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July 14, 2024

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The Original Carter Family
Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Columbia/Legacy)

By: Alex Steininger

The first family of country, The Original Carter Family, along with contemporary "Singing Brakeman" Jimmy Rodgers, helped move the genre away from banjo-fronted dance to the template that is currently used in "traditional" country and bluegrass.

Can The Circle Be Unbroken is comprised of twenty songs recorded during the last five years of the band's life. Seventeen during three days in May 1935, while the final three were put to tape in October 1940.

Classics like "On The Rock Where Moses Stood," "My Home Among The Hills," "Lulu Walls," "Gospel Ship," and "Cannon Ball Blues" shape country music as we now know it. "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes," "The Little Black Train," and "Single Girl, Married Girl" prove that timeless is the only word that could possibly come close to summing up The Carter Family. And "Black Jack David," "Sinking In The Lonesome Sea," and "River of Jordan" are standards you want to perform but know you'll never do them any better than this.

Led by Sara Carter's vocals and the guitar of Maybelle Carter, The Original Carter Family tells tales of life in the early 1900's in a way that folks in the year 2000 can relate too. This is country music at its finest; this is how it is supposed to be. Raw, dusty, and impeccably flawed, this is tender music for the heart. I'll give it an A+.

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