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It's cool to change chords and all, but you really don't have to. - Corey Harris, teaching a workshop at PT 2009

Author Topic: The Unmarked Grave of Armenter (Armetia) Chatmon, aka Bo Carter in Nitta Yuma  (Read 2350 times)

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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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    • Steve Cheseborough 1920s-30s-style blues
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.