues" and "Lonesome Grave, etc". I do not hear anything but Walter on his tri cone National and Lonnie on fiddle and it is one of the best of all Sheiks sides.  It is pitched at the E position so I think he is capoed at the second fret and playing out of the D position.  It is Bluebird 5432. On 5433.  Bo Carter is added to "Sweet Maggie" and Sales Tax" and the label says Mississippi Sheiks with Bo Carter. 
Sweet Maggie is a remake of Corine Corina and Sales Tax is about the new sales tax that Mississippi had just passed. The voice of the white man is Polk Brockman of Atlanta and formerly their Okeh recording director who went to work for Bluebird in 1934 and carried the Sheiks and some Alanta hillbilly artists--Gid Tanner., etc with him to San Antonio to record.\
    Walter Vincson told me in 1965 that only him and Lonnie were the original Sheiks. He said Sam was NEVER an original Sheik, nor was BO. I do not have any of the March 26 sides.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: frankie on April 15, 2011, 08:31:55 PM
I have the two 78s made by the Sheiks onTuesday March 27 and it is definitely Walter singing on "Pop Skull Blues" and "Lonesome Grave, etc". I do not hear anything but Walter on his tri cone National and Lonnie on fiddle and it is one of the best of all Sheiks sides.  It is pitched at the E position so I think he is capoed at the second fret and playing out of the D position.

Totally agreed on who's singing and the position for Pop Skull, but the fiddle is also in D, so either they're tuned sharp, or the playback is a little fast (or both) - ain't no capo on the fiddle, that's for sure, and in general, the Sheiks appear to have ALWAYS played the guitar and fiddle in the same key (no retuning or capos for the main guitar, except for stuff like dropped-D or Bo's G-tuning).

She's Gone To Her Lonesome Grave is 100% pure E-flat, though - guitar and fiddle.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: frankie on April 15, 2011, 08:34:21 PM
no doubt if he had been in good health he could have brought out some of his more old-timey material.

There was probably a lot of old-time stuff floating around in his brain... probably a lot more than he recorded in his commercial recording career...  pity we'll never know.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: uncle bud on April 15, 2011, 09:03:33 PM
Not gonna check right now, but I do recall talk around here of Oliver having made some recordings of Bo when he interviewed him and that the results were sad. Though I would still be very curious. Did Oliver play them for some of our British friends? Mind is a blank. Those photographs were taken by Oliver as well.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Bunker Hill on April 15, 2011, 10:38:16 PM
I think Paul Oliver interviewed him in the 1960s. I gather he was blind and in bad health.
Yes on both counts. There's that iconic photo in both editions of Conversation (1965 & 1997) that Paul took of Carter seated holding a National supported upright on his left leg. The caption reads:

I Used To Play For Doctors. Once a medicine show guitarist, Bo Cater is now sick and blind, scarcely able to play his old National steel guitar.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Bunker Hill on April 15, 2011, 10:59:39 PM
Silly me, this has been a topic of discussion previously and said photo can be viewed here.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4444.0

That'll teach me to rush into print before checking out the TAGs.  :(
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: JohnLeePimp on April 16, 2011, 06:48:29 AM
Silly me, this has been a topic of discussion previously and said photo can be viewed here.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4444.0

That'll teach me to rush into print before checking out the TAGs.  :(

Anytime I try tags/links/search functions I get " You are not authorized to view this resource.
You need to login. "

...don't you hate it when computers are prejudiced against you
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Stumblin on April 16, 2011, 08:26:35 AM
...don't you hate it when computers are prejudiced against you
I know this feeling only too well.
Some sort of support/activist network might grow out of this. This is only the beginning.
Brothers and sisters, let us take no more of this kind of crap from inanimate matter that we bought and f*cking well paid for. The sodding computer is not and never will be the boss of me.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: uncle bud on April 16, 2011, 09:06:39 AM
Silly me, this has been a topic of discussion previously and said photo can be viewed here.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4444.0

That'll teach me to rush into print before checking out the TAGs.  :(

Anytime I try tags/links/search functions I get " You are not authorized to view this resource.
You need to login. "

...don't you hate it when computers are prejudiced against you

JohnLee, does this happen when you are in fact logged into Weenie? I've seen this message but only when I'm not logged in. And I can Search when not logged in, just the tags that I can't view unless logged in. If you get a moment to check, we might be able to investigate further.

Stumblin', good luck with that.  :P
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: TallahatchieTrot on April 16, 2011, 10:08:22 PM
I pull3ed out my copy of Sales Tax/Sweet Maggie on Bluebird and on Sales Tax it is BO singing solo 
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Stumblin on April 17, 2011, 07:47:46 AM
I pull3ed out my copy of Sales Tax/Sweet Maggie on Bluebird and on Sales Tax it is BO singing solo 
That's also what it says in Godrich & Dixon. (Revised ed. 1969; p.504)
Perhaps Walter was in the studio with them, as he is clearly implicated in the opening spoken satirical sketch at the beginning of Sales Tax. I'd always assumed from the introduction that it was Walter singing. I'll have to give it another listen.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: uncle bud on April 17, 2011, 08:35:52 AM
Bo singing lead, but Walter singing harmony in the chorus, plus there's two guitars.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: frankie on April 17, 2011, 08:40:51 AM
Bo singing lead, but Walter singing harmony in the chorus, plus there's two guitars.

Agreed.  Not to mention that Walter figures prominently in the elaborate theatrical interlude.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Slack on April 18, 2011, 05:17:32 PM
Silly me, this has been a topic of discussion previously and said photo can be viewed here.

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?amp;Itemid=60&topic=4444.0

That'll teach me to rush into print before checking out the TAGs.  :(

Anytime I try tags/links/search functions I get " You are not authorized to view this resource.
You need to login. "

...don't you hate it when computers are prejudiced against you

JohnLee, try logging out and then log back in.  If you have a problem still, send me a PM.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: blueshome on April 18, 2011, 10:32:38 PM
Re the Bo recordings by Paul Oliver from 1960. These have never been released because of their poor quality, Bo is in very poor shape and they do him no favours. We got a chance to hear some back in EBA Bluesweek in 2000 or 2001. They were recognisably Bo in both singing and playing, but were very sad in showing the decline of this great performer. Paul was 100% right to hold them back. I presume they will now be in the EBA archive at Gloucester University.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Shovel on April 19, 2011, 09:08:12 AM
while we've got some m.sheiks experts in the room

what is the personnell for 'Lonely One In This Town", b-side of Sitting On Top Of the World Okeh 8784?  (if memory recalls, i think it lists carter as a writer? could be wrong about that)
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: dj on April 19, 2011, 10:34:18 AM
Bob MacLeod's composer list has the writer credit on the label as:  (Jacobs - Carter).
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: frankie on April 19, 2011, 03:07:23 PM
while we've got some m.sheiks experts in the room

what is the personnell for 'Lonely One In This Town", b-side of Sitting On Top Of the World Okeh 8784?  (if memory recalls, i think it lists carter as a writer? could be wrong about that)

going by ear, it's Lonnie fiddling with Walter playing guitar and singing.  I remember reading that some thought there might be a second fiddler on that, but I don't hear that at all...  just a single fiddle.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: Shovel on April 19, 2011, 07:37:24 PM
while we've got some m.sheiks experts in the room

what is the personnell for 'Lonely One In This Town", b-side of Sitting On Top Of the World Okeh 8784?  (if memory recalls, i think it lists carter as a writer? could be wrong about that)

going by ear, it's Lonnie fiddling with Walter playing guitar and singing.  I remember reading that some thought there might be a second fiddler on that, but I don't hear that at all...  just a single fiddle.

thanks man.  yeah only i hear one fiddle too, never suspected otherwise.
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: minuszero on May 03, 2011, 05:22:06 PM
I've recently listened through the 3 Document Vols, the highlight was hearing original versions of songs covered by Bob Dylan on his 1993 album World Gone Wrong
World Gone Wrong (Mississippi Sheiks - The World Is Going Wrong)
Blood in My Eyes (Mississippi Sheiks - I've Got Blood in My Eyes for You)
Title: Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
Post by: frankie on May 03, 2011, 05:49:03 PM
the 3 Document Vols

There's one more volume on Document - the last bunch of songs on vol. 4 is Sam and Lonnie, including their take on "Make Me A Pallet On the Floor" - they call it "If You Don't Want Me Please Don't Dog Me 'round."

Then there's more stuff with Walter - "Pop Skull Blues" - everything you need to know about whiskey and blues in D.  "Sales Tax" is on there, "She's Gone To Her Lonesome Grave," "It?s Backfiring Now," "Somebody?s Got To Help Me..."  much yet to hear.
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