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Bo Carter was a novice songwriter when a hurricane named Bob Dylan crashed into New York’s folk music scene.

Bo survived the flood, but after a career spanning three decades, he fears he will be remembered as a ‘one-hit-wonder.’

And Bo’s fickle Lady Muse has grown weary of feeding his comically demented creative process. She has even wondered aloud if it is time for Bo to hang up his filthy rock ‘n’ roll shoes.

Still, Mr Dylan is interested in recording one of his songs. And a big-time Hollywood director has requested a new tune for an upcoming movie soundtrack.  

Will Bo Carter finally turn his career around? To quote one of Bo’s lesser lyrics, ‘time will tell.’ 

This fictional biography includes Bandcamp links to Bo Carter’s latest solo album, complete lyrics and exclusive interviews with the author.

How Did The Last Record Album Come to Be

The Last Record Album is a fictional biography based on the ‘career’ of singer/songwriter Bo Carter. 

In truth, Carter could have been me. I discovered the music of Bob Dylan when I was 11-years-old and by the time I was 14 I was writing music and concert reviews for national magazines.

The singer/songwriter career was not to be, but music has been a passion ever since. 

So The Last Record Album is indeed fictional, but it is also a biography. 

The details of the artists Bo meets along the way are told in ‘real time’ and the insights into song-writing and performing are culled from things I have witnessed along the way, including conversations with many well-known and ‘real’ songwriters.

The book also includes live Bandcamp links to a number of songs ‘written’ by Bo Carter (well, actually, James Porteous) a list of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, interviews with Bo Carter and live YouTube links to dozens of songs I have enjoyed over the years. 

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Bo with a fan show is clearly enjoying the encounter more than Bo.

Bo Carter is indeed a fictional singer/songwriter, but this story takes place in ‘real time,’ starting in the folk era of the 60s. Along the way, Bo also meets Bob Dylan and Frank Zappa and others.

As noted earlier, the author began writing record and concert reviews when he was 14-years-old and he has been writing his own songs ever since.

Sothe book includes not only lyrics to about two dozen original songs written by the author, but live links to Bo Carter’s Bandcamp site, where the reader can actually hear the songs as they follow his career.

Other sections include interviews with the musician, a list of the best Bob Dylan songs and a comprehensive list of Carter’s favorite songs. 

Bo Carter Bandcamp Site

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The Last Record Album

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Bo Carter, like every other singer/songwriter, has a love/hate relationship with Bob Dylan. He changed ‘folk’ music forever. Nevertheless, he enjoys meeting him ‘on the road.’

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Bo’s motto.

Excerpts from The Last Record Album

‘If I had known what the music industry was really like? I don’t know if I would have even bothered.’ 
Bo Carter

Piss Poor

Words and Music
Bo Carter

I’m feeling, piss-poor
since you walked out the door
I’m feeling piss-poor 
that’s why I’m acting like a boor

What kind of life am I leading
when I can’t even find the floor
when my heart’s a-bleeding
with a pain I can’t endure

I’m feeling, piss poor
since you said bonjour

“Good Lord,” Bo Carter moans. That really is a bloody piss-poor song. 
Bo is a songwriter-for-hire for the publishing company Whitmore & Sons, but his role is more mechanical than artistic. He is paid a weekly salary to write catchy pop songs that might earn Old Man Whitmore enough money to enjoy another lovely summer in The Hamptons. 
Bo is as hip and as ‘with it’ as any punk kid who has searched for God on a soiled mattress or faced the Devil in a dark alley but every songwriter in New York City is also trying to escape the plastic fantastic world of Pat Boone and Perry Como.
His songs are mostly sad-sack odes to the ones who got away, the love that might have been, or the dreams of tomorrow that may never be realized.
And if there is one truism in the world of songwriting, it is that melancholy does not sell records. At least not the records Old Man Whitmore wants to sell. 
Bo is capable of writing songs of merit. Or rather, a song of merit. His ‘Coal Miner’s Blues’ was a moderate, regional hit for a moderate, regional singer named Bobby Keyes.
But that song sprang not from memory or personal experience but from a vague, distant ‘well of creativity’ fed by a fickle, mysterious muse. 
In other words, he has no idea where it came from. Or how to find the source again. 
He desperately wants to believe his benign, rather insipid life-experiences might one day allow him to compose ‘real songs’ on par with the proper writers who sweat and toil for the company store.
Or, to employ a line Bo may have already used in one of his would-be songs: Time will tell.

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Reporter: I know you don’t like talking about this, but our readers would like to know about Dexter Fulbright. 

Bo: That was a long time ago. Are you sure they are still interested?

Reporter: Of course they are. It was a tragedy. 

Bo:  True. And tragedy sells. 

Reporter: Well, sure, I guess. I mean isn’t that what feeds your creative spirit?

Bo: Well, I mean I am ultimately the only one who knows the real percentage of fact or fiction in my songs.  When people hear my songs they might think they ‘know’ me. But unless they sit down and have a real conversation with me they can never be certain about the veracity of what they think is the truth. 

Reporter:  So it is all lies?

Bo: You’re missing the point, kid. I’m not trying to burst any bubbles. I’m just saying that this entire ‘celebrity’ obsession we have is pretty-much based on fiction, right? I will leave here today and you will publish your interview and it might be factually accurate or it might not be. I’ll never know unless the newspaper or magazine sends me a tear sheet. Which is not very likely. So maybe I’m pissed because I can’t find a new set of strings or the sound guy is a twit or I’m tired and hungry and maybe I show up for the interview feeling like shit and the writer tells his readers that I’m an egotistical prick. So maybe a few hundred or few thousand people think Bo Carter is a real prick. 

Reporter: I was not going to say you’re a prick. 

Bo:  Kid, this ain’t about you. It is not about you any more than it is about me, yeah? You have your job to do, I have mine. Hopefully we’ll both survive and go to bed tonight and sleep well and wake up and do it all again tomorrow. 

Reporter:  I guess. 

Bo: You know, we’re just talking now. You and me. I’ve taken off my singer hat and you’ve taken off your reporter hat and we’re talking about life. You seem like a nice kid. You might even be a good writer. I don’t know. I will never know. But as a person -one-on-one- you seem like a good kid. And maybe you have to toughen up if you want to make a go of this. Maybe you can’t take it any more personally than I can.

Reporter: My mother says that all the time. 

Bo: Well, maybe this is one time when your mother is right. 

Reporter: (laughs) It would be rare. But I see what you’re saying.

Bo:  Well, good. It is all a crapshoot, kid. You know? We start from scratch every day. And it will be like that as long as you do this job. So maybe you can live with that for now. Maybe later you say screw it, I don’t want to live like this anymore. You’re doing fine now. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders and if you can write and get what you want to say down on paper, that’s it. That’s all you need to worry about. The rest is bullshit. 

Reporter: Well…

Bo:  Yeah. Well, indeed. So listen, kid. I’ll give you something to take back to your editor, yeah? Cool?

Reporter: Oh yeah. (laughs)

Bo: Okay, so when I was starting out, when I was your age, I met Bob Dylan. He was only a few years older than me but he kept calling me kid. Right? Not in a mean way. He was Bob being Bob. Bob your uncle. He didn’t give a shit about anything, so why would he care about me! But the thing is, he knew my song, ‘Coal Miner’s Blues,’ right? 

Reporter: So many years ago!

Bo: (laughs) Who knows. Maybe he had heard it. Maybe he even liked it. The thing is, now I know that it does not matter whether that was true or not. Now Dexter, he did not live long enough to figure out very much. He was a kid. A real kid. He trusted everyone. He was just a good guy. He did a few things so well he never had to figure out how to do other things well, too. He lived his life. Short but sweet. 

The thing is, I miss him every day. I miss him and wish to hell I could have helped him sort out the rest of it, the things he did not understand. I could not teach him to play guitar so I guess I figured he did not need help with anything else, either. I was wrong. We were all wrong. 

Reporter:  Wow. I don’t know, Mr. Carter. Are you sure you want me to print that?

Bo: Yeah, kid. On one condition.

Reporter: Oh boy. (laughs)

Bo: The condition is, you can have this story, but if you ever get fucked up, if you ever think you can’t take it, I want you to think back to the time some old fart trusted you enough to tell you the truth. And maybe it will help you to remember that you are special and maybe that will help you buy yourself some time to sort it all out. Deal?

Reporter:  Yeah, sure Mr. Carter. 

Bo:  Bo.

Reporter:  Okay, Bo.

Bo: And listen, the next time you are sent out to talk to me, remind me who you are okay? I won’t remember.  (laughs) But if you tell me who you are we’ll talk about you and your life for a bit. Okay?

Reporter: Deal.

Bo: Deal. 

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Coal Miner’s Blues’ is the last song Bo plays every night. Most people come to his shows just to hear that song. They would be very pissed if they had to go home without hearing it
Not only that, but he is compelled to play CMB exactly the way it was originally recorded. No alternative versions are allowed.

When Bob Dylan plays a show these days he often changes some songs so drastically that some fans can barely identify the name of the song he is playing!

If Bo did that people might leave the show muttering: “Poor, guy, he can’t even remember how to play the song.”

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The Last Record Album

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About the Author

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James Porteous is modern-day hunter-gatherer in search of news, views, issues, music, film and stories that excite the imagination.

James started writing concert and record reviews when he was 14-year-old, and he has continued working as a freelance writer.

 In the meantime he worked for two decades as a visual researcher and archivist.

And yes, what a long strange trip it has been, with miles to go before I sleep.Advertisements

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