Blues Then and Now - The History of the Blues (Chapter 6, page 2 of 6)


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Chapter 6

It was Bo Carter (Armenter Chatrnon), born on March 21, 1893 in Bolton, Mississippi that was the most popular of the Sheiks. Together with his brother Sam and a couple of other members of the band recorded "That Jazz Fiddler," "Sales Tax" and a remake with a smaller band of "Loose Like That." Charley Patton played with the Sheiks. Bo Carter made a successful career as a solo blues artist and made several records in the 1930s. Bo was exceptionally popular with the white audience and they would pay him well for his performances. On one of his tours in Memphis, Bo was stricken with a brain hemorrhage and became blind. On September 21, 1964 he died in poverty. He was 71 years old.

Mississippi has been known to he the land where the blues was born. The singers and guitarist corning from that area were establishing their regional styles and using whatever makeshift instruments available. Their music was labeled "Down Home Blues," "Country Blues" or "Rural Blues." Their blues were commonly called folk music. Paramount Records was quick to capitalize on this southern folk blues exposure and recorded 'Papa' Charlie Jackson's "Papa's Lawdy Lawdy Blues," in 1924 with a banjo background. With the success of this country blues Paramount recorded Blind Lemon Jefferson's "Long Lonesome Blues" with an authentic rural blues effect that was accepted by the black population.

`Papa' Charlie Jackson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1885. At an early age he became fascinated with the sound of the banjo and taught himself how to play it well. Jackson was an easy going man, always cheerful and oftentimes witty and a very kind hearted person. In 1925 Paramount Records recorded another one of his hits, "Shave 'Em Dry." Jackson's records were sold throughout the entire country and people were playing his records over and over just to hear his pleasant voice and the full sound of his six string banjo. His country blues hits were, "I'm Alabama Bound," "Salty Dog," "Spoonful" and "Shakc That Thing," At the age of 50, Papa Charlie Jackson died in Chicago in 1935.

In the decade of the 1920s, record companies were directing their attention to the Mississippi Delta and Memphis for their upcoming recording artists. They were primarily looking for singers who could accompany themselves with the guitar. A few were successful, but by the mid-1920s, the companies soon learned that the blues whether it be "country blues," "rural blues," "down home blues," or "dirty blues" was not intended to be a "one man" show.

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