The Carter Family: Don't Forget This Song HC
Release Date: October 2012
Creators: Frank M. Young and David Lasky
Format: 192 pgs., Full-Color, Hardcover plus CD
Age Rating: Not listed by publisher
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
The Carter Family was tremendously influential in the development of American music from the 1920s through the end of the 20th century, with two full generations of musicians, including June Carter Cash. More listenable than some of the "hillbilly" music of the early radio period, they popularized many older folk songs, spirituals and the musical styles of the American south, leading to both bluegrass music and country western music. Their music sounds a bit odd to the ear today, because their choice of instruments was limited by religious beliefs, as the book explains.
This graphic biography of the family covers many aspects of their lives, ranging from the deep religious influences on their musical choices to the personality clashes and problems within the family. The chapters are almost as short as the songs for which they were famous. They often sang versions of songs that were two minutes or less, and this book has over 40 chapters, each highlighting an incident or event. The chapter titles all come from the songs they made famous. Patriarch A. P. Carter is shown as fallibly human, obsessed with the music and not good at communicating with his own family. The included recording is a rare look at their radio broadcasts, from a period covered by the book.
The only weaknesses of the book are the art, which is a bit rough and cartoonish for the subject matter, and the fact that no subject is covered in depth. Still, Don’t Forget This Song is an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to learn about the Carter Family.
The intended audience is adults or older teens, especially those interested in folk, country-western or old-timey music.
--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.