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Carter Family Classics

The Carter Family

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Album Review

Jasmine is one of the U.K.'s seemingly countless reissue labels, due in no small part to different — read: lenient — copyright laws than North America's, making compilations like this a dime a dozen. The Carter Family, however, were America's first family of country music, and this 27-track collection centers on their later years with RCA Victor between 1935-1941. All but one of these songs were written by A.P. Carter (most of his songs were based on the vast number of folk songs he'd collected anyway), the exception being the traditional "Wildwood Flower" that the Family had recorded numerous times before. In any case, there are solid performances of Carter classics such as "Hello Stranger," "My Clinch Mountain Home," "Walking the King's Highway," "You Are My Flower," "No Depression," and "Dixie Darling," among others. This is by no means a definitive collection, but it is a very representative one of the period. The sound quality is the equal of the Rounder reissues and the price point is attractive.

Biography

Formed: 1926 in Virginia

Genre: Country

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, "Carter picking," the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls — his wife, Sara,...
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