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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 126-150 of 223 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-83132 10-in. 5/8/1934 The Cuban soldier Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83133 10-in. 5/8/1934 Darling Little Joe Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83134 10-in. 5/8/1934 Happy or lonesome Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83135 10-in. 5/8/1934 One little word Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83136 10-in. 5/8/1934 Darling daisies Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83137 10-in. 5/8/1934 The East Virginia blues Carter Family Female vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83138 10-in. 5/8/1934 What does the deep sea say Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-83139 10-in. 5/8/1934 Lovers return Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83140 10-in. 5/8/1934 It'll aggravate your soul Carter Family Male vocal solo, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83141 10-in. 5/8/1934 Hello, Central! Give me heaven Carter Family Female vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83142 10-in. 5/8/1934 I'm working on a building Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-83143 10-in. 5/8/1934 You've been fooling me, baby Carter Family Female vocal duet, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87020 10-in. 12/11/1934 Longing for old Virginia Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87021 10-in. 12/11/1934 March winds goin' to blow my blues all away Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87022 10-in. 12/11/1934 There'll be joy, joy, joy Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87023 10-in. 12/11/1934 Home in Tennessee Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87024 10-in. 12/11/1934 Are you tired of me, my darling? Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87025 10-in. 12/11/1934 I cannot be your sweetheart Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87026 10-in. 12/11/1934 My heart's tonight in Texas Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87027 10-in. 12/11/1934 Be careful boys, don't go too far Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87028 10-in. 12/11/1934 My Virginia rose Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87029 10-in. 12/11/1934 There's no hiding place down here Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87030 10-in. 12/11/1934 Cowboy's wild song to his herd Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87031 10-in. 12/11/1934 A lad from old Virginia Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87032 10-in. 12/11/1934 Lonesome day Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
(Results 126-150 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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