Sunday, May 9, 2010

Here's to Mother Maybelle Carter and All the Mothers Everywhere!

Happy Mother's Day!

My own mother has traipsed off this mortal coil, lo nearly a decade ago, that's her above posed proudly with her brood about 1965 or so. Mom, Dad and seven offspring at my big sister's marryin' off day. Your friendly blogger can be seen in the lower left, horizontally striped cardigan and all...probably eyeing the room searching out the buffet table.

Even though Mom's no longer with us, the great thing about mothers is...if you listen can hear their voice in the back of your head all day long every day telling you what NOT to do.

Here's to all those mothers still out there though, whether it's your 1st Mother's Day or your 70th, tip a mimosa at brunch for me!

Tomorrow is the birthday of the mother of The First Family of Country Music. Mother Maybelle Carter was born 101 years ago on May 10, 1909.

I've spoken at length about The Carter Family here before, see those posts here, and I've also directed you all to a couple of creative folks who are working diligently on a graphic novelization of the story of The Carter Family and have done more research than I can even fathom and can tell you a lot more than I ever could. Find their blog here to follow the progress. They're deeply entrenched in legal clearance of music and such...but I am anxiously awaiting the fruition of their labor of love.

Since I've already covered this ground before, and since we're all ankle deep in the afore-mentioned Mother's Day mimosas, let's just sit back and revel in some of Mother Maybelle's music! Her self-taught guitar style has been an influence on country and folk guitar scratchers for almost a century now, in fact her strumming is sometimes called "The Carter Scratch". Playing the rhythm with the bass strings with her thumb and picking out melody simultaneously on the treble strings with her fingers, the sound is unmistakable.

"Gold Watch and Chain" with The Foggy Mountain Boys:

As she grew older, guitar became a problem for arthritic fingers and she would often play the auto harp like her cousin Sara had in the Carter Family days. Here's "Black Mountain Rag" being introduced by her son in law Johnny Cash:

Here she is reunited with her cousin Sara just after being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame with Johnny Cash singing A.P.'s part and June Carter adding additional harmonies. Beautiful stuff!:

Finishing up, a treacly, saccharine, over-the-top tribute to Maybelle by her daughters Helen, June and Anita with Johnny Cash kicking right in with a Tex Ritter type soliloquy. But Hey...if you can't be treacly, saccharine and over-the-top about mom, then you're in pretty bad shape!:

Happy Mother's Day! There's more mimosas to be had!

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