American Experience
A Musician's View A Musician's View

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Fantastic ArrangersSara's voiceDuet HarmonyMaybelle's StyleThe Carter ScratchMusical Blueprint

Musical Blueprint (1:20)

It is kind of unusual, in a way, that you can trace so much of [American music] to one family because there are, of course, a number of string bands and lots of singers that were making records and were on the radio and were kind of the first people to put this great wealth of American folk music and folk songs into a recorded medium. But The Carter Family really has an unusual place in that first generation group, because they're just so prolific. There are so many sides that they recorded. And then those particular arrangements are responsible... Those were the versions that so many next generation guys learned. You really have to look at their take on all of these traditional songs and folk songs as the first sort of blueprint. The first saying, "Now this is how the song goes." Because there are so many different words... I mean, there's lots of different words to Wildwood Flower, but you kind of have to look at their version as a blueprint.

The Carter Family: Will the Circle Be Unbroken American Experience PBS