FEATURED ARTIST / S
|Chatman Brothers (Lonnie and Sam)|
Mississippi Sheiks: Bo Chatman (Carter), vocal, guitar; Lonnie Chatman, violin; Walter Vincson, vocal, guitar.
Chatman Brothers: Bo Chatman (Carter), vocal, guitar; Lonnie Chatman, vocal, violin; Sam Chatmon, vocal, guitar.
With contributions by Eugene Powell (Sonny Boy Nelson), guitar.
Genres: Mississippi Blues, Country Blues, String Bands, Blues Guitar, Blues Violin.
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.
From this album's booklet notes:
As discussed in the notes to DOCD-5085, Walter Vinson was replaced by Bo Carter on the first six numbers made at the Mississippi Sheiks' 26th March 1934 session; on You'll Work Down To Me Someday, however, Vinson can be clearly heard to take over on vocals and guitar, and on Somebody's Got To Help Me, which is set to his favourite "Overtime Blues" tune, he even identifies himself as "Poor Walter". After the Sheiks' ten titles, Bo Carter cut ten of his own, with Lonnie Chatmon playing fiddle on three of them.
The following day was less intensive, Bo making two titles and the Sheiks four. Walter Vinson is again present as a vocalist on all four songs, and his appears to be the only guitar on Lonesome Grave Took My Baby Away and Pop Skull Blues, which is a tribute to the powers of Texan whiskey. The former song is the Sheiks' last version of ‘Stop and Listen’, and not the least powerful of them. Sweet Maggie and Sales Tax were issued as by ‘Mississippi Sheiks with Bo Carter’, and Bo can be clearly heard singing and playing second guitar on both titles, which are respectively a remake of "Corrine Corrina" and a witty comment on the "three cents more" that had recently become "the Government's rule".
It was 10 months before the - or rather a - Mississippi Sheiks got together again to record, in New Orleans in January 1935. As before, "Blues & Gospel Records" gives Bo Carter, vocal and guitar, Lonnie Chatmon, violin, possibly Sam Chatmon on second guitar, and "Walter Vincson (sic) might be present". On this occasion, it is my view that both Vinson and Sam Chatmon are absent; there is one guitar, played by Bo Carter, who sings on It's Backfiring Now, Lean To One Woman and I Can't Go Wrong. On Dead Wagon Blues and She's Going To Her Lonesome Grave, there is a different vocalist, presumably Lonnie Chatmon. The first title is to the tune of ‘Your Good Man’ Caught The Train And Gone’, which the Sheiks had recorded in 1930 (see DOCD-5084); the second, though also dealing with death and funerals, is set to a jaunty pop tune, with heavy use of syncopation. The last Mississippi Sheiks recording of all was a lively dance instrumental, displaying the violin prowess that Vinson so much admired in his long-time partner, Lonnie Chatmon.
By October 1936, Bo Carter arranged for a group of Jackson musicians to record, again for Bluebird, and again in New Orleans. Walter Vinson was there, recording as Walter Jacobs, and accompanying Little Brother Montgomery, Tommy Griffin and Annie Turner. Also present was Lonnie Chatmon, but the two men did not record together; this time, Lonnie was partnered by his brother Sam, and five discs appeared by "The Chatmon Brothers (Lonnie And Sam)".
Most of these are hokum type numbers, relying on the usual doubles entendres; Sam Chatmon, who sings on all Chatmon Brothers titles on this disc, was still a master of clever sexual metaphors when he resumed his performing career in the late 60s. If You Don't Want Me, however, is different, being a valuable, and beautifully played version of ‘Make Me Down A Pallet On Your Floor’. (Beautifully played by Lonnie, that is; Sam's guitar is, as usual, accurate and rhythmically steady, rather than inspired.) Old Grey Mule seems to be another example of the Chatmon family's ability to play any song, even if they didn't know it; it bears no relation to the old vaudeville number of the same title.
On Radio Blues, Sam does a pretty good imitation of Peetie Wheatstraw; on this title and Please Don't Give My Love Away he and Lonnie are joined by Eugene Powell (Sonny Boy Nelson), who plays some unobtrusive treble figures; Powell was about to accompany his wife, Mississippi Matilda, on the next four matrices before making six sides of his own, and accompanying Robert Hill on ten more.