The Carter Family

Best of the Carter Family [Prism]

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While they may not be the most exciting of the Appalachian string bands of the early '20s, the Carter Family was certainly the most subtly innovative, beginning with Maybelle Carter's bass string-heavy guitar playing. Combined with A.P. Carter's knack for spotting a good song and the trio's clear, haunting vocal style, the music they made has given them a secure spot as country's first big stars. More importantly, A.P.'s collection of Appalachian folk songs (although he is listed as the composer of many of them, he simply collected and refined them) has given American country music a solid historical base. This collection lacks a couple of key signature songs ("Wabash Cannonball," "Will the Circle Be Unbroken"), but delivers plenty of Carter Family standards, including what is probably the definitive version of "John Hardy."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2 3:09
3 2:53
4 2:45
5 2:45
6 2:55
7 3:02
8 3:17
9 3:05
10 3:14
11 3:11
12 3:02
13 2:44
14 2:54
15 2:47
16 2:55
17 3:20
18 2:44
19 2:48
20 3:15
21 3:03
22 2:40
23 3:04
24
3:23
blue highlight denotes track pick