collapse

* Member Info

 
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

* Like Us on Facebook

It's almost like people are walkin' around... with this unreal ego. 'Oh, listened to a Gary Davis tune. Let me figure that out... I mean I know he was great but why can't I figure that out in one hour?' Or one week? Or one year? - Jerry Ricks, Port Townsend 97

Author Topic: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934  (Read 5338 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline uncle bud

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 8314
  • Rank amateur
Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« 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?


« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 02:08:29 PM by uncle bud »

mississippijohnhurt1928

  • Guest
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #1 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.

Online banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2073
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #2 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

Offline Stumblin

  • Member
  • Posts: 521
  • Got the Blues, can't be satisfied
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #3 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.

Offline Johnm

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10842
    • johnmillerguitar.com
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #4 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

Offline CF

  • Member
  • Posts: 884
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #5 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
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Stumblin

  • Member
  • Posts: 521
  • Got the Blues, can't be satisfied
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #6 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.

Offline CF

  • Member
  • Posts: 884
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #7 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!
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline hortig78rpm

  • Member
  • Posts: 51
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #8 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

Online banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2073
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #9 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

Offline Stumblin

  • Member
  • Posts: 521
  • Got the Blues, can't be satisfied
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #10 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.

Offline JohnLeePimp

  • Member
  • Posts: 306
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #11 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?
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline LD50

  • Member
  • Posts: 159
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #12 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.

Online banjochris

  • Member
  • Posts: 2073
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #13 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.

Offline TallahatchieTrot

  • Member
  • Posts: 43
  • Howdy!
Re: Mississippi Sheiks, Walter Vinson and Bo Carter ? March 1934
« Reply #14 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.

 


anything
SimplePortal 2.3.7 © 2008-2020, SimplePortal