August 7, 2008

The Carter Family//Single Girl, Married Girl

Sorry for all the sadness of yesterday. Today is better. The sun is shining and the roots of American folk music is in the air! Ok, it’s not really in the air up here in the NYC tri-state area, but I can dream that I’m sliding down some slippery rocks in the a cold Appalachian river, right?

The Carter Family was a legendary early country band that recorded between 1927 and 1956. AP Carter made it his mission to collect all the folk songs in the mountains of his Southwestern Virginia area and record them with his wife and sister-in-law, Maybelle Carter (godmother of country, inventer of the Carter scratch and portrayed in a movie I bet you’ve seen, Walk the Line—Maybelle’s daughter is June Carter.).

Like a modern band, this band has plenty of drama--but in their case, it was all family drama. I won’t go into all the details, but there’s a great PBS documentary that will, if you’re interested.

My interest in The Carter Family was piqued by Wisconsin Death Trip, whose awesome soundtrack draws heavily from the Smithsonion Folk Anthology, which is a totally amazing collection. I highly recommend both the movie and the box set.

This song is about how much more fun it is to be single than to be married, especially in impoverished Appalacia. Also worth noting, many of us speculated that the lyrics were “single girl, single girl/she wears a skinny tie.” Too bad, they’re actually not.

Single Girl, Married Girl.mp3

Married girl, married girl. She rocks the cradle and cries.

I’m right there with you, sister.

1 comment:

Emily said...

So Zach & I looked up the lyrics to this song when we wanted to sing it--check out the hidden last verse!

Single girl, oh single girl
She's looking for a man
Oh looking for a man
Married girl, oh, married girl
She's got her wedding band
Oh, got her wedding band

DAMN, somebody wanted the Married Girl to have the last word. I bet Maybelle was like, naaaaw, fuck that verse.