Rosa Lee Carson

Moonshine Kate (born Rosa Lee Carson, October 10, 1909, Atlanta, Georgia - 1992, Bainbridge, Georgia) was an American country and folk guitarist and banjo player who is best known for recording with her father Fiddlin' John Carson and his band, the Virginia Reelers. Kate was among the earliest recorded women in country music, and arguably her best remembered song was a rendition of her father's composition "Little Mary Phagan".

Carson was born the youngest of nine children in Atlanta, Georgia. As early as the age of five, she appeared as a vocalist and dancer at stage shows and political rallies as an accompaniment to her father's musical act. By age 14, Carson proficiently performed with the guitar and banjo as she played alongside her father on Atlanta's flagship radio station, WSB, and toured with him and the Virginia Reelers throughout Georgia. When Carson graduated from high school, she became a permanent member of the band.

In June 1925, Carson made her recording debut accompanying her father on guitar on four sides for OKeh Records. In the same session, she also recorded two solo efforts, "The Lonely Child", which was about a lonely wandering orphan, and "Little Mary Phagan". The somber ballad was composed by Fiddlin' Jon Carson in 1915, as a response to the notorious, and highly publicized murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan, which was allegedly perpetrated by her manager, Leo Frank. She played and recorded with the Virginia Reelers until 1934, adopting the stage name Moonshine Kate in 1928 at the suggestion of Okeh Records man Polk Brockman. Many of Kate's recordings for Okeh play up her name, consisting of short musical passages interspersed with quick-witted dialogues revolving around the moonshine trade.

The Great Depression ended the Carsons' recording days, and she continued to perform intermittently, also working with Eugene Talmadge on his 1932 bid for Governor of Georgia and for the Atlanta Department of Recreation. She married in 1944 and retired in Georgia. In 1983, both she and her father were inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame.

Birth and Death Data: Born October 10, 1909 (Atlanta), Died 1992 (Bainbridge)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1925 - 1934

Roles Represented in DAHR: guitar, vocalist, speaker, banjo, songwriter, composer, lyricist, yodeling

Notes: Daughter of John Carson ("Fiddlin' John Carson"). Also known as "Moonshine Kate."

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 131 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-78995 10-in. 2/27/1934 Papa's billy goat Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-78997 10-in. 2/27/1934 Mama's nanny goat Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-78998 10-in. 2/27/1934 I'm glad my wife's in Europe Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-78999 10-in. 2/27/1934 Be kind to a man when he's down Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Female-male vocal duet, with string band instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82100 10-in. 2/27/1934 You'll never miss your mother till she's gone Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82101 10-in. 2/27/1934 Since she took my licker from me Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82102 10-in. 2/27/1934 The new "Comin' 'round the mountain" Fiddlin' John Carson Mixed vocal trio, with string band vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82103 10-in. 2/27/1934 I was born four thousand years ago Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82104 10-in. 2/27/1934 When the saints go marching in Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Mixed vocal trio, with string band and talk instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82105 10-in. 2/27/1934 The honest farmer Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82106 10-in. 2/27/1934 Taxes on the farmer feeds them all Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Mixed vocal trio, with string band vocalist, instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82107 10-in. 2/27/1934 Bear me away on your snowy white wings Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Mixed vocal trio, with string band and talk instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82108 10-in. 2/27/1934 I want to make heaven my home Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Mixed vocal trio, with string band instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82109 10-in. 2/27/1934 Going where the sugar cane grows Fiddlin' John Carson Mixed vocal trio, with string band instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82110 10-in. 2/27/1934 Tennessee Wagner Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82111 10-in. 2/27/1934 The storm that struck Miami Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82112 10-in. 2/27/1934 Georgia's three dollar tag Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor BS-82113 10-in. 2/28/1934 I'm old and feeble Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82114 10-in. 2/28/1934 Old and in the way Fiddlin' John Carson Male vocal solo, with string band instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82117 10-in. 2/28/1934 Stockade blues Peanuts Brown ; Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Mixed vocal trio, with instrumental trio and talk instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Victor BS-82118 10-in. 2/28/1934 Do you ever think of me? Peanuts Brown ; Fiddlin' John Carson ; Moonshine Kate Vocal and instrumental trio, with talk and yodeling instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist, yodeling, speaker  
Victor BS-82119 10-in. 2/28/1934 Ain't no bugs on me Fiddlin' John Carson Vocal and instrumental quartet instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Columbia W140628 10-in. 5/27/1925 Little Mary Phagan Al Craver Male vocal solo, with harmonica and guitar songwriter  
OKeh 9185 10-in. 7/1/1925 Bully of the town Fiddlin' John Carson ; Virginia Reelers Instrumental quartet instrumentalist, guitar  
OKeh 9186 10-in. 7/1/1925 Hop light, lady Fiddlin' John Carson ; Virginia Reelers Instrumental quartet instrumentalist, guitar  
(Results 1-25 of 131 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Carson, Rosa Lee," accessed May 20, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/201619.

Carson, Rosa Lee. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved May 20, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/201619.

"Carson, Rosa Lee." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 20 May 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/201619

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