Tony Russell & Richard Weize’s discography of commercially recordings by the Carter Family (In the Shadow of Clinch Mountain, Bear Family Records, 2000) credits A.P. Carter with scores of arrangements and copyright credits, including these staples:

  • “Bury Me Under the Weeping Willow”
  • “Carter’s Blues”
  • “Darling Little Joe”
  • “East Virginia Blues”
  • “Foggy Mountain Top”
  • “Hello Stranger”
  • “Homestead on the Farm”
  • “Honey in the Rock”
  • “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes”
  • “I’m Working on a Building”
  • “Jimmie Brown the Newsboy”
  • “John Hardy Was a Desperate Little Man”
  • “Keep on the Sunny Side”
  • “Little Darling, Pal of Mine”
  • “My Little Home in Tennessee”
  • “Sad and Lonesome Day”
  • “Storms are on the Ocean”
  • “Wabash Cannonball”
  • “Wandering Boy”
  • “Wildwood Flower”
  • “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”
  • “Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone”
  • “You are My Flower”

Came to Fame With

  • The Carter Family, 1926-1943

Performed With

  • The Carter Family, 1926-1943
  • The A.P. Carter Family (A.P., Sara, and their children Janette and Joe), 1952, 1956

Led the Way

  • Organized and propelled into a professional music career the original Carter Family, which consisted of A.P.; his then-wife, Sara; and his sister-in-law and wife’s cousin, Maybelle.
  • First recorded at the Victor Bristol sessions of July and August, 1927, considered the “big bang” of commercial country music.
  • Collected, helped to arrange, sometimes composed, and recorded scores of songs which are now at the core of the bluegrass repertoire.
  • Country Music Hall of Fame, 1970.
  • Bluegrass Hall of Fame, 2001 (induction presentation by Bill Clifton).

By the Way

  • In 1927, before Maybelle joined the group, A.P. and Sara auditioned and were invited to record for Brunswick Records in Norton, Virginia. That company wanted to develop A.P. as “Fiddlin’ Doc” Carter and featured vocalist, so he declined.
  • A.P.’s offer to clear a patch of weeds convinced brother Ezra to let his seven-months-pregnant wife Maybelle attend the Bristol sessions.
  • Appeared just once on WSM’s “Grand Ole Opry” in Nashville.
  • Virginia Route 614, which passes through Maces Spring, is now called the A.P. Carter Highway.

From the Archives

“In A.P. [the Carter Family] had one of the greatest creative song doctors in country music history.”
Charles Wolfe in The Encyclopedia of Country Music, 1998.
“There was always a professional air to the shows themselves, with A.P. announcing each number and introducing the members of the group. Sara and Maybelle sat down to play their instruments, while A.P., always nervous, wandered around the stage… After the show they would often stay the night with friends, sometimes learning new songs if their friends were musical.”
John Atkins in “The Carter Family,” Stars of Country Music, 1975.
“In November 1953… we ended up in Richmond, Virginia, and contacted A.P. and he wrote me this letter in which he says that he was hoping we could do some work together. He had this little house up in the valley that he was aiming to give us for the winter and we could have gotten our food out of his grocery store and that he was gonna get busy and book dates for us in the spring and the summer, and that we would have plenty of work. But the fact that he thought enough of me to make that offer probably is the reason I stayed in the music.”
Bill Clifton, in Rienk Janssen, Bill Clifton: Around the World to Poor Valley, Bear Family Records, 2001.