Songs of the original Carter Family

The Original Carter Family, Alvin Pleasant Carter, his wife Sara, and her cousin Maybelle, were a major influence in the development of American country music.   Through hundereds of recordings, personal appearances, and radio programs carried on dozens of stations, they reached devoted fans across the country and the world.

Their music, a composite of traditional ballads, blues songs, gospel numbers, heart songs, and instrumentals both reflected and shaped the tastes of the rural south. Sara's supurb alto voice, combined with A.P.'s song writing and collecting, were enhanced by Maybelle's innovative and formative guitar lead style.

The song texts here are intended for study and comparison to later country and bluegrass versions.

Links: Complete song texts

NPR program on the Carters

Complete Carter Family Discography

The Original Carter Family
Standing: AP and Sara - Seated: Maybelle


Here, you will find a complete collection of the words to the songs as recorded by the Carter Family from 1927 to 1941. They are supplied here for study purposes only. There are three ways to locate songs:

1) A Complete Song Index by titles

2) Click on the first letter of the title. (Letters with no links have no songs.)  A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S  T U V W X Y Z


CD Release of "How To Play
Carter-Style Guitar" 

Bear Family Records has released a great boxed set of all the recordings of the original Carter Family, along with a large book discussing the family and their songs. Unfortunately, they did not think to include an index(!)

We have prepared a complete index to this set as a spreadsheet file, which can be downloaded by clicking on the image to the right ------->.

Clinch Mountain Carter Indext

Carter Family Index

If you have additions or corrections, please let us know via email

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