The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #49171   Message #883453
Posted By: Mark Clark
05-Feb-03 - 04:56 PM
Thread Name: Review: Carter Family Biography
Subject: RE: Review: Carter Family Biography
I received a copy as a Christmas present and finished it a few weeks ago. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Carter Family or the history of American folk, country or rock and roll forms since 1930.

The writing itself won't win the Pulitzer prize but it's good enough and offers a fascinating look at this first family of American music. I appreciated the way Zwonitzer presents a set of complete episodes rather than deal with each event in strict chronological order. It gets to the meaning instead of just the facts.

Wonderful stories of A.P. and his African American friend Lesley Riddle traveling together (in the 1920s South) in search of songs. I also enjoyed the detail on John R. Brinkley, M.D., founder of the 100,000 Watt border station XERA in Del Rio, Texas.

It's pretty clear that Zwonitzer presents the sanitized version of the Carter history but, in my opinion, that's what he should have done. I'd hate to see anyone sully the memory of these great musicians.

The odd thing is that Zwonitzer evidently begain the work some fifteen years ago. I'm guessing that it might have remained in his file cabinet were it not for the renewed interest brought about by the Coen Brothers' film and the subsequent musical tour.

      - Mark