The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Polly Coufos

Carter Girl

Car­lene Carter


CAR­LENE Carter is third-gen­er­a­tion coun­try mu­sic royalty. De­spite hav­ing writ­ten and recorded much fine mu­sic, the 58-year-old has spent most of that time in the long shadow cast by her grand­mother (Mother May­belle Carter, of the orig­i­nal Carter Fam­ily), mother (June Carter) and step­fa­ther (Johnny Cash). It may be too late in the day to change that, but that does not di­min­ish what has been achieved with this re­mark­able record­ing.

Carter Girl is a cel­e­bra­tion of songs of the Carter fam­ily, while fo­cus­ing mainly on the first gen­er­a­tion. It does not con­tain the three most cel­e­brated songs of her fam­ily line (the Carter Fam­ily’s Will The Cir­cle Be Un­bro­ken, June’s Ring

of Fire and her own Easy From Now On) but they are not missed. Well known fare I’ll Be All Smiles Tonight, Gold

Watch and Chain and Lone­some Val­ley 2003 (in which Car­lene and Al An­der­son up­date the Carter stan­dard to in­clude de­tails of the pass­ing of June and Johnny) and Me and the Wild­wood Rose are joined by less fa­mil­iar tracks Poor Old

Heart­sick Me (writ­ten by Car­lene’s aunt He­len)

and June’s Tall Lover Man.

Car­lene has trav­elled some hard miles and proved to be made of tough stuff. Her voice, with its strong back­woods flavour, has never sounded stronger. The age of duet part­ners Wil­lie Nel­son and Kris Kristof­fer­son is ap­par­ent in ev­ery syl­la­ble, yet the com­bi­na­tions work a treat.

Most of the songs are more than 70 years old, but such is the time­less­ness of the melodies and sen­ti­ments and Don Was’s pro­duc­tion, they are pre­sented in a con­tem­po­rary set­ting. If this is your in­tro­duc­tion to the Carter Fam­ily or Car­lene Carter, it’s a great place to start.

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