Anita Carter

Anita Carter was the youngest of the Carter Sisters and in her own way a link between the early heady days of her parents and the first backlash of the outlaw movement with her duets with Waylon Jennings. What a strange life she was born into; the daughter of Mother Maybelle, sister to June and Helen, eventual sister-in-law to Johnny Cash. Her early years were spent in Maces Springs, Virginia, with time put in Del Rio, Texas in the late 1930s while The Carter Family performed on the Mexican radio station XERA. She would graduate to member off the band after her Aunt Sara and Uncle AP’s marriage dissolved and Maybelle started a new group with her daughters*.

Anita would play the upright bass and seemed content in the side roll. She was the sweet demure girl next door next to June’s wild antics. But as the Carter’s were vocally not the sweetest singers, Anita was the exception. The woman could sing. Listen to her sing Mickey Newbury’s “Sweet Memories.” Newbury had many great artists sing his songs, but Anita was the singer that got away.

And just because if you haven’t seen this you need to – June Carter, silly and free, introduces Anita singing a Hank Williams classic with mystery guest.

“I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)

She would have been 78 today.

Maybelle, June, Anita, Helen

*”Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone,” by Mark Zwonitzer is the story of the Carter Family and if you’re the slightest bit interested in them or country music, or pop music, or the 1930s or 1940s, or border radio, or just a great read I would highly recommend it.


About Iaan Hughes

Iaan Hughes is a deejay on 91.3 KBCS in Seattle. He plays country & western music.
This entry was posted in Acknowledgements, Country, Folk, Honky Tonk, Music, Oldtime, Pop, Radio and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Anita Carter

  1. Tamara Lewis says:

    Wow, what a great voice! I can’t believe I’ve never listened to her before.
    Thanks for the education.

    • iaanhughes says:

      Yes, so easy to overlook Anita and what a shame that would be. You should hear her play the doghouse bass!

  2. Bruce says:

    Weren’t Anita and Audry, Hanks first wife, friends? I believe that Hank, in one of his drunken states, took a pot shot at one of the Carter sisters after they drove Audry home. Great film clip! It totally looks like Anita and the “mystery guest” making googly eyes at one another. I don’t know, “silly and free”, maybe obnoxious is a better word.

  3. Bob Bender says:

    Not only the best female singer in all of country music but also a beautiful and kind soul, She had beautiful phrasing and did not allow the music to overtake her voice. I wish someone would write a book about Anita. She was always in the shadows but worked with Hank Snow, Elvis, Hank Williams, Chet Akins, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings. I think she belongs in the Country Music Hall of Fame as do Helen and June. They are the most overlooked women in country music. True entertainers who could write, sing and play with the best!

    • iaanhughes says:

      I hope you’ve read Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone. If not I think you’d like it. It’s about the original Carter Family, but of course the girls all play a part in that story. Someone should definitely write a book on Anita and her sisters!

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