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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 26-50 of 223 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BVE-49864 10-in. 2/15/1929 Don't forget this song Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49865 10-in. 2/15/1929 The foggy mountain top Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49866 10-in. 2/15/1929 Bring back my blue-eyed boy to me Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49867 10-in. 2/15/1929 Diamonds in the rough Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-49868 10-in. 2/15/1929 Engine one-forty-three Carter Family Vocal and instrumental ensemble Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56566 10-in. 11/22/1929 The homestead on the farm Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56567 10-in. 11/22/1929 The cyclone of Ryecove Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56568 10-in. 11/22/1929 Motherless children Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56581 10-in. 11/24/1929 When the roses bloom in Dixieland Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56582 10-in. 11/24/1929 No telephone in heaven Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56583 10-in. 11/24/1929 Western hobo Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with yodeling, guitar, and steel guitar (self-accompaniment) Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56584 10-in. 11/24/1929 Carter's blues Carter Family Female vocal solo, with 2 guitars (self-accompaniment) Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56585 10-in. 11/24/1929 Wabash Cannonball Carter Family Female vocal solo, with guitar and autoharp (self-accompaniment) Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56586 10-in. 11/25/1929 A distant land to roam Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars (self-accompaniment) Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56587 10-in. 11/25/1929 Jimmie Brown, the newsboy Carter Family Female vocal solo, with guitar and autoharp (self-accompaniment) Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56588 10-in. 11/25/1929 Kitty waltz Carter Family Female vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BVE-56589 10-in. 11/25/1929 Fond affection Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with yodeling, guitar and steel guitar (self-accompaniment) Vocal group  
Victor BS-59017 10-in. 10/12/1932 Sweet as the flowers in May time Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-59018 10-in. 10/12/1932 Will the roses bloom in heaven Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-59019 10-in. 10/12/1932 On a hill lone and gray Carter Family Female vocal duet, with 2 guitars (takes 1 and 2); mixed vocal trio, with autoharp and guitar (take 3) Vocal group  
Victor BS-59020 10-in. 10/12/1932 My little home in Tennessee Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-59021 10-in. 10/12/1932 The sun of the soul Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-59022 10-in. 10/12/1932 If one won't, another one will Carter Family Female vocal solo, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-59023 10-in. 10/12/1932 The broken-hearted lover Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-59024 10-in. 10/13/1932 Two sweethearts Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
(Results 26-50 of 223 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Carter Family," accessed March 8, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

Carter Family. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 8, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

"Carter Family." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 8 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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