Album Review

The Carter Family - Longing for Old Virginia: Their Complete Victor Recordings 1934 / Last Sessions: Their Complete Victor Recordings 19341941

The Carter Family - Longing For Old Virginia: Their Complete Victor Recordings 1934

These two collections are the final chapters in an extensive reissue campaign of the Carter Family's marathon recording sessions with RCA Victor. Culled from old 78s released on RCA's budget-line subsidiary, Bluebird, these Rounder reissues display A.P. Carter, his then-wife Sara, and Maybelle singing and playing self-penned material as well as hand-picked traditionals from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Longing For Old Virginia includes eternal compositions such as "Are You Tired Of Me My Darling?" and "I'm Working On A Building". Pure as a mountain stream and heartfelt as the day is long, these vintage performances encompass the evolution of an American songwriting tradition at its finest. From gospel to vaudeville to bluegrass, the roots of the Carter Family run deep and wide.

The Last Sessions disc showcases both the mature songwriting and interpretive talents of all three Carters. Maybelle is credited for tunes such as "Lonesome, Homesick Blues", while Sara revives old numbers including "Fifty Miles Of Elbow Room". Sara and A.P. were separated by the time of their final recording session but the original lineup of this classic ensemble sounded no worse for wear.