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.
She would have been 78 today.
*”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.