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The Carter Family (1927-2007, 2012-) - Country Music's First Superstars, Still Going Strong after 90 Years!


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On 6/13/2018 at 12:44 PM, MC Horoscope said:

He "borrowed" his melody from a tune originally done by The Carter Family, When the World's on Fire No matter, the gentleman of the group, A.P. Carter, had for years gone door to door in Appalachia looking for songs and tunes for his group to learn and perform. I do not know if he bought them or "borrowed" them himself. The Carter Family were one of the most popular groups of the 1930s. More on The Carter Family here, including a tidbit about how they were going to be featured in a Life Magazine story that never appeared due to the attack on Pearl Harbor! Stole their thunder, to say the least, and country music was never the same!

Woody Guthrie liked to take the pious songs of The Carter Family and turn them into something more like social commentary. The Carter Family sang a lot of religious songs hoping for a better world in the next life, but WG was AGAINST songs like that because they were too passive, not working hard enough to improve life now. Not sure where I got that nugget, probably the WG biography by Joe Klein or maybe even Guthrie's own book Bound for Glory, which is not an easy read I have to say.

Arlo Guthrie definitely makes it a point to sing these forgotten verses posted above.

Neal, I listened to "When the World's on Fire," and it's absolutely amazing - Woody didn't do much at all with this one, did he. That said, I still don't know if he was proud or ashamed to be an American - I can see it both ways, which is probably the point.

Although I didn't quite understand all the words (I'm sure I could find them on the internet), there's a certain innocence to The Carter Family's song that I find sweet and charming.

Trivia: June Carter is a distant cousin of President Jimmy Carter (!)


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Thanks. I never heard that before about the Carter Family connection to the President!

Glad you liked the song. Very sweet, like most of their stuff. But this particular recording featured A.P. more than the women so it wasn't too representative of their sound. Doesn't showcase just what kind of singer Sara Dougherty Carter was. I am a sucker for polls whenever I see one asking who's your fave country singers but I ALWAYS name her in my group. Probably lots of YouTube vids of her in the lead all over. This one is from the 1960s, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, does not have A.P. on it. Parlor songs, morality songs. Stuff of the early 1900s for sure. Three Little Strangers! Yes, I am a big MOOSH!

No, WG didn't change the melody much. I love his lyrics though!

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