The Carter Family's Commercially Released Recordings: Playing Position, Pitch and Arrangements

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The Carter Family's Commercially Released Recordings: Playing Position, Pitch and Arrangements

Compiled by John Miller and Laurel Bliss

These tables collect information on the Carter Family's commercial recordings, from their first sessions in Bristol, Tennessee on August 1 and 2, 1927 to their last session, in New York City on October 14, 1941. The group was extremely popular and prolific; for the period covered by these tables, they recorded 281 titles, with several songs recorded in multiple versions. The members of the Carter Family, as originally recorded were A.P. Carter, who most often sang harmony parts (he had a few lead vocals, too), Sara Carter, on lead vocals and autoharp or guitar, and Maybelle Carter, on lead guitar and harmony vocals. Where vocal arrangements are indicated in the tables, they will often be shown as "Sara/trio". In such an instance, Sara sings the verses alone, with Maybelle and A.P. joining in on the chorus.
For songs with only one guitar, Maybelle was the guitarist, and unless an alternate tuning is indicated, assume the guitar(s) were in standard tuning (though very possibly low, and more rarely high of concert pitch). Playback pitches flat of concert pitch are indicated with a minus sign, -, and playback keys sharp of concert pitch are indicated with a plus sign, +. Multiple minus or plus signs are used to indicate intensified flatness or sharpness.

My thanks to Laurel Bliss for making her complete recordings of the Carter Family available to me for listening and for sharing her deep knowledge of their performances and repertoire with me.

The Bristol Sessions--August 1-2, 1927

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPosition/TuningPitch
Bury Me Beneath the Willow8/1/1927guitar/autoharptrioC positionB
Little Log Cabin By the Sea8/1/1927guitar/autoharpSara/A.P.C positionB
Poor Orphan Child8/1/1927guitar/autoharpSara/A.P.C positionB
The Storms Are On the Ocean8/1/1927guitar/autoharpSara/trioC positionB
Single Girl, Married Girl8/2/1927guitar/autoharpSaraF positionE
The Wandering Boy8/2/2027guitar/autoharpSaraC positionB


NOTE:
The Carter Family's first sessions set a trend that most of their subsequent sessions were to follow. The driving force behind key selection was unquestionably whatever key worked best for Sara's singing. That having been determined, the next step was to match up her singing key with Maybelle's comfort zone for preferred playing positions, and then, if possible, avoid re-tuning. Tuning a half-step low to sound in B when playing out of the C position, her favorite playing position, makes perfect sense, but tuning a half-step low to sound in E while playing in an F position, as on "Single Girl, Married Girl" is perhaps less obvious, though Maybelle was to prove to be very adroit with and comfortable in F position.

The Camden Sessions--May 9-10, 1928

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Meet Me By The Moonlight Alone5/9/1928steel guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.Lap-style slide in Vestapol, EBEG#BEE
Little Darling Pal Of Mine5/9/1928steel guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.Lap-style slide in Vestapol, EBEG#BEE
Keep On The Sunny Side5/9/1928guitar, autoharpSara/A.P., trioC positionB
Anchored In Love5/9/1928guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.C positionB
John Hardy Was A Desperate Little Man5/10/1928guitarSaraC positionB
I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow5/10/1928guitar, autoharpSaraG positionE
Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone5/10/1928guitarSara, A.P.G positionE
River of Jordan5/10/1928guitar/autoharptrioC positionB
Chewing Gum5/10/1928guitar/autoharpSaraF positionE
Wildwood Flower5/10/1928guitar/guitarSaraMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionB flat--
I Have No One To Love Me5/10/1928guitar/autoharptrioC positionB
Forsaken Love5/10/1928guitar/autoharpSara/A.P.C positionB
Sweet Fern5/10/1928steel guitar, guitarSaraMaybelle, Vestapol at E flat, played lap-style in A flat, Sara, C positionA flat
My Clinch Mountain Home5/10/1928steel guitar, guitarA.P./ SaraMaybelle, Vestapol at E flat, played lap-style in A flat, Sara, C positionA flat
God Gave Noah The Rainbow Sign5/10/1928guitar, autoharptrioC positionA
I'm Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes5/10/1928guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.C positionA
Little Moses5/10/1928guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA
Lulu Walls5/10/1928guitar, autoharptrioC positionA
Grave On The Green Hillside5/10/1928guitar/autoharpSara/trioC positionA


NOTES:
The Carter Family's sessions in Camden, New Jersey on May 9th and 10th of 1928 are notable instrumentally because they are the first sessions for which Maybelle played lap-style slide guitar and Sara played guitar. Maybelle's playing on "Sweet Fern" and "My Clinch Mountain Home" is especially striking in that she was not playing in the key of the tuning, i.e., her guitar was tuned to E flat and she was playing in A flat. This is commonplace for present-day lap-slide and pedal steel players, but was not done very often by Country Blues players of the Carter Family's era, most of whom when playing slide stuck to whatever key their guitar was tuned to. Sara's guitar playing on these very early tracks on which she played is very quiet and unaggressive time-keeping. For the last five tunes in the session, Maybelle was tuned a full minor third (a step-and-a-half) low. I think that having more than one guitar in the studio probably reduced the amount of time spent re-tuning the guitar.

May 10, 1928 was the first day in the studio in which the Carter Family really hit their stride and gave some indication of how incredibly productive they would come to be at many of their sessions in the future: 15 songs in one day in the studio! These are strong takes, too--not nice but flawed renditions. One thing that it would be fascinating to know is if they sang from lyric sheets or had their lyrics memorized. If the lyrics were memorized, the productivity is all the more remarkable.

The 1929 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Don't Forget This Song2/15/1929steel guitar, guitarSara/A.P.Maybelle, Vestapol at E flat, lap-style, key of A flat, Sara, C positionA flat
Foggy Mountain Top2/15/1929steel guitar, guitarSara/A.P.Maybelle, Vestapol at E flat, lap-style, key of A flat++, Sara, C positionA flat++
Bring Back My Blue-Eyed Boy to Me2/15/1929guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA+
Diamonds In The Rough2/15/2029guitarSara/trioC positionB flat
Engine 1432/15/1929guitar, autoharpSaraC positionA+
Homestead On the Farm11/22/1929guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionB flat++
Cyclone of Rye Cove11/22/1929guitar, autoharptrioC positionB flat++
Motherless Children11/22/1929guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.C positionB flat++
When the Roses Bloom in Dixieland11/24/1929guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionB flat+
No Telephone In Heaven11/24/1929guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionB flat+
Western Hobo11/24/1929steel guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, Spanish tuning (CFCFAC) lap-style at F, Sara, G position F
Carter's Blues11/24/1929guitar, guitarSaraMaybelle, G position, Sara, G positionG
Wabash Cannonball11/24/1929guitar, autoharpSaraC positionB flat
A Distant Land to Roam11/25/1929guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, G position, Sara, G positionF-
Jimmy Brown, the Newsboy11/25/1929guitar, autoharpSaraC positionB flat
Kitty Waltz11/25/1929guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionC--
Fond Affection11/25/1929steel guitar, guitarMaybelle, Spanish tuning at F-, lap-style, Sara, G positionF-


NOTE: When you look at the performances the Carter Family did in which you have several tunes more or less consecutively at a session that fall between the cracks in terms of pitch, for instance the three tunes from the 11/22/1929 session that ended up in B flat++, it seems that most often the driving force was the pitch at which the autoharp was tuned, since it was much easier for the guitar to accommodate the autoharp's tuning than for the autoharp to accommodate the guitar's tuning. For any given session, the tunes utilizing autoharp tended to be in one or two closely related keys. Having Sara play guitar made for a much more flexible arrangement in terms of the keys in which songs could be conveniently played.

The 1930 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
The Cannonball5/24/1930guitar, autoharpA.P.C positionC#++
Lover's Farewell5/24/1930guitar, autoharpA.P./trioC positionC#++
There's Someone A-Waiting For Me5/24/1930guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.C positionC#++
Little Log Hut In the Lane5/24/1930guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionB flat++
When The Springtime Comes Again5/24/1930steel guitar, autoharpSpanish tuning, lap-style in the key of the IV chordC#++
When the World's On Fire5/24/1930steel guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.Spanish tuning, lap-style in the key of the IV chordC#++
I Have An Aged Mother5/24/1930steel guitar, autoharpSara/trioSpanish tuning, lap-style in the key of the IV chordC-
Dying Soldier5/24/1930steel guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.Spanish tuning, lap-style in the key of the IV chordC-
Worried Man Blues5/24/1930guitar, autoharptrioC positionB flat+
Lonesome Valley11/24/1930guitar, autoharptrioC positionA+
On The Rock Where Moses Stood11/24/1930guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA+
Room In Heaven For Me11/24/1930guitar, autoharpSara/A.P./trioC positionA+
Lonesome Pine Special11/25/1930guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position w/capo, Sara, G positionF#-
No More the Moon Shines On Lorena11/25/1930guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA
On My Way To Canaan's Land11/25/1930guitar, autoharptrioC positionA
Where Shall I Be11/25/1930steel guitar, autoharptrioSpanish tuning, lap-style in AA
Sow 'Em On the Mountain11/25/1930steel guitar, autoharpSara/A.P.Spanish tuning, lap-style in AA
Darling Nellie Across The Sea11/25/1930guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA
Birds Were A-Singing of You11/25/1930guitarSara/trioG positionE


The 1931 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Weary Prodigal Son5/25/1931guitar, guitarMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF++
My Old Cottage Home5/25/1931guitar, guitarMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF++
When I'm Home5/25/1931guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
Sunshine In The Shadows5/25/1931guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
Let The Church Roll On5/25/1931guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
Lonesome For You5/26/1931guitarSara/A.P.Maybelle, C positionB
Can't Feel At Home5/26/1931guitar/autoharpSara/A.P., trioMaybelle, C positionBlat+
Why there's A Tear In My Eye6/10/1931guitar/guitarJimmie Rodgers/SaraMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#
The Wonderful City6/10/1931guitar/guitarMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#


NOTE: The Carter Family's sessions in 1930 and 1931 were shorter sessions, but considering how much the Depression had disrupted the recording industry by then, they still recorded a decent number of titles. The 11/25/1930 was notable for being the last session at which Maybelle would play lap-slide guitar. It was also the first session at which Maybelle would use a capo; she was to use the capo more and more as the years went by and Sara began to use one as well, on the later sessions. Use of the capo opened up the Family's instrumental sound quite a lot. By the time of these sessions, the Carter Family had pretty much settled on their repertoire combination--traditional songs along with sentimental "parlor" songs, country gospel songs and hymns and the occasional blues or novelty number.

The 1932 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Mid The Green Fields of Virginia2/23/1932guitar, autoharptrioC positionA-
Happiest Days of All2/23/1932guitar, autoharptrioC positionA-
PIcture on the Wall2/23/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF+
Amber Tresses2/23/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF+
I Never Loved But One2/23/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF+
Tell Me That You Love Me2/23/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Where We'll Never Grow Old2/23/1932guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
We Will March Through the Streets of the City2/23/1932guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF--
Sweet As the Flowers in the Maytime10/12/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Will the Roses Bloom In Heaven10/12/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
My Little Home in Tennessee10/12/1932guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
Sun of the Soul10/12/1932guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
If One Won't, Another One Will10/12/1932guitar, guitarSaraMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Broken Hearted Lover10/12/1932guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
Two Sweethearts10/13/1932guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat+
Winding Stream10/13/1932guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionB flat
I Wouldn't Mind Dying10/13/1932guitar, guitarA.P./SaraMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionB flat
Spirit of Love Watches Over Me10/13/1932guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Church in the Wildwood10/13/1932guitar, autoharpA.P., Sara/trioMaybelle, C positionB flat


The 1933 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Give Me Roses While I Live6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
I Never Will Marry6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
On the Sea of Galilee6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
Home By the Sea6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
When the Roses Come Again6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
I Loved You Better Than You Knew6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
This Is Like Heaven To Me6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
See That My Grave Is Kept Green6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#--
Over the Garden Wall6/17/1933guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capoE flat-
Gold Watch and Chain6/17/1933guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capoE flat-
School House On the Hill6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Will My Mother Know Me There6/17/1933guitar, guitarSara, A.P./trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Faded Flowers6/17/1933guitar, guitarMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG
Poor Little Orphan Boy6/17/1933guitar, guitarMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionG


1934 Sessions in Camden

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
On A Hill Lone and Gray5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, Capo, Sara, G positionF
Cowboy Jack5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionB flat
I'll Be All Smiles Tonight5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionB flat
Away Out On the Old Saint Sabboth5/8/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA
Darling Little Joe5/8/1934guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA
Happy Or Lonesome5/8/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA
One Little Word5/8/1934guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C positionA
Darling Daisies5/8/1934guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C positionA
East Virginia Blues5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, Capo, Sara, G positionF
Lover's Return5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, Capo, Sara, G positionF
It'll Aggravate Your Soul5/8/1934guitar, guitarA.P.Maybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
Hello Central, Give Me Heaven5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
I'm Working On A Building5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
You've Been Fooling Me Baby5/8/1934guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
Longing For Old Virginia12/11/1934guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C positionA flat+
March Winds Gonna Blow My Blues Away12/11/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat+
There'll Be Joy, Joy, Joy12/11/1934guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat+
Home In Tennessee12/11/1934guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat+
Are You Tired Of Me, My Darling12/11/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat+
I Cannot Be Your Sweetheart12/11/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat+
My Heart's Tonight In Texas12/11/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat+
There's No Hiding Place Down Here12/11/1934guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionD flat++
Cowboy's Wild Song to His Herd12/11/1934guitar/autoharpSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C positionD flat++
Evening Bells Are Ringing12/11/1934guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
Mountains of Tennessee12/11/1934guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
I'll Be Home Someday12/11/1934guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
Faded Coat of Blue12/11/1934guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
Sailor Boy12/11/1934guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+


NOTE: The Carter Family's 1934 sessions reveal another reason for their amazing productivity in the relatively little time they spent in the studio: their choice to record, quite often, multiple songs employing the same instrumentation and playing position consecutively. The 5/18 session has five consecutive tunes with autoharp in A and Maybelle playing out of the C position. In the same session, there are six consecutive songs with both Sara and Maybelle playing guitars out of different positions and sounding in F. The 12/11 sessions open with Maybelle playing out of C position and sounding at A flat+ with the autoharp for seven consecutive songs. It's a tribute to the group's focus and professionalism that they were able to continue to get fresh sounding takes when playing so many songs consecutively in the same key.

New York 1935 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Glory to the Lamb5/5/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionD flat
Behind Those Stone Walls5/5/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, F positionA flat
Sinking in the Lonesome Sea5/5/1935guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capoE flat+
He Took A White Rose From Her Hair5/6/1935guitar, autoharpSara/Maybelle/A.P.Maybelle, C positionA flat
Can the Circle Be Unbroken5/6/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Let's Be Lovers Again5/6/1935guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Your Mother Still Prays (For You, Jack)5/6/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Kissing Is A Crime5/6/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Don't Forget Me, Little Darling5/7/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
Sad and Lonesome Day5/7/1935guitar/guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
By the Touch of Her Hand5/7/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
East Virginia Blues #25/7/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
My Old Virginia Home5/7/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
My Virginia Rose Is Blooming5/7/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, F positionA flat
My Texas Girl5/7/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
No Other's Bride I'll Be5/7/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
Gathering Flowers From the Hillside5/7/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
Gospel Ship5/7/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE+
Little Black Train5/7/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Keep On the Sunny Side5/8/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
River of Jordan5/8/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Lonesome Valley5/8/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign5/8/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Single Girl, Married Girl5/8/1935guitar, autoharpSaraMaybelle, C positionA flat
The Fate of Dewey Lee5/8/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, C position, capoE
Wildwood Flower5/8/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, C position, capoE
Sea of Galilee5/9/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, C position, capoD+
Don't Forget This Song5/9/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, C position, capoD
My Clinch Mountain Home5/9/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, G position, capo, Sara, G position, capoA
The Storms Are On the Ocean5/9/1935guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, C position, capoD
Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone5/9/1935guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, G position, capo, Sara, G position, capoB flat
Broken Hearted Lover5/9/1935guitar, guitarSara, A.P./trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, C position, capoE flat
Little Darling, Pal Of Mine5/10/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
The Homestead On the Farm5/10/1935guitar/autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Cannon Ball Blues5/10/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Meet Me By Moonlight Alone5/10/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
On the Rock Where Moses Stood5/10/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Lulu Walls5/10/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat
I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes5/10/1935guitar, autoharpSara/trioMaybelle, C positionA flat
Worried Man Blues5/10/1935guitar, autoharptrioMaybelle, C positionA flat


NOTES: Thanks to Chris Berry for the information that the relatively heavy number of songs the Carter Family re-recorded at these sessions was due to the fact that they had switched record labels, from Victor to Decca, and Decca wanted to be able to benefit from sales of some of their most popular records.

By scheduling the sessions for six consecutive days, I expect the recordings ended up being less disruptive to the Carter Family's lives at home than doing sessions two or three times over the course of the year would have been. Also, getting into such a focused work mode away from home allowed the group to work up a head of steam and record a lot of titles. On 5/10 alone, they recorded 8 consecutive titles in A flat with the same instrumentation and playing position for Maybelle.

New York 1936 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
My Dixie Darling6/8/1936guitar, autoharptrioC positionA flat
Give Me Your Love and I'll Give You Mine6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat
Are You Lonesome Tonight6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat
The Last Move For Me6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat
The Wayworn Traveller6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat
Just Another Broken Heart6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat
When Silver Threads Are Gold Again6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat
There's No One Like Mother to Me6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat
In A Little Village Churchyard6/8/1936guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat
Jealous Hearted Me6/8/1936guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat
My Native Home6/8/1936guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat
Sweet Heaven In My View6/8/1936guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat
No Depression (In Heaven)6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
Bonnie Blue Eyes6/9/1936guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
My Honey Lou6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
In the Shadow Of the Pines6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
Answer to Weeping Willow6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
You've Been A Friend to Me6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
Where the Silvery Colorado Wends Its Way6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF
Lay My Head Beneath the Rose6/9/1936guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat
No Depression In Heaven6/10/1936guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
No Native Home6/10/1936guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
Jealous Hearted Me6/10/1936guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
A Distant Land to Roam6/10/1936guitar, guitarSaraMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat+
I'm Working On A Building6/10/1936guitar, guitarSaraMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat
East Virginia Blues #26/10/1936guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionE flat
My Dixie Darling6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat
Keep On the Sunny Side6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat
Kissing Is A Crime6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat
Single Girl, Married Girl6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSaraC positionA flat
Little Darling Pal of Mine6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat
Lonesome Valley6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat
Cannonball Blues6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSaraC positionA flat
Happy Or Lonesome6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat
Are You Lonesome Tonight6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat
Just Another Broken Heart6/10/1936guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat


New York 1937 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
The Broken Down Tramp6/17/1937guitar, autoharptrioF positionD
Lover's Lane6/17/1937guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/A.P., last chorusC positionA
Hold Fast to the Right6/17/1937guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioF positionD+
Lord, I'm In Your Care6/17/1937guitar, autoharptrioC positionA--
Funny When You Feel That Way6/17/1937guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioF positionD
In the Shadow of Clinch Mountain6/17/1937guitar, autoharpSara/trioF positionD
Hello Stranger6/17/1937guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA+
Never Let the Devil Get the Upper Hand of You6/17/1937guitar, autoharptrioF positionD--
When the Evening Sun Goes Down6/17/1937guitar, guitarSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionE-
Jim Blake's Message6/17/1937guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionE-
Honey In the Rock6/17/1937guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionE
Look How the World Has Made A Change6/17/1937guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionE
Little Girl that Played Upon My Knee6/18/1937guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF+
You Better Leave That Liar Alone6/18/1937guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF+
Farewell Nellie6/18/1937guitar, guitarSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF+
The Only Girl I Ever Cared About6/18/1937guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF
Goodbye to the Plains6/18/1937guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF
My Home's Across the Blue Ridge Mountains6/18/1937guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF
Dark Haired True Lover6/18/1937guitar, guitarSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF
He Never Came Back6/18/1937guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, Sara, C positionC


The June 8, 1938 New York Session

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Happy In Prison6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat+
Waiting in the King's Highway6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat+
St. Regious Girl6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat+
Just A Few More Days6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA
Bring Back My Boy6/8/1938guitar, autoharptrioC positionA flat+
It Is Better Farther On6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat+
Charlie and Nellie6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat+
Cuban Soldier6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat+
Heart That Has Broken For Me6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA
You're Nothing More To Me6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA
Stern Old Bachelor6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA flat+
Little Joe6/8/1938guitar, autoharptrioC positionA flat+
Reckless Motorman6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF#++
You Denied Your Love6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, F positionF#++
Oh Take Me Back6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, E position, Sara, E positionE flat++
You Are My Flower6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, Sara, G position, capoB flat+
Who's That Knocking At My Window6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, C position, capoE flat++
They Call Her Mother6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, Sara, G position, capoB flat++
Coal Miner's Blues6/8/1938guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, G position, Sara, C position, capoF-
Young Freda Holt6/8/1938guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC positionA


The Chicago 1940 Sessions

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Little Poplar Log House On The Hill10/3/1940guitar, autoharptrioC positionA flat++
The Dying Mother10/3/1940guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat++
Buddies In the Saddle10/3/1940guitar, autoharpSara, Maybelle/trioC positionA flat++
Heaven's Radio10/3/1940guitar, autoharptrioC positionA flat++
Beautiful Home10/3/1940guitar, autoharptrioC positionA flat++
There'll Be No Distinction There10/3/1940guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA flat++
Give Him One More As He Goes10/3/1940guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#-
Lonesome For You Darling10/3/1940guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#-
Blackie's Gunman10/3/1940guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#-
You've Got to Righten That Wrong10/4/1940guitar, guitarSara/trioMaybelle, G position, Sara, C position, capoF#-
Meeting In the Air10/4/1940guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, capo, Sara, C positionB+
My Home Among the Hills10/4/1940guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#++
Black Jack David10/4/1940guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, G positionF#++
Look Away From the Cross10/4/1940guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#++
We Shall Rise10/4/1940guitar, autoharptrioC positionA--
I Found You Among the Roses10/4/1940guitar, guitarA.P.Maybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#++
Bear Creek Blues10/4/1940guitar, autoharpSaraG positionE--
I'll Never Forsake You10/4/1940guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC position, capoE--
Beautiful Isle Over the Sea10/4/1940guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC position, capoE--
Beautiful Isle Over the Sea10/4/1940guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, C position, capo, Sara, G positionF#++


The October 14, 1941 New York Session

TitleRecording DateInstrumentationVocal ArrangementPlaying PositionKey
Why Do You Cry, Little Darlin'10/14/1941guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#++
You Tied A Love Knot In My Heart10/14/1941guitar, guitarSara/MaybelleMaybelle, F position, Sara, C position, capoF#++
Lonesome Homesick Blues10/14/1941guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleE positionE flat-
Dark And Stormy Weather10/14/1941guitar, autoharptrioC position, capoF-
In the Valley of the Shenandoah10/14/1941guitar, autoharptrioC position, capoF-
Girl On the Greenbrier Shore10/14/1941guitar, autoharpSara/MaybelleC position, capoF-
Something Got A Hold Of Me10/14/1941guitar, autoharpA.P.C position, capoF-
50 Miles of Elbow Room10/14/1941guitar, autoharpSara/trioC position, capoF-
Keep On the Firing Line10/14/1941guitar, autoharpSara/trioC positionA++
Waves On the Sea10/14/1941guitar, autoharptrioC position, capoE flat
Rambling Boy10/14/1941guitar, guitartrioMaybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#++
You're Gonna Be Sorry You Let Me Down10/14/1941guitar, guitarSara, Maybelle/trioMaybelle, F position, Sara, F positionF#++