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Carter Family

The Carter Family is a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on bluegrass, country, Southern Gospel, pop and rock musicians as well as on the U.S. folk revival of the 1960s. They were the first vocal group to become country music stars, and were among the first groups to record commercially produced country music in recorded history. Their first recordings were made in Bristol, Tennessee under producer Ralph Peer on August 1, 1927, the day before country singer Jimmie Rodgers also made his initial recordings under Peer. Their recordings of songs such as "Wabash Cannonball", "Can the Circle Be Unbroken", "Wildwood Flower", "Keep On the Sunny Side" and "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" made these songs country standards. The tune of the last was used for Roy Acuff's "The Great Speckled Bird", Hank Thompson's "The Wild Side of Life" and Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", making the song a hit all over again in other incarnations.

The original group consisted of A.P. Carter, his wife Sara Carter, and his sister-in-law Maybelle Carter. Maybelle was married to A.P.'s brother Ezra Carter (Eck), and was also Sara's first cousin. All three were born and raised in Southwest Virginia, where they were immersed in the tight harmonies of mountain gospel music and shape note singing.

Throughout the group's career, Sara Carter sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar or autoharp, and Maybelle sang harmony and played lead guitar. On some songs A.P. did not perform at all; on some songs he sang harmony and background vocals and occasionally he sang lead. Maybelle's distinctive guitar playing style became a hallmark of the group and her Carter Scratch (a method for playing both lead and rhythm on the guitar) has become one of the most copied styles of guitar playing. The group (in all its incarnations, see below) recorded for a number of companies including Victor, RCA, ARC group, Columbia, Okeh and various imprint labels.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 31st, 1927, Died 1943

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1927 - 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: Vocal group

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 225 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-39750 10-in. 8/1/1927 Bury me under the weeping willow Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-39751 10-in. 8/1/1927 Little log cabin by the sea Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-39752 10-in. 8/1/1927 The poor orphan child Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-39753 10-in. 8/1/1927 The storms are on the ocean Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-39754 10-in. 8/2/1927 Single girl, married girl Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-39755 10-in. 8/2/1927 The wandering boy Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45020 10-in. 5/9/1928 Meet me by moonlight, alone Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with autoharp and steel guitar Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45021 10-in. 5/9/1928 Little darling, pal of mine Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with autoharp and steel guitar Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45022 10-in. 5/9/1928 Keep on the sunny side Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45023 10-in. 5/9/1928 Anchored in love Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45024 10-in. 5/10/1928 John Hardy was a desperate little man Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45025 10-in. 5/10/1928 I ain't goin' to work tomorrow Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45026 10-in. 5/10/1928 Will you miss me when I'm gone Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45027 10-in. 5/10/1928 River of Jordan Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45028 10-in. 5/10/1928 Chewing gum Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45029 10-in. 5/10/1928 Wildwood flower Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45030 10-in. 5/10/1928 I have no one to love me (but the sailor on the deep blue sea) Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-45031 10-in. 5/10/1928 Forsaken love Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49856 10-in. 2/14/1929 Sweet fern Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49857 10-in. 2/14/1929 My Clinch Mountain home Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49858 10-in. 2/14/1929 God gave Noah the rainbow sign Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49859 10-in. 2/14/1929 I'm thinking to-night of my Blue Eyes Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49860 10-in. 2/14/1929 Little Moses Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49861 10-in. 2/14/1929 Lulu Wall Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49862 10-in. 2/14/1929 The grave on the green hillside Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
(Results 1-25 of 225 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Carter Family," accessed September 21, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

Carter Family. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved September 21, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

"Carter Family." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 21 September 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002

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