Their setup was primitive enough--guitar, Autoharp, and vocals--but in the late '20s the trio of A.P. Delaney Carter, his wife Sara, and his sister-in-law Maybelle would change (chart?) the course of country music forever. They did it with haunting harmonies, incredible guitar playing (thanks to Maybelle's driving strums on her Gibson L-5 guitar), and a vast repertoire that included murder ballads, gospel tunes, love songs, and Appalachian folk tunes--many of which would be covered by musicians for decades to come. Unlike their musical peers in the late '20s and early '30s, the Carters weren't just playing "hillbilly" music; this was, quite simply, country music, and their timeless output still resonates with listeners today. JSP's bargain-priced, five-CD collection is easily the most complete, essential collection of their music available, capturing and remastering their RCA Victor recordings (their later, less-seminal sessions for Decca and the American Record Company are not included). Hearing five CDs' worth of music from the Carter Family is almost sensory overload--from the initial 1927 Bristol sessions
, which Johnny Cash hailed as "the single most important event in the history of country music," to their depression-era recordings. Even today, Sara Carter's voice sounds aching, yet empowered. Whether they're yodeling through "The Foggy Mountain Top," singing a feminist anthem like "Single Girl, Married Girl," or harmonizing with Maybelle on "Worried Man Blues," you can hear the Carters' profound influence on country music. A must-have. --Jason Verlinde
These 127 tracks are the cornerstones of country. Includes Wildwood Flower; Keep on the Sunny Side; Wabash Cannonball; Worried Man Blues; Wandering Boy; Lonesome Pine Special; Foggy Mountain Top; Little Log Cabin by the Sea; Engine 143 , and more.