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On Border Radio 1939
Carter Family
On Border Radio 1939
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
  •  Track Listings (26) - Disc #1

This charming disc, a total joy for Carter aficionados, was compiled from one-of-a-kind 16-inch transcription acetates recorded for broadcast in 1939 on the high-powered border radio station XET, "down Mexico way." The Car...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Carter Family
Title: On Border Radio 1939
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Arhoolie Records
Release Date: 11/30/1995
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Traditional Folk
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 096297041123

This charming disc, a total joy for Carter aficionados, was compiled from one-of-a-kind 16-inch transcription acetates recorded for broadcast in 1939 on the high-powered border radio station XET, "down Mexico way." The Carter Family performed on this and similar stations at the time the stations' signals reached throughout the U.S. The act had expanded to include several offspring--June, Anita, Helen, and Jeanette, along with core members A.P. Carter, wife Sara, and her cousin Maybelle. As Border Radio clearly demonstrates, the radio-show format clearly allowed the Carters to stretch out beyond the constraints of their 78 recordings. There is a wide variety of material here. Of particular note are the lovely instrumentals ("Waves of the Sea," "Cumberland Gap") and the plangent tunes that A.P. performs solo ("No Telephone in Heaven," "My Sweetheart Is a Poor Working Girl"). The songs that the little ones sing themselves are interesting documents, but they come a bit too close to Disneyish sentimentality; thankfully there are but a few on this collection. The sound is naturally funky considering its origins, but relatively hiss free. Most importantly, the performances brim with the close-hewn, reserved Appalachian harmonies and clever guitar playing one expects from the Carters. --Mike McGonigal

CD Reviews

Purely Delightful
Fan in Arizona | Kingman, AZ USA | 09/24/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"While others reviewers characterize the little Carter sisters as being "shrill" and unpolished, I found them to be delightful. This CD is a rare opportunity to hear them when they were young and still learning. Yes, I have no doubt that the producers of "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" heard the Carter sisters singing "In the Highways" on this album, and then lined up the Peasall sisters to sing it in the movie. In addition to singing together as a trio all of the Carter sisters also do at least one song solo. This CD is probably one of the few recordings where the kids can be heard together and solo. The regular members on the Carter Family do a fine job entertaining the folks out in "radioland", and even A.P. seems to participate more than usual. All in all, this album is a fine addition to my collection of Carter Family recordings."
Another side of the Carter family
M. J. Smith | Seattle, WA USA | 05/14/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"What other reviewers have said about the "cuteness" of the trio of Helen, June and Anita is true. And, yes, their "In the Highways" sounds suspiciously like the cut on the sound track of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?". But, like their older cousin Jeanette, they already show consideable muscianship. The original Carter family trio (A.P., Sara and Maybelle)is more relaxed than on their more formal recordings and A.P. takes a more prominate role. In several cuts the guitar is showcased, revealing an individual style of playing often lost as the listener is entranced by the voices. But another way, listening to these recordings will change how you hear the formal recordings. The liner notes give an interesting history of border radio and the technology that led to prerecorded programs from which these tracks are taken. The music itself has withstood remastering well in comparison to most recordings of the era. The choice of music is a delightful mix of well known songs (recorded by the Carters or others) and of songs unknown to me. Listening to less than half of this recording convinced me that I need the other two volumes. So bring your chairs around your virtual radio and enjoy the best of an "old time" family evening."
The Carters South of the Border
Philip Westwood | Lichfield, Staffordshire United Kingdom | 06/29/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"These recordings by the Carter Family are taken from their broadcasts over John Brinkley's Radio Station XET, broadcasting out of Monterey, Mexico. They date from 1939, a period when the Carters were inactive in commercial recording studios. The sound quality is good, especially when considering that they were taken from a soft acetate transcription disc. They show the Carters as a polished group of many years experience, though for some afficianados the performances may not come up to the standard that the group achieved in the commercial recording studio. But it must be remembered that the Carters were doing these radio shows on a daily basis, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the clinical polish of the recording studio is not in evidence here. The recordings also feature the expanded Carter Family. Numbers by the children are included. These items have a certain cuteness about them, but the childrens' voices tend to be a little shrill. Also, the songs by the original trio are shorter than the versions found on their commercial recordings. But the album does have a rather nice 'downhome' feel to it, almost as if one had dropped in on an informal jamming session. And there is a pleasant nostalgic feel to the radio presentation, complete with Spanish speaking announcer. More interesting as an historical document than an example of the Carters' vocal and instrumental artistry, this album will nevertheless be welcomed Carter Family collectors and serious Country music students."