Web resources about the legendary Carter Family
"Country music begins here"

The Carter Family made their first recordings for Ralph Peer on the Victor label in 1927, in Bristol, Tennessee.  During the next 17 years they recorded some 300 old-time ballads, traditional tunes, country songs, and Gospel hymns, all representative of America's southeastern folklore and heritage.  The original Family consisted of Mother Maybelle Addington Carter (1909-1979), who played guitar and sang harmony; Sara Dougherty (1898-1979), who played autoharp and sang alto lead; and Sara’s husband, Alvin Pleasant (A.P.) Carter (d.1960), who played fiddle and sang bass. -  Arnold Shaw - American Dictionary of Pop/Rock

Brief biography of the Carter Family with some song clips.

Video clip from the 1950's of Maybelle's daughters June, Helen, and Anita who carried on the legacy for more than two decades after the original Carter's left the studio.  Link is at the bottom of that page.  Clip is in QuickTime format, about 13 seconds in length.

Lyrics to the Carter Family Songs.

Bristol, Tenn., home of their and Jimmie Rodgers famous 1927 recording sessions and therefore considered the birthplace of country music.

Recommeded recordings

The Carter Family: 1927-1934
By fusing the concept of hillbilly string music with the vocal harmonies of religious music and then attaching this fusion to these timeless songs, they helped give country music its foundation, both sonically and spiritually.
Their legendary original RCA sessions now remastered in a 5 CD box set, reasonably priced at under $26.

Wildwood Flower
If you cannot afford the above box set, this 25-song compilation provides a very useful overview of their work

In The Shadow of Clinch Mountain
A "must have" for the serious collector.
"The Carter Family has often been called the first family of country music, and no better argument for this claim can be made than this massive (and expensive) 12 CD set. Recorded for a variety of record companies between 1927 and 1941, this set includes all of the studio recordings made by the trio before they went their separate ways. The box set includes a 220 page, hardcover book that includes all known photographs of the Carters, as well as program notes, song lyrics, an essay from noted country music scholar Charles Wolfe, and a complete discography."

Recommended Videos

The Carter Family: Will the Circle be Unbroken.

Recommended Books

Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? The Carter Family & Their Legacy in American Music
*Starred Review* from Booklist: The Original Carter Family's 300-plus recordings, many of  songs considered traditional and authorless, are the bedrock of country music. Inarguably one of the best country-music books ever written...

The Original Carter Family by Hal Leonard (Editor), Johnny Cash
This book salutes them, assembling 11 of their most popular songs, many photos and an extensive biography by Johnny Cash ...


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