The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #80976 Message #1488368
Posted By: Don Firth
19-May-05 - 02:56 PM
Thread Name: Carter Family on PBS Amer. Exp. 9 May 05
Subject: RE: Carter Family on PBS Amer. Exp. 9 May 05
Apparently the program ("American Experience. The Carter Family : Will the Circle Be Unbroken?") was delayed a bit by local PBS stations. There are two PBS affiliates here, KCTS in Seattle and KBTC in Tacoma (the latter we can get on cable). I saw the program on KBTC last night. My furshlugginer VCR is sick, so I wasn't able to tape it.
This is a good supplement to the book that Pauline L. mentions above. I bought and read a couple of years ago, Will You Miss Me When I'm Gone? : The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg. Highly recommended.
The reenactments didn't bother me at all. In fact, I thought they were pretty well done and I felt they added to the whole thing. The actors who did the reenacting looked like their real-life counterparts, the color looked a bit like old photos, and the focus was kept soft. No dialogue from the actors, only the narrator's voice and/or Carter Family music (tall man walking down a railroad track as A. P. often did, scenes in old recording studio which were probably never filmed, etc.). Whoever the woman was who was faking to the sound of Mother Maybelle's guitar playing had it down solid. If she can fake it that well, she probably can play Carter Family style. But then, I'm not absolutely sure that it was a reenactment! That good!
Appearances by Gillian Welch, and very brief appearances by Joan Baez (if you blink, you could miss her).
Among other things, I thought the program made it pretty plain that the Carter Family was actually a bridge between traditional music and what later on became known as "Country Music."