- Released: July 4, 2000
- Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
Entertainment Weekly - 7/7/00, p.131
"...Spare, spiritual, and unsentimental - a tonic for our times." - Rating: A
CMJ - 6/19/00, p.33
"...[They] drastically changed country music, moving its focus from instrumental to vocals....performed in an old-time gospel harmony style with acoustic guitar..."
The Carter Family: Maybelle Carter (vocals, guitar); Sara Carter, A.P. Carter (vocals).
Recorded in New York, New York in May 1935 & Chicago, Illinois in October 1940. Includes liner notes by Ed Kahn.
Digitally remastered by David Mitson (Sony Music Studios, Santa Monica, California).
This is part of Legacy's American Milestones series.
CAN THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN is subtitled COUNTRY MUSIC'S FIRST FAMILY, a claim so readily apparent it's almost unnecessary. This 20-track compilation doesn't touch on the 1927-'34 recordings that first made the trio famous; instead it collects all 17 songs A.P., Sara, and Maybelle Carter recorded over a single five-day session in May '35 for the ARC label, after they left RCA Victor. (The remaining tracks are from an abortive Columbia session in 1940.) In keeping with the usual label politics of the period, almost all of these tunes are remakes of earlier material, but that doesn't mean they're of lesser quality. Indeed, for those familiar with the older recordings, the newer takes of songs, particularly the title track and "Wildwood Flower," are a revelation. The tempos are measured and relaxed, giving Maybelle's guitar more prominence, and Sara's vocals have dropped appreciably in pitch. Still, this is an album best enjoyed in addition to the previous material, not in place of it.