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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 101-125 of 223 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-76288 10-in. 6/17/1933 Over the garden wall Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76289 10-in. 6/17/1933 Gold watch and chain Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76290 10-in. 6/17/1933 The school-house on the hill Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-76291 10-in. 6/17/1933 Will my mother know me there? Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-76292 10-in. 6/17/1933 Faded flowers Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-76293 10-in. 6/17/1933 Poor little orphaned boy Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-76701 10-in. 6/17/1933 Give me roses while I live Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76702 10-in. 6/17/1933 I never will marry Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76703 10-in. 6/17/1933 On the sea of Galilee Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76704 10-in. 6/17/1933 Home by the sea Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76705 10-in. 6/17/1933 When the roses come again Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76706 10-in. 6/17/1933 I loved you better than you knew Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76707 10-in. 6/17/1933 This is like heaven to me Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76708 10-in. 6/17/1933 See that my grave is kept green Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76709 10-in. 6/17/1933 The old rugged cross Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76710 10-in. 6/17/1933 Will the circle be unbroken Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76711 10-in. 6/17/1933 Over the garden wall Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76712 10-in. 6/17/1933 Gold watch and chain Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76713 10-in. 6/17/1933 The school house on the hill Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76714 10-in. 6/17/1933 Will my mother know me there? Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76715 10-in. 6/17/1933 Faded flowers Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-76716 10-in. 6/17/1933 Poor little orphaned boy Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83129 10-in. 5/8/1934 Cowboy Jack Carter Family Female vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83130 10-in. 5/8/1934 I'll be all smiles tonight Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83131 10-in. 5/8/1934 Away out on the old Saint Sabbeth Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
(Results 101-125 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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