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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 151-175 of 223 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-87033 10-in. 12/11/1934 The evening bells are ringing Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87034 10-in. 12/11/1934 The little dobe shack Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87035 10-in. 12/11/1934 The mountains of Tennessee Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87036 10-in. 12/11/1934 Texas girl Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-87037 10-in. 12/11/1934 I'll be home some day Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87038 10-in. 12/11/1934 Faded coat of blue Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with 2 guitars Vocal group  
Victor BS-87039 10-in. 12/11/1934 Sailor boy Carter Family Female vocal duet, with guitar and autoharp Vocal group  
Victor BS-067991 10-in. 10/14/1941 Dark and stormy weather Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Victor BS-067992 10-in. 10/14/1941 In the valley of the Shenandoah Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Victor BS-067993 10-in. 10/14/1941 The girl on the greenbrier shore Carter Family Female vocal duet, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Victor BS-067994 10-in. 10/14/1941 Something got a hold of me Carter Family Male vocal solo, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Victor BS-067995 10-in. 10/14/1941 Fifty miles of elbow room Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Victor BS-067996 10-in. 10/14/1941 Keep on the firing line Carter Family Mixed vocal trio, with autoharp and guitar Vocal group  
Decca 61128 10-in. 6/8/1936 My Dixie darling Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61129 10-in. 6/8/1936 Give me your love and I'll give you mine Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61130 10-in. 6/8/1936 Are you lonesome tonight Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61131 10-in. 6/8/1936 The last move for me Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61132 10-in. 6/8/1936 The way worn traveler Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61133 10-in. 6/8/1936 Just another broken heart Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61134 10-in. 6/8/1936 When the silver threads are gold again Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61135 10-in. 6/8/1936 There's no one like mother to me Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61136 10-in. 6/8/1936 In a little village churchyard Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61137 10-in. 6/8/1936 Jealous hearted me Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61138 10-in. 6/8/1936 My native home Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61139 10-in. 6/8/1936 Sweet heaven in my view Carter Family Vocal group  
(Results 151-175 of 223 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Carter Family," accessed February 25, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

Carter Family. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved February 25, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103002.

"Carter Family." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 25 February 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

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

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