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I was playing with steel picks on a steel guitar, and there was no amplification needed - Brownie McGhee

Author Topic: Help with photo IDs: Robert Carter  (Read 243 times)

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Offline arlotone

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Help with photo IDs: Robert Carter
« on: March 13, 2022, 10:20:40 PM »
My earlier post on Robert Burse hasn't gotten much feedback, but I'm going to try again with Robert Carter. While Robert Burse was Charlie Burse's brother, Robert Carter was their nephew -- the son of their sister, Fannie Carter, who was also an entertainer (a burlesque dancer). Based on census records, he was born around 1916 and often lived with Robert Burse, Sr. (the father of Charlie, Robert and Fannie). His occupation in the 1940 census was listed as Musician.

I only have one confirmed photo of Robert Carter, with the Memphis Jug Band, from the Memphis World newspaper. I have a postcard of this photo with a caption on the back that says "late 1930s." It identifies Robert Carter as the 6-string guitar player.

Then there are the 1940 LIFE magazine photos of the band. I have an original copy of this magazine and the players aren't identified anywhere, but three of the members are obviously the same as in the Memphis World photo (Will Shade on jug, Charlie Burse on tenor guitar and Wilfred Bell on kazoo) plus perhaps Robert Burse on washboard. I think the fifth is Robert Carter on 6-string guitar, but all we have to go on is a visual comparison. What do you think?

If it is him, it's significant because in this phase of the band, three fifths of its members were from the Burse family!

By the way, when Alan Lomax recorded the Memphis Jug Band in 1959, the lineup again included Will Shade, Charlie Burse and Robert Carter, plus Dewey Corley. The Lomax archive includes a photo of the tape box with the performers' addresses written on it, and the address listed for Robert Carter is the same address given for Robert Burse Sr. in the Memphis city directory. That confirms Robert Carter the nephew is the same as Robert Carter the band member.

Interestingly, he was playing electric guitar alongside the jug band instruments on those 1959 recordings. You can listen here: https://archive.culturalequity.org/person/carter-robert
« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 10:41:35 PM by arlotone »

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: Help with photo IDs: Robert Carter
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2022, 07:05:13 AM »
Id say its the same 6 string player in all these photos.

Offline Johnm

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Re: Help with photo IDs: Robert Carter
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2022, 04:39:34 PM »
I agree with the Prof. I know nothing about Robert Carter, but based on appearance alone, it appears to be the same guitarist in all three pictures.

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