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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 176-200 of 223 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 61140 10-in. 6/9/1936 No depression Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61141 10-in. 6/9/1936 Bonnie blue eyes Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61142 10-in. 6/9/1936 My honey Lou Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61143 10-in. 6/9/1936 In the shadow of the pines Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61144 10-in. 6/9/1936 Answer to weeping willow Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61145 10-in. 6/9/1936 You've been a friend to me Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61146 10-in. 9/6/1936 Where the silvery Colorado wends its way Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 61147 10-in. 9/6/1936 Lay my head beneath the rose Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62280 10-in. 6/17/1937 The broken down tramp Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62281 10-in. 6/17/1937 Lover's lane Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62282 10-in. 6/17/1937 Hold fast to the right Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62283 10-in. 6/17/1937 Lord I'm in your care Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62288 10-in. 6/18/1937 The little girl that played on my knee Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62289 10-in. 6/18/1937 You better let that liar alone Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62290 10-in. 6/17/1937 Funny when you feel that way Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62291 10-in. 6/17/1937 In the shadow of the Clinch Mountain Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62292 10-in. 6/17/1937 Hello stranger Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62293 10-in. 6/17/1937 Never let the devil get the upper hand of you Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62294 10-in. 6/17/1937 When this evening sun goes down Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62295 10-in. 6/17/1937 Jim Blake's message Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62296 10-in. 6/17/1937 Honey in the rock Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62297 10-in. 6/17/1937 Look how this world has made a change Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62298 10-in. 6/18/1937 Farewell Nellie Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62299 10-in. 6/18/1937 The only girl (I ever cared for) Carter Family Vocal group  
Decca 62300 10-in. 6/18/1937 Goodbye to the plains Carter Family Vocal group  
(Results 176-200 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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