Sam Chatmon was a pioneer of Delta blues specializing in guitar and singing. He played with the Mississippi Sheiks and was an associate of several other Delta-area pioneers. A lifelong Mississippian, he was born January 10, 1897, in Bolton to a family of local musicians.
According to historians, Chatmon was possibly the half-brother of “Father of Delta Blues” Charley Patton. By his own account, he first started playing the guitar at three. He would start performing along with Patton, Son House, Sloan, and others as the early 1900s came around. Sam Chatmon specialized in a variety of songs of the time keeping him well in-demand for different audiences.
Chatmon was a multi-instrumentalist with his specialty being string instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, and banjo. In addition to the Mississippi Sheiks, he recorded with his brother in the Chatman Brothers. Bo Carter, one of his brothers was another guitarist while Lonnie Chatmon played the fiddle.
LATER LIFE AND CAREER RIVAL
Sam Chatmon seemed to retire as a recording artist around the 1940s but worked and performed on plantations in Hollandale, Mississippi. On like several of his contemporaries, he lived into the 1960s when the blues revival began. He took the road throughout the 1960s and 1970s and recorded as well.
Since his style was an early, prototype to a lot of popular music of the decade with bands such as The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, early Judas Priest, and others being heavily influenced by it, he was a gem on the folk and blues touring circuit.
Chatmon would pass in February 1983 at the age of 86 in Hollandale, Mississippi.