Sunday, February 7, 2010
Carter Family halo
On June 18, 1915, he married Sara Dougherty and they had three children: Gladys (Millard), Janette (Jett), and Joe. In 1927, he formed the Carter Family band together with his wife. They were joined by Sara's cousin, Maybelle, who was married to A.P.'s brother, Ezra Carter, and they together formed the first commercial rural Country music group. Carter was known for travelling extensively throughout the country and collecting and blending songs, particularly from Appalachian musicians. Some of the songs became so closely identified with A. P. Carter that he has been popularly, but mistakenly, credited with writing them. For example, "Keep on the Sunny Side of Life" was published in 1901 with the words being credited to Ada Blenkhorn and the music credited to Howard Entwisle, and "The Meeting in the Air" has been published giving credit for music and words to I. G. Martin.
A.P. and Sara separated in 1932, in part as a result of Sara having an affair with A.P.'s cousin, due to A.P.'s long absences from home in search of new musical ideas. They officially divorced in 1939. The band remained together for several years afterwards, but broke up in 1943. While Maybelle and her daughters continued to tour as The Carter Family, A.P. left the music business to run a general store in Virginia. In 1952, A.P. reformed The Carter Family with Sara and some of their grown children; the reunion lasted until 1956.
A.P. Carter died in Kingsport, Tennessee on November 7, 1960 at the age of 68. He was buried in the Mount Vernon Methodist Church Cemetery in Hiltons, Virginia.
There, you have the facts....
A few years ago Janice and I were in Lexington, Virginia and met a folk artist, Thurmond Whiteside.
Painting was an avocation, his vocation was publishing a small newspaper Lexinton. He was at home with either medium. His views were a little on the outspoken side, and I have a feeling his artistic sense of humor a way of making known some of his unprintable editorial views.
We invested in a few of his works, one outlandishly titled How long would it take a chicken and a half to lay an egg and a half and a one legged monkey to kick the seeds out of a dill pickle. We visited Thurmond every time we visited friends in Lexington. Thurmond was soon pumping me for "folk sayings" to paint. I obliged him when I could remember one...like "life ain't no ride on no pink duck." I heard that from a 3rd grader in West Virginia who was bemoaning the fact I broke a guitar string during a performance. Where the kid heard that is anybody's guess. Whippy as a road lizzard was another one he liked.
One of the last painting we bought from Thurmond was one entitled The Carter Family. We hung it above the computer desk, and one day in October after the leave fell, Janice looked up at the picture, and, lo and behold, there was a rainbowaround the picture, an a halo around A.P.'s head. It comes back every year and stays until about the end of February. Here for proof, is the picture and it's halo...a tribute to the first county band in the country, I surmise.
AP is sitting on the stool, Mabel and Sara are on each side, and June and Anette are the children, I can't remember which is which, though Thurmaond to me. I especially like the frame, it sora' set it off.
I heard that Thurmond is still alive, though in questionable health. I hope he's still painting...I'll try to publish one of his editorials about the addition of women to the VMI campus some years ago. It's a big ole goodun!