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Now folks, buy this record. It's worth the money - Uncle Dave Macon, "The Gal That Got Stuck On Everything She Said"

Author Topic: The Unmarked Grave of Armenter (Armetia) Chatmon, aka Bo Carter in Nitta Yuma  (Read 2573 times)

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Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Hello, my name is DeWayne Moore, and I'm a PhD candidate in History and coimetromaniac based out of Oxford, Mississippi, as well as the executive director of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund (MZMF), a Mississippi non-profit corporation named after Mount Zion Missionary Baptist (MB) Church (f. 1909) outside Morgan City, Mississippi.  Organized in 1989 by Raymond ?Skip? Henderson, the Fund memorialized the contributions of numerous musicians interred in rural cemeteries without grave markers, serving as a legal conduit to provide financial support to black church communities and cemeteries in the Mississippi Delta. The MZMF erected twelve memorials to blues musicians over a 12 year period from 1990 to 2001. http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/p/musician-memorials.html

I have spearheaded the renewed efforts of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund since 2010.  I'm the guy who managed to get the relatives of Tommy Johnson and other interments in Warm Springs CME Church Cemetery a permanent fifteen foot wide and half-a-mile long easement to Warm Springs Cemetery.  We also located the military markers of Henry "Son" Simms and Jackie Brenston.  The MZMF has dedicated five new memorials--the headstone of Frank Stokes in the abandoned Hollywood Cemetery, Memphis, TN; the flat companion stone of Ernest "Lil' Son Joe" Lawlars in Walls, MS; and in Greenville, MS, the flat markers of T-Model Ford and Eddie Cusic, and the unique, yet humble, headstone of Mamie "Galore" Davis.  In addition, the MZMF monitors legal actions involving cemeteries and provides technical assistance to cemetery corporations and community preservationists in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Carolina, such as the Friends of Hollywood/Mt. Carmel Cemeteries, which assists in restoring these two massive and abandoned African American cemeteries in Memphis "back to a beautiful place of rest for all" interments, including Frank Stokes and Furry Lewis.

We also replaced the worn out and busted marker of Sam Chatmon in late 2015. http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/p/sam-chatmon.html

During that project, I became concerned that all sorts of folks wanted to contribute to Sam's 2nd marker, while his brother was buried in an abandoned cemetery with no marker right down the road.  Since it is located on private land, I made sure to win the affections of the landowners and include them in the process early on so we did not have another Warm Springs Cemetery ordeal.  I'm trying to raise the requisite funds to clean up the cemetery and erect a fitting memorial to Bo Carter.  Tony Mostrom, an artists who did many comical parodies of Paramount ads a while back, has agreed to help out and Alan Orlicek, who has engraved many markers for blues musicians, is also on the artistic team.  Robert Birdsong, who helped dig up the headstone of Henry Simms and located the grave of John Wrencher, is currently looking over the cemetery and checking records in the Hollandale Mortuary, which buried him in 1964.  It may be that we do not know the exact spot of his burial, but we have identified several markers that constitute the rural burial ground.

We have setup a GoFundMe page and need help from folks who appreciate the music and career of Bo Carter.  I am happy to answer any questions about our work.  This campaign has been tougher than others due to something in the air, but thank you for any assistance you can provide to get us to the finish line...
https://www.gofundme.com/honor-ms-bluesmans-legacy

Video promos:




http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/p/the-unmarked-grave-of-bo-carter.html

« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 11:03:47 PM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline tinpanallygurl

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Well, im in.  After work I will donate.  Good luck on here though.  Unless there is something in it like a record, a pick from blind willies house, a box set, or the like I doubt you will get much traction here.  I hope I am wrong but judging from previous posts on blues forums trying to get something done for the good of the cause it will likely lead to disappointment and frustration.  If no one would give any money to help get Macks "monster" under control, dispute his asking for help; and other such things I have a hard time believing that this will go anywhere from people posting here, or the BBF, etc.  Only thing we cling to tighter than a rare 78 record is our money............................especially money we might have made off the backs of blues men who themselves and their families never saw a dime.

Offline wreid75

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Sure, I'll jump in here.  Bonnie Raitt can't do all the headstones herself  >:D

Offline Chezztone

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Oops -- Hi DeWayne, it looks like our posts crossed. I just put up a less detailed post asking for help for the same initiative.
Yes, I second everything DeWayne said! His organization is legitimate and Bo Carter's grave certainly is a mess right now.
Thanks, SC

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Well, I can offer our commemorative bookmarks and other ephemera.  Check the website for all our memorials and tell me which bookmarks from which artists you would like and I will send a couple for $20.  I have posters of Pops Staples and John Fogerty at the Patton dedication.  I also have some t-shirts from the horribly-failed Bo benefit in Nashville.  $50 will get you a t-shirt, some bookmarks, and some stickers form our vault.  $100 will earn you stickers, bookmarks, Patton poster, T-shirt, and a postcard sized magnet of the RJ cenotaph in Morgan City.  I can get creative for larger donations.  Do you need something from the Blues Archive?  I''m right here.  I can find almost anything.  For example, H.C. Speir pulled a gun and shot a guy inside his music store in 1928.  That's nothing.  Wait till you see what I turned over to Jim O'Neal about Prince Mccoy--it's gonna be killer...I can find something you need for 500 or $1,000.  Well, anything but information on Bo...
 
« Last Edit: January 30, 2017, 09:35:14 PM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline wreid75

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"Well, anything but information on Bo..."
Why is there so little information available on Bo?  I know he died early into the rediscovery era but his brother lived into the 80s.  Was he another victim of the Robert Johnson wonderlust?

Offline harry

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Bonnie Raitt can't do all the headstones herself  >:D

Can't they just call John Fogerty (he funded the headstone for Sam). His net worth is over $70 million!

No kidding, I appreciate your effort Mr. Moore. And I will make a donation.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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It's cool.  We replaced the original marker for Sam in 2015.  It was damaged and worn pretty badly.

http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/p/sam-chatmon.html

Mr. Fogerty was very generous through the Fogerty Fund, but it shut down in 2001.
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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"Well, anything but information on Bo..."
Why is there so little information available on Bo?  I know he died early into the rediscovery era but his brother lived into the 80s.  Was he another victim of the Robert Johnson wonderlust?

The Bo Carter and Nitta Yuma Cemetery project, in essence, is representative of a lack of popular and scholarly interest in the career and life of Bo Carter--save for Paul Oliver.  No popular musicians had the opportunity to befriend and establish a personal connection to him, unlike his brother Sam.  Also, if the general public is familiar with his work, it is often seen as a comical joke, worthy of ridicule and disdain as the product of libidinous,even pornographic, instincts.  I have composed, what I feel is, a much more accurate description of his career as a recording artist. 

Armenter (his brothers called him Bo) Chatmon often served as the central organizing force in The Mississippi Sheiks, a string band that has since achieved legendary status in the annals of American music. Due to the rest of the groups penchant for the nightlife of the Roaring 20s (so to speak), Bo never became a big drinker and often served as a manager; he held all of the group's money for travel, lodging, and other necessities during their excursions to record in such cities as 1) San Antonio, TX 2) Jackson, MS 3) Atlanta, GA 4) Grafton, WI 5) New Orleans, LA 6) Chicago, IL &7) Shreveport, LA. Major Records Companies--such as Okeh and Paramount--demonstrated their complete trust in him over and over again to handle everything involved with transporting the group safely and on time to recording sessions in major industrial cities--urban locales that contrasted sharply with the rural, flatness of the Delta.

Though all of the brothers settled down to farming and started families of their own (Bo in fact believed he would have been a very successful farmer), Bo maintained his relationships with the different recording companies, all of which seemed to hold him in high regards not only as a competent studio musician but also a reliable talent scout. His failing eyesight--due to a stroke NOT syphilis, as I have heard purported more than once--may have cut his career as a sharecropper short, but it did not in any way impede his creativity and reliability. Recording under the name "Bo Carter," he made several more trips to these cities, recorded scores of original--not traditional--material, and was responsible for the only recordings of artists such as Eugene Powell and Mississippi Matilda. 

Here is one brevity that I located about the group [likely, but still only potentially] in Bolton.
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline harry

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I also have some t-shirts from the horribly-failed Bo benefit in Nashville.

What happened?

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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I also have some t-shirts from the horribly-failed Bo benefit in Nashville.

What happened?

The individual who expressed a desire to do the benefit and promote it flaked totally.  He did no promotion, no advance word of mouth buzz creation, and to top it off, I arrived at the venue and they had no idea we were doing a benefit.  The artists showed up and the folks that caught my promotions via the website, facebook ,and the Tennessean newspaper showed up, but I do not live and work there in the music industry as the individual does.  Thus, we brought in less than $200 gross.  I had hoped it might garner the attention of some of his other acquaintances, such as folks who own Paramount catalogs and such.  No dice.  He disappeared that evening and I have not spoken with him since.   Oh, and the poster they made for the event, which they never put up anywhere anyway, does not feature Bo...
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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"Well, anything but information on Bo..."
Why is there so little information available on Bo?  I know he died early into the rediscovery era but his brother lived into the 80s.  Was he another victim of the Robert Johnson wonderlust?

Have you all read seen this rare account...

Elaine Hughes
(June 27, 2001 - July 15, 1935)

?The Day Bo Carter Played on My Porch,? written on April 12, 2000, published later in Living Blues magazine.

The first thing he said to me after his ex-wife and housekeeper, Vivian, introduced us was, "You know I wrote Corrine Corrina. I can sing it for you." He was already fooling with the strings on his metal guitar and strumming something that sounded like the wailing chords I loved hearing on those old 78 records of Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and Lightnin' Hopkins. A bit exotic for a white girl born and bred in Vicksburg, Mississippi, but my father owned Farris Novelty Company, a jukebox business that catered primarily to black juke joints all over the state. I had been hanging out in Daddy's shop, playing those records and soaking up that strange music from the time I was ten years old. I'd danced to Corrine Corrina many times but had never heard of Bo Carter until Vivian told me he used to be famous.

Now here I was, in my early twenties, married, mother of a toddler, and living in my parents' home. Bo Carter had come from Bolton to sing for me and my husband Archie at Vivian's request. It's 1958 or 1959, obviously a good many years past Bo's heyday. He's blind, tattered, stomach hanging over his bunched-up pants?but all smiles as he plays and sings his song for us. "Corrine Corrina, where you been so long?" and every so often he knocks his guitar, stops the music, and growls a lyric: "Listen here, Corrina, tell me where'd you stay last night?" Vivian steps out from the kitchen and nods her approval. She hasn't been married to him for years ("He got mean after he went blind," she told me), but she does what she can for him. She even half-carried him up the steep steps to the back porch, a stroke years ago having left him not only blind, but partially crippled.

His roving, rolling blues seem to spin out without a destination. Carter grins as he makes up some naughty lyrics: "I saw my baby coming down the street with no clothes on, and she shore looked good to me... the men they all took and lick they lips, but she don't belong to nobody but me." He sings these lines with great passion and tags them with "And she always will." Hearing sexually suggestive lyrics sung by a black man, in person, is a new and rather startling experience for me but I see that this is just business as usual for Bo Carter. Archie's feet tap out a perfect rhythm and even Baby James keeps time with his little hand.

Carter's breath is running short. I get him some iced tea from the kitchen and Vivian brings a plate of food. He's sitting on this tiny bench?actually a pantry stool?and I try to get him to come inside but he says, "No, ma'am, I'm all right here." I think if he really did write Corrine Corrina he ought to have some decent money since everybody from Cab Calloway to Joe Turner recorded it. I ask him if he isn't still making money on the song. "Well, somebody offered me fifty, maybe sixty dollars and I was broke so I sold it. I tried to buy it back after the Sheiks and me made some money, but... well, my name's on it."

I watch as he balances his plate precariously, spilling food on his shoes. I wouldn't know until years later how influential this man was as an early, prewar blues musician?or how many great self-taught artists like him had disappeared into lives of desperate poverty and ill health. Some, like his brother, Sam Chatmon, were rediscovered and redeemed late in life and even made money from their music again. But that didn't happen to Bo Carter. He recorded Corrine Corrina at his first session in 1928 under the name Bo Chatman, and began recording as Bo Carter in 1930. Earlier in 1930 Bo, his brother Lonnie, and Walter Vinson recorded Sitting On Top of the World, Winter Time Blues, Stop and Listen Blues, and other songs as the Mississippi Sheiks. He joined the Sheiks in several other recording sessions until 1935.

T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Rivers

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Only thing we cling to tighter than a rare 78 record is our money............................especially money we might have made off the backs of blues men who themselves and their families never saw a dime.

Oh please. Speak for yourself, jeesh.

Offline Rivers

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By the way the OP forgot to put the tag 'Bo Carter' on his post, so I added it. I removed the redundant ones like Delta, Country Blues (WTF else do we do around here?!) etc etc.

For the coimetromaniacs (I had to look it up) that walk among us I left the graveyard references.  :P
« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 07:50:05 PM by Rivers »

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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By the way the OP forgot to put the tag 'Bo Carter' on his post, so I added it. I removed the) etc etc. redundant ones like Delta, Country Blues (WTF else do we do around here?!

For the coimetromaniacs (I had to look it up) among us I left the graveyard references.  :P

The MZMF received its early funding from Bonnie Raitt and John Fogerty, Columbia Records, and other popular figures, but since I have taken over the maintenance of the graveyards containing the graves of Charley Patton, Eugene Powell, and several other musicians buried in the Delta, we have operated on a shoestring budget.  I maintain relationships with local people who mow the grass and pick up trash, and I send a check ever so often to fill the gas tank up, change the oil in the machines etc.  We could have easily focused on erecting markers--as some others do--and let these abandoned cemeteries fall back into nature, but I feel responsible for the appearance of the entire burial ground, especially since so many folks come to these sites and visit these graves.  I've seen folks do buried broom rituals and other strange ceremonies at the graves, making a sort of pilgrimage to these "holy sites."  The appearance of the graveyards on their arrival makes a statement about the better angels of our nature in this country, which is even more important in a place such as Mississippi--in such a time as we live. 

We've had great support from local people and people in the various blues communities across the globe.  I have known about this site for a while and even looked up lyrics on several occasions, but my own online presence was non-existent until I took over the MZMF.  There has been several individuals who have either pledged support or contacted me off-site with questions.  I owe this site a great deal myself for its authoritative voice when it comes to certain topics--"redundant ones like Delta, Country Blues" etc, I mean "WTF else do [you all] do around here?"

It being my first post, I fully expected a little hacking on me.  The tags were the ones automatically generated by the site.  Thus, perhaps the gatekeepers should remove certain tags--"redundant ones like Delta, Country Blues" etc, I mean "WTF else do [you all] do around here?"

Its been great thusfar and I look forward to many positive contributions to this site as well as many more positive contributions to the campaign for Bo Carter.  I know it can be frustrating tinpanallygurl, but I bet you are underestimating these folks.   This is THE weeniecampbell.com, the site for lovers of Bo Carter's music and discussions of country blues, I mean "WTF else do [you all] do around here?"  My tapophilia has only been exacerbated by my love for the blues.

 ;)  :D

« Last Edit: January 31, 2017, 07:52:51 PM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

 


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