The Carter Sisters performed traditional songs, many of which came from the original Carter family, and mixed this with popular and gospel music, as well as comedy. The songs played in the shows included “Eight more miles to Loisville,” Divorce Cod,” “An old-fashioned hoedown,” “Sourwood Mountain,” “Oklahoma,” “Skip to my loo,” “Cindy,” “Beautiful Morning Glory,” “Precious Memories,” “No Vacancies,” and ‘I Wish I had a Nickel.” Apart from the vocals, each of the sisters played instruments: Helen with guitar, autoharp, and accordion; Anita with stand-up bass; and June with the autoharp. Mother Maybelle, in turn, plays the guitar and is famous for her Carter Scratch.
The Carter Sisters first record was with Victor RCA Records released in February 1949. In the 1950s, the group recorded many singles, among them were “Little Orphan Girl,” “Wildwood Flower,” “Time’s a Wastin,” and “You are My Flower.” In 1952, the group transferred to Columbia Records. Four albums were released by the label for the Carter Sisters from 1965 to 1982.
The Carter Sisters, Helen (1927-1998), June (1929- 2003), Anita (1933-1999 ), daughters of Maybelle Carter and Ezra Carter, are the second generation Carter Family. They are the nieces of Ezra’s brother AP Carter and his wife Sara who is also Maybelle’s cousin. Alvin Pleasant Delaney A.P. Carter, Sara Dougherty Carter, and Maybelle Addington Carter were the members of the original Carter Family who hailed from the Appalachia region. Early in the 1900s the Carter family was already performing in their area. Sara, AP, and Maybelle were considered the first family of country music. Their first recording in 1927, via the talent search of Ralph Peer from the Victor Talking Machine Company, contributed to the birth of country music. They became very popular and the Carter Sisters were heard on radio shows and also performed in many different venues. When their group disbanded in 1943, their children and the next Carter generations carried on the tradition of making beautiful music. The Carter Sisters claimed the name Carter Family in 1960 after AP Carter died. They recorded with Columbia as the (second generation) Carter Family and released “Travelin’ Minstrel Band” in 1972, and “Three Generations” in 1974. In 1978, Mother Maybelle died and the Carter Sisters performed only in a few occasions after that.
Enjoy this broadcast from Old Time Radio’s collection of Carter Sisters Radio Shows: