Songs of Bo Carter
Here’s a new gem from the ever-popular German fingerstyle guitarist Rainer Brunn, who digs into four songs by the great Bo Carter. Born Armentor Chatmon, Carter is often overlooked as one of the early country blues pioneers. As bandleader of the Mississippi Sheiks and as a soloist, he became known among blues enthusiasts for his bawdy, clever songs that featured great hooks and syncopated guitar lines.
In his typically clear and precise teaching style, Rainer brings these songs to you in a way that makes them fun to learn for the average fingerpicker.
My Pencil Don’t Write No More moves along with an easy lope that features some discordant chord shapes and moving bass runs out of the G position.
Make Arrangements for Me uses a special “Bo Carter” tuning, similar to Open G but with the high E remaining intact. This tuning creates some nice open low notes ringing over contrapuntal lines in the upper register of the neck. It also features a bouncy bass note riff complimented by a descending melody line.
Cigarette Blues, played here on Rainer’s National resonator guitar, is in Open D. It has a foot-tapping groove, with steady alternating thumb driving the bass notes intertwined with bluesy licks on the high strings.
Let’s Get Drunk Again is in standard tuning, but there is nothing standard about this song! It is chock full of cool syncopated lines, with triplets injected in the picking hand. The song has a dynamic solo that goes up the neck with an ending run of notes that sounds difficult, but is still accessible with Rainer’s exceptionally clear instruction.
This is a great lesson that will add some great songs to your repertoire and will inspire ideas that can be applied to other country blues songs as well.