Today would be Sara Carter's 118th birthday, she was born in 1891. That's her on your left in the pic below with Maybelle Carter and A.P. Carter, The Carter Family.
The Carter Family were the hottest ticket in rural music of the 1930's. They recorded for the RCA Victor label and during the depression, they and Jimmie Rodgers sold more records than anyone else in any kind of music. If it wasn't for the hard work and ramblings of A.P. and the appealing sounds they cut, we would have lost hundreds of years of Irish and English and American folk music. I'll get into more on A.P.'s birthday and Maybelle's too. You can read lots more about The Carter Family on your own. A book I'm particularly fond of is "Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone?" by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg. Their music is still avaliable on CD, you can find them all over the internet too, and a blog I'm watching with bated breath is "Dont' Forget This Blog" a blog by a couple of guys writing and drawing a graphic novel all about our favorite first family of country music. It's definitely worth a read.
A.P. was the mind and researcher (song finder), arranger and writer of the group. He was also in love with his wife Sara.
His drive to do this music was all he had and Sara was his muse that kept him doing it, so when Sara divorced him and decided to retire from music, he stopped too.
Many years after their retirement in the early 40's, the 60's folk revival rediscovered their music. They were voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. A.P. had already passed away, but Maybelle was still performing with her daughters (Helen, June and Anita) and Sara came out of retirement to accept the award and perform on The Johnny Cash Show (Johnny and June had by this time married).
There doesn't seem to be any film footage of the Carter's performing in their heyday or of A.P. at all. Here's a couple clips though from the 60's, I believe in Johnny Cash's back yard, of Sara and Maybelle. Sara's a bit long in the tooth, and her voice is wavering, but you can really hear the cohesiveness of the Carter harmonies and the way her harpsichord blends so well with Maybelle's guitar.
Here's me doing a Carter Family song too. One A.P. might have sung with Sara in mind...the key line for me being, "All I want is your love, darling...won't you take me back...AGAIN."
Part Two of "The Carter Fold" can be found here.