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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 51-75 of 223 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-59025 10-in. 10/13/1932 The winding stream Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-59026 10-in. 10/13/1932 I wouldn't mind dying Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-59027 10-in. 10/13/1932 The spirit of love watches over me Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-59028 10-in. 10/13/1932 The church in the wildwood Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59979 10-in. 5/24/1930 The Cannon-ball Carter Family Male vocal solo, with guitar and auto-harp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59980 10-in. 5/24/1930 The lovers' farewell Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with guitar and auto-harp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59981 10-in. 5/24/1930 There's someone awaiting for me Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with yodeling, guitar, and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59982 10-in. 5/24/1930 The little log hut in the lane Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59983 10-in. 5/24/1930 When the springtime comes again Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with yodeling, steel guitar, and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59984 10-in. 5/24/1930 When the world's on fire Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with steel guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59985 10-in. 5/24/1930 I have an aged mother Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with steel guitar and auto-harp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59986 10-in. 5/24/1930 The dying soldier Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with steel guitar and auto-harp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-59987 10-in. 5/24/1930 Worried man blues Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64705 10-in. 11/24/1930 Lonesome valley Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64706 10-in. 11/24/1930 On the rock where Moses stood Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64707 10-in. 11/24/1930 Room in heaven for me Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64714 10-in. 11/25/1930 Lonesome Pine special Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars, and yodeling Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64715 10-in. 11/25/1930 No more the moon shines on Lorena Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64716 10-in. 11/25/1930 On my way to Canaan's land Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64717 10-in. 11/25/1930 Where shall I be? Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with steel guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64718 10-in. 11/25/1930 Sow 'em on the mountain Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with steel guitar, and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64719 10-in. 11/25/1930 Darling Nellie across the sea Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BVE-64720 10-in. 11/25/1930 The birds were singing of you Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BVE-69345 10-in. 5/25/1931 Weary prodigal son Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BVE-69346 10-in. 5/25/1931 My old cottage home Carter Family Female-male vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
(Results 51-75 of 223 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Carter Family," accessed March 5, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

Carter Family. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved March 5, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

"Carter Family." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 5 March 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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