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Baby, when I die, put daddy's picture in a frame.... So when daddy's gone you can see him just the same - Papa Harvey Hull & Long Cleve Reed, France Blues

Author Topic: The Unmarked Grave of Armenter (Armetia) Chatmon, aka Bo Carter in Nitta Yuma  (Read 2648 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Offline Rivers

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The site does not generate tags, you have to type them in. If you received a dropdown list when you clicked on your input box it was your browser retrieving them from its cache of tags you'd added on other sites. Don't feel bad! Several have made that same mistake.

I don't doubt your sincerity BTW. But you do need to read the thread I've linked below on tagging guidelines. A working group hashed this out when we first implemented tags on the site. Tags on here used for indexing. Like in a book, for grown ups. :} Quirky and redundant tags get deleted, see:

http://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=3073.msg24088#msg24088

See also the the main tag index to get the idea (though it's overdue for a cleanup). Click on the Tags menu button directly below the site banner heading.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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I'm glad that didn't go sideways.  I thought it was weird all those tags popped up, but it makes sense now that its explained. I will likely become one of the more meticulous taggers, especially since the scope is already narrow in comparison to platforms covering everything imaginable.

Thank you Mr. Rivers, I'm getting the hang of these formatting tools and I'll get the etiquette down forthwith
T. DeWayne Moore
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Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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This video concerning the grave of Sonny Boy Williamson II outside Tutwiler, Mississippi concerns some the maintenance issues that I mentioned above.  The occasional grant becomes available for rural maintenance projects, but most sites rely on private groups and donations.  We constantly look for new avenues to maintain these sites.

https://vimeo.com/headstoneblues/seethatmygraveiskeptclean
T. DeWayne Moore
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Offline Rivers

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Not a problem, all of us welcome everybody with a passion for this strange subject area. I for one hope you will stick around, read, contribute and enjoy the site. It's been a long road to here, and there has been a lot of water under the bridge.

Offline Chezztone

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OK, since y'all are discussing my favorite musician, I'll jump in with a few more comments.

Some of the earlier posts in this thread ask why there isn't more appreciation of this great artist, and why there isn't more known about him. I think that needs a multi-part answer.

If you're talking about the lack of appreciation from the general public: Well, as Paul Oliver says, the general public only knows Leadbelly for pre-blues, Bessie Smith for classic or vaudeville blues, and Robert Johnson for country blues. That's it. There are dozens of other wonderful blues artists they don't know, so we don't have to parse Bo Carter's lyrics or anything else for clues about why they don't know his music.

If you're talking about people who are somewhat into blues: They like their country-blues artists tortured-sounding and somewhat obscure. And usually from the Delta and with direct influence on rock music. The ones who were commercially successful, sang  some uptempo or humorous material, came from other regions and didn't influence Cream or the Rolling Stones are not good candidates for blues-fan adoration.

If you're talking about country-blues obsessives: Yup, we all love Bo Carter! That's why DeWayne is here asking us to help with this project.

As for why there isn't much known about Bo Carter: Actually there is plenty known about him, and probably more to discover. Just a couple years ago, Steve Salter (from his home in Michigan, without traveling to Mississippi) found Bo Carter's draft card, which contained his correct birthdate, a different one from what we had thought. DeWayne finds great info every day on various blues artists by combing through old newspapers. When I was in Mississippi in the 2000s, I met Elaine Hughes and heard that story about Bo Carter from her; I tracked down Bo Carter's guitar and saw it and played it (and wrote about that experience for Acoustic Guitar, in case anyone wants to read the details); I hung out with one of Bo Carter's close musical associates and friends, Eugene Powell; and met others who knew little tidbits about him. And I sure tried to find his grave. I also studied all of his music very thoroughly -- and he recorded a lot of sides! I think if you listen to all of his music, read the liner notes on all the Yazoo and Document releases, read the Paul Oliver interview with Bo Carter in Conversation With the Blues, read various published and archived interviews with Sam Chatmon and Eugene Powell, read other articles and theses about him or with some reference to him, you will know a lot about Bo Carter! Probably as much as you can know about any other early blues artist. It might not all be laid out for you in one book or Wikipedia page, but it's out there. And you can try to do your own research. Shoot, someone managed to write a long New York Times Magazine piece on Elvie Thomas not long ago, talk about obscure artists....

And I hope this campaign by the Mount Zion Fund, besides putting a stone on Bo Carter's grave and cleaning up the cemetery, will bring more attention to Bo Carter's life and especially to his wonderful music. That's really what it's all about. Thanks for any help any of you can give.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Just a couple years ago, Steve Salter (from his home in Michigan, without traveling to Mississippi) found Bo Carter's draft card, which contained his correct birthdate, a different one from what we had thought.

If you already thought his most accurate birth month and year was January 1894, then you had it as correct as possible already.  One census enumerator on June 28, 1900 notes the information obtained from his parents that Armenter Chatmon was 6 years old and born in January 1894.  That is the earliest and therefore most accurate notation.  You certainly can't privilege the date--March 21, 1893--that his brother Sam Chatmon reported on his death certificate in 1964. 

But instead of privileging the earliest documented evidence of his correct birth month and year gleaned from his parents, we should toss it out and instead privilege the information he gave 17 years later on his civilian draft card--June 30,  1893--while away from Bolton in Coahoma County?  Not that it matters a whole lot, but this can't be more accurate than the information given by his parents shortly after his birth on Dr. Dupree's Plantation, Bolton, Hinds County, Mississippi.

I've gone over this issue again and again with every armchair research quarterback in the world.  Here is the substantial note 3 from the Frank Stokes online memorial, which I composed and meticulous researcher Bob Eagle checked for infelicities.  It passed mustard and we used the earliest record from the 1900 census on the marker.

  • Stokes? date of birth has been widely debated.  In 1967, Bob Groom published a brief biography of Stokes in Blues World titled ?the Memphis Rounder? after his 1929 song Memphis Rounder Blues.  Noting that his origins were ?shrouded in mystery,? Groom suggests Stokes was born ?around 1890? in the vicinity of Senatobia in Tate County.  His account is highly speculative and refuted in one 1973 article titled ?The Beale Street Sheik? by Memphis Blues author Bengt Olsson, whose interviews were very important to uncovering the history of Stokes and the ?Beale Street Sheiks.  Olsson goes on to present ?facts about Frank Stokes, picked up more or less by accident in various places,? one of which is that he was ?born around 1865,? making him one of the oldest blues musicians to make records.

    The twenty-five year difference is tough to reconcile, but the more recent commentary of blues scholar Elijah Wald provides some insight into discerning his actual birthdate.  In his review of the album The Best of Frank Stokes (Yazoo 2072), Wald argues that Stokes ?may well be the best example on record of what the great Mississippi blues musicians? heard in their childhoods, because he was born in 1887.  The source for most of the information relayed in the liner notes, however, was the musician?s daughter, Helen, several of whose recollections have been proven wholly inaccurate.  The errant statements of Stokes? daughter reflects both the young age and the short period in which she lived in his household as a child?as few as four years.

    In September 1918, the middle-aged blacksmith made his way down to the Central Police Station in Memphis to register for the draft during World War I.  He informed that he was 41 years-old, and the registrar wrote his birthdate as January 1, 1877.  The birth month and day listed on his draft card were the same as the ones given on his death certificate, which lists his date of birth as January 1, 1888.  The informant who provided the information on the certificate (Margaret) was at least his third wife, however, who likely had no real clue as to the musician?s true age.  Though it seems that Stokes may have been born on New Year?s Day, the first day of January was often assigned to immigrants and individuals who, for cultural or other reasons, did not know their exact date of birth.  In addition, the earliest record of Frank Stokes in the US Census was in 1900.  The 21 year-old musician and ?levee man,? one census enumerator noted, was born in June 1878.  It is the earliest document available that claims to know the month/year of his birth.  Three men named Frank Stokes got their marriage license in Shelby County from 1904-1908, but all of them (or none of them) may in fact be influential musician; see, Bob Groom, ?Frank Stokes: The Memphis Rounder,? Blues World 13:2 (March 1967): 5-6.
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Rivers

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Hey before we get too far off topic... may I suggest that Frank Stokes data is really interesting and warrants its own thread. Feel free to start it and repost the info there. You could then modify your post to link to that thread.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Hey before we get too far off topic... may I suggest that Frank Stokes data is really interesting and warrants its own thread. Feel free to start it and repost the info there. You could then modify your post to link to that thread.

I thought I did start a Frank Stokes Online Memorial thread.  It contains a link to the entire online memorial.  I may have done it wrong, or that may not be a thread.
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Offline Rivers

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I must have missed it due to life on the farm. In that case your Stokes bio above was redundant, by which I mean you could have just put a link to it in the post above. PM me if you'd like to know in detail how to do that.

It would make tagging, and discussing, easier. One topic at a time, s'il vous plait.

Sorry for the surfeit of moderation. I hope you will take my comments in the spirit in which they are made; a desire to make the site as useful as possible for everybody, including yourself.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 06:08:48 PM by Rivers »

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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I must have missed it due to life on the farm. In that case your Stokes bio above was redundant, by which I mean you could have just put a link to it in the post above. PM me if you'd like to know in detail how to do that.

It would make tagging, and discussing, easier. One topic at a time, s'il vous plait.

Sorry for the surfeit of moderation. I hope you will take my comments in the spirit in which they are made; a desire to make the site as useful as possible for everybody, including yourself.

Above I posted an example of a footnote detailing the myriad of sources claiming to know the birthdate of Stokes.  The point of posting was to demonstrate how convoluted and varied birth dates can be for blues artists, such as Stokes and Bo Carter.  In his excellent breakdown of Bo sources, Chezztone informs that the Michigan politician found the "correct birthdate." The "bio," as you refer to it, is one footnote on all of Stokes' alleged birthdates.  "Correct birthdate" is an oxymoron in many a blues artists' case.  We have to acknowledge all of them, but the earliest and most accurate must be the one engraved on the marker.  Our duty as scholars is to be thorough as well as consistent in our conclusions.  The best way to do all that is with a cogent and rigid methodology, if you please...

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

Offline tinpanallygurl

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"money we might have made off the backs of blues men who themselves and their families never saw a dime."  Oh I forgot, all of the money in royalties, music, books, articles, residuals, use of images, promotional material for catalogs, liner notes, box sets, re-issues, and other forms of money making opportunities was redirected to (when they were living) the artists who made the music and to their decedents after they died.  My bad, what was I thinking.  I know that Steve Levere and Dick Waterman made sure those families received a cut of some of those opportunities but something tells me that Rosetta Patton and the other Patton decedents didn't receive much.  Interesting that there is a gold record of Blind Willie Johnson flying through the stars yet his family never say a penny for anything he did.  He didn't receive much either. 

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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"money we might have made off the backs of blues men who themselves and their families never saw a dime."  Oh I forgot, all of the money in royalties, music, books, articles, residuals, use of images, promotional material for catalogs, liner notes, box sets, re-issues, and other forms of money making opportunities was redirected to (when they were living) the artists who made the music and to their decedents after they died.  My bad, what was I thinking.  I know that Steve Levere and Dick Waterman made sure those families received a cut of some of those opportunities but something tells me that Rosetta Patton and the other Patton decedents didn't receive much.  Interesting that there is a gold record of Blind Willie Johnson flying through the stars yet his family never say a penny for anything he did.  He didn't receive much either.

The Mt. Zion Memorial Fund sent a portion of the donations made for the Charley Patton marker to Ms. Rosetta Patton, and we continued to send a potion of each year's donations to her until her passing, at which time Euphus "Butch" Ruth, a member of the board at the time, attended her funeral and represented the MZMF.  I am currently working to get Kechia Brown, the great granddaughter of Charley Patton, to come on board and hopefully take my place one day.  Her first event representing the MZMF will be the dedication of the marker for Mamie "Galore" Davis in Greenville later this month.  She recently moved back to the Delta and is eager to come on board.  You can see her standing behind her grandmother at the dedication of Patton's marker in 1991 in the attached photo.

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

Offline Johnm

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tinpanallygurl,
I'm not sure what point you're trying to make by speaking in generalities about the behavior of people you don't know and have never met.  Perhaps that you would never behave in such an unprincipled way?  Well, congratulations on your superior moral fiber and rectitude.  If you have specific people and actions in mind, though, you should say their names and say exactly what terrible things they did rather than lumping everyone you don't name together and tarring them with the same brush.  And if you don't have specific people and actions in mind, you're just dealing in hearsay and innuendo, and you don't know of what you speak.  Artists being taken advantage of by people in the business of promoting art is not exactly a news flash.  For whatever reason, you seem to take it particularly hard.  Good luck with that. 
Johnm

Offline Rivers

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tinpanallygurl, I also am unsure of what may be behind your professed loathing of country blues discussion boards to which you contribute. Since it has become a recurring theme, my best theory is Shakespearean, Macbeth, Act III scene II

Anyway, thanks to all upright citizens for helping us to understand the slough of moral despond into which we have fallen. We had no clue and will immediately don sackcloth and ashes and begin self flagellation just as soon as you say the word.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program, discussion of country blues music, rigorously methodic or otherwise.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 07:58:37 PM by Rivers »

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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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.

I can only assure you that I do not profit in the least financially from the work of the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund.  My position is not paid.  In fact, I have gone to considerable expense to litigate cemetery access cases in Copiah County and the Mississippi Delta.  I am a graduate student at the University of Mississippi, which provides a stipend of $12,000/year.  I can't even afford to live in Oxford.  I am also writing the civil rights narrative for the Burns Belfry African American History Museum in Oxford.  My immense compensation for this endeavor will be $2,000 total--of which I have only received $1,000.  I used a personal research grant of $800 for one of our headstone projects.  We actually might be really stupid.  Since we do not receive any funds any longer from record companies or famous musicians, the maintenance of the markers and abandoned cemeteries is done by a handful of dedicated preservationists who the MZMF simply can't afford to pay in full.  Not as much as they deserve for their work to keep the graves clean and visitable.

I never wanted or intended for this thread to guilt anyone into supporting our work.  We do this work, because we like to do this work.  I like to think we are pretty damn good at making sure all parties who should be involved are involved to the level of their desire.  I have always paid the musicians who perform at benefits at least twenty bucks for gas to the show.  I organize a local beer festival as well, which allows me to keep a bunch of beer in my house/closet to provide the musicians at shows.  I also get the descendants involved in our projects to the level they wish to involve themselves.  Once again, I direct your attention to the Frank Stokes memorial page - http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/p/frank-stokes.html.  The families of the musicians we honor are embraced and full participants, many of whom contribute to the cause themselves.  Stokes' grandson insisted on contributing financially to the project.

Please do not let the self-righteous rhetoric of one individual sabotage this thread's plea.  We have raised 66% of our goal for the project.  We have had several hiccups already in this campaign, which I realized early on would not be a cake walk.  Bo Carter and Nitta Yuma Cemetery are the focus of our efforts.  If you dig his records and his musical abilities (usually on guitar; but sometimes on banjo; fiddle; string-bass; clarinet; or mandolin), please help us honor a true "all-around man" in the musical world.


You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/chatmongraves or http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/p/the-unmarked-grave-of-bo-carter.html
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 11:10:21 PM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Suzy T

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Thank you for letting us know about this. I just made a small donation. Wish it could be more.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Thank you for letting us know about this. I just made a small donation. Wish it could be more.

You're very welcome Ms. Suzy.  It seems your trio performs at several different charity events already (I checked your website...very nice, clean design), so I appreciate your willingness to contribute to our efforts.  Your contribution and those of several others have gotten us above the %80 mark.  I am attaching one of Paul Oliver's photograph that has appeared in different publications, but it is often cropped and incomplete.  It appears here in its entire composite glory!

https://www.gofundme.com/chatmongraves

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

 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 03:25:37 PM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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The Dedication of Bo Carter's Headstone and Celebration in Nitta Yuma
July 29, 2017 - 5:00 p.m. - Nitta Yuma Cemetery - Nitta Yuma Plantation, Sharkey County, Mississippi
LINK HERE TO EVENT PAGE - http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/2017/05/the-dedication-of-bo-carters-headstone.html

We have informed the owner of the National Style N guitar of Bo Carter!!!! We are crossing our fingers and hoping that he will come to Nitta Yuma and reunite it with the fiddle of Lonnie Chatmon--which will be there--two emblems of the Chatmon family legacy--on July 29 in Nitta Yuma....

Miles Floyd, the grandson of Armenter Chatmon, will be on hand at the event. So will the original instruments owned and played by the Chatmon family.  Henry Phelps, the landowner of the small hamlet, plans to have a large celebration and reception with food and refreshments following the dedication. He has done many excellent renovations of the historic buildings in Nitta Yuma, and the commemoration of Bo Carter's headstone offers everyone a chance to experience this jewel of the mid-Delta through the lens of a unique celebration.  Several indebted and amazing musicians also plan to perform at the event in Nitta Yuma, MS on July 29, 2017, such as....

Blues musician Andy Cohen's amazing career has spanned decades so I have prepared a collection of content for your reading and viewing pleasure here http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/2017/06/andy-cohen-kent-state-to-memphis-going.html

- Bill Steber is the photographer who got the good shots of the most recent group of the blues legends, whose work you may have seen at the local university or in Oxford American magazine, but he doubles as one of the potent musical forces behind the Murfreesboro, TN-based Jake Leg Stompers.

- Ron Bombardi (who like Armenter Chatmon, or Bo Carter, adopted a new name as a musician, "Jersey Slim" Hawkins) is a professor and philosopher with dextrous mental abilities, which he readily transfers through his body so he walk around town, talk to people, and even write a few simple words every now and again in the academic journals and monographs. The longtime fiddle player for the Stompers, in fact, models his playing style after the Mississippi Sheiks most-accomplished fiddle player, Lonnie Chatmon, the brother of Bo Carter (The two brothers stand to the left of Walter Vinson in the below photo). It is very fitting then that his hero's fiddle will be available for his use in Nitta Yuma.  Lonnie Chatmon's fiddle may be heard once again with the steel-bodied National Style N guitar of Bo Carter!!!!

- Blues traveller and musician Steve Cheseborough, whose admiration and enthusiasm for the music of Bo Carter is all but limitless, has informed the owner of the National Style N guitar of Bo Carter!!!! We are crossing our fingers and hoping that the owner will come to Nitta Yuma and reunite the two emblems of the Chatmon family legacy in July....

- Moses Crouch is a hill country musician of the most committed order who is often heard cooking up his liniments and draining out special orders of snake oil juice with the Memphissippi Medicine. Despite being the youngest musician to confirm thusfar, his repertoire includes plenty of music with an old soul...



« Last Edit: June 10, 2017, 11:58:58 AM by mtzionmemorialfund »
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline eric

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Well done, Mr. Moore.  Wish I could be there.
--
Eric

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Eric, you should really try if at all possible.  Everyone else as well, because I received a confirmation yesterday from the individual who purchased the National of Bo Carter that he is going to attend with the instrument as well as one of his good friends and torchbearers of the hill country blues tradition.  Thus, we will reunite two instruments owned by the Chatmons in Nitta Yuma on July 29th, and some pretty approximating players will be there to really make this a special event unlike any we have held since the early 1990s dedications.

I really appreciate everyone on weeniecampbell who helped make this whole thing possible. We wanted and tried to include everyone and we received a lot of support....
  ;D
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline Chezztone

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Hey Folks -- This is going to be a blast, as well as a tribute to one of American's great musicians, I encourage you all to consider attending. I went back and forth a few times myself on whether to go. Then I realized yes, I have to get my Daniel down there for this, whether I can afford it or not, whether it'll be hot and mosquito-y in the Delta in late July (I won't even say "or not" on that one), etc.
A few things to think about as you consider making the trip:
  • Travel in the Delta is cheap compared with other parts of the country. Other than airfare, your other expenses will be low. And they're serving a meal at the event!
  • Unlike an annual festival or workshop, you don't have the "I'll go next year option" for this one. It's a one-time opportunity.
  • Yes, the instruments that we believe were played on the original recordings will be there. But more important are all the people who will be there, people who are connected to or care about Bo Carter and his music. You'll get to meet and hear and talk and party with them.
  • Travel in the Delta is always magical anyway.
Just come on down! Thanks. Ch.

 

Offline jed

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Touched down last night in SeaTac, and made my way to Port Townsend and Weenerhausen a few days late after a special detour through the welcoming warmth of the Mississippi Delta - specifically, Hollandale and a tiny cemetary on a farm in Nitta Yuma.  Steve Cheseborough asked me to share the following message with y'all:

The photo (>which I'll upload as soon as I can get it down to the size limits - JP<) is of Bo Carter's stepgrandson, Miles Floyd, holding Bo Carter's guitar at the new headstone, during yesterday's ceremony in Nitta Yuma. I think the kids are Miles' stepkids.

The stone is not finished, unfortunately. There will be an engraving of the guitar in black granite at the top, but somehow that didn't get done in time for the ceremony.

The ceremony was terrific! About 65 people attended, including friends of mine from California, Washington, Michigan, Georgia and Mississippi. Nitta Yuma is a hamlet of 20 residents, an old plantation where they still grow huge fields of corn. The little cemetery is on the edge of a cornfield, and we all drove through dusty paths to get there.

Miles was raised by Bo Carter's son, Ezell, who married Miles' mother. He was obviously emotional about Bo's music and this tribute.

DeWayne Moore, director of Mt Zion Foundation, which put this together, spoke for awhile. Next to speak was Henry Phelps, owner of the plantation, who cooperated with the process, granted perpetual access to the cemetery and hosted the event. Then Miles spoke, breaking into tears as he talked about the music. Then an unscheduled speech from Miles' lawyer, who is working on recovering royalties from Eric Clapton's "Alberta, Alberta," which is actually a reworded cover of Bo Carter's "Corrine Corrina."

I was scheduled to speak next. But DeWayne unveiled the headstone, which created chaos as everyone rushed to it to look at it, pose for pictures etc. After 20 minutes or so I sat at the base of the statue and asked Bill Steber, who was there as a musician but is also an excellent professional photographer, to shoot a picture of me there. (He shoots on film so I don't know when I'll see that picture.) Someone stuck Bo Carter's guitar in my hands for the picture. Of course I started playing and singing, "I Want You to Know." The crowd quieted down and listened! They applauded at the end and I stood up to speak. It worked out well because now everyone was gathered right around the stone. No one ever introduced me, but many of them knew me, and maybe the others can figure it out from the program.

I spoke about my own devotion to Carter's music and about his career and significance. Then I introduced Bill Gandy, owner of Bo Carter's guitar, and asked him to tell the story of how he happened to acquire it and later discover its history. After he spoke I asked him to play a song on it but he demurred and instead brought up Kenny Brown (Gandy's neighbor, companion on the drive from Potts Camp to Nitta Yuma, and longtime RL Burnside sideman) to play. Brown said he hadn't heard of Bo Carter until the day before (!) so he did a Muddy Waters number.

Steber and his fiddler played "Sitting On Top of the World," Moses Crouch sang "County Farm Blues" and then Andy Cohen led all the musicians in "Corrine Corrina," which we tried to get the crowd to sing along on.

Then we all trucked out of the cemetery, up the hill to Nitta Yuma proper, for a reception. Except the music was in one building and the food in another, so it didn't really jell. After awhile I walked into the music building, a small old church, where Andy Cohen was sitting up front playing for a dozen or so people. He beckoned me to join him. We took turns doing songs, me sticking to Bo Carter and him doing Rev Gary Davis and Lonnie Johnson in his lovely style. When Miles Floyd and his family came in I played "All Around Man," his favorite Bo Carter song, for him. He loved it.

We hugged and talked afterward. Oh, another highlight for me was meeting a woman who brought two photos of Bo Carter playing for her and other local white children in 1956! He was playing the familiar guitar. He wore coveralls in one picture, as if he had come from work as a mechanic. In the other he is dressed up and accompanied by a fiddler. I asked about the repertoire. She said he would start with "Tennessee Waltz," saying his other songs were too dirty for children! But he also played other songs which she doesn't remember. She said it was a frequent event, his performances in the area. She is going to talk to a woman in her 90s who might remember more about it, and get back to me with any info.

The party broke up kinda early. I'm very glad I came down for it!

Steve Cheseborough


Me, too! 

Cheers,
Jed
ok then:  http://jed.net

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Tons of good information and new photos of Bo up for a little while here:

http://www.mtzionmemorialfund.org/2018/10/go-back-old-devil-bo-carter-and-chatmon.html
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline harry

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Thanks, some rare photos I've never seen.

 


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