Keep on the Sunny Side: Her Life in Music

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Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Unlike her legendary husband, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash has been underrepresented in the anthology department, an oversight that this sweeping double-disc overview corrects in large measure. An entertainer, interpreter, and writer of the first rank, June recorded only three solo albums in her lifetime but made dozens of other recordings with her sisters and mother, and even with the Original Carter Family. Her history is writ large here. It begins with a high-spirited 1939 radio performance of A. P. Carter's "Keep on the Sunny Side" and touches down at interesting points throughout her distinguished career. Those unfamiliar with June's early history are in for a...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
Unlike her legendary husband, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash has been underrepresented in the anthology department, an oversight that this sweeping double-disc overview corrects in large measure. An entertainer, interpreter, and writer of the first rank, June recorded only three solo albums in her lifetime but made dozens of other recordings with her sisters and mother, and even with the Original Carter Family. Her history is writ large here. It begins with a high-spirited 1939 radio performance of A. P. Carter's "Keep on the Sunny Side" and touches down at interesting points throughout her distinguished career. Those unfamiliar with June's early history are in for a treat, thanks to several cuts featuring the Carter Sisters' haunting mountain harmonies: They are represented on their own; with Mother Maybelle four tracks, including "Root Hog or Die," feature one of Mother Maybelle's discoveries on guitar, one Chet Atkins; and by June on some hard-to-find solo recordings from the early days. The more familiar material includes three scintillating cuts with Johnny Cash, including the rambunctious hit "Jackson" and the touching duet on Tim Hardin's "If I Were a Carpenter." June's adult solo career is well represented by several traditional, Carter Family┬ľstyled tracks from her three albums, which returned her to the more rustic style of her ancestors and were simply among the best traditional country records of the past few decades. Most touching of all is a weathered duet between Johnny and June on the stirring spiritual "Far Side Banks of Jordan." And in a sequencing of elegant symmetry, the set closes with the elderly June going out where she came in on this collection, with a rendition of "Keep on the Sunny Side" that finds her buoyant optimism still heartening, all these years later. Beautifully conceived and essential in all respects.
All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
While singer/songwriter/actress/comedienne June Carter Cash's musical legacy may pale in comparison to her beloved husband's work, it is in no way eclipsed by it. As the baby of the legendary Carter Family, June was immersed in the world of entertainment at birth, a vocation that she took to like wildfire. Irreverent and unafraid, she made her radio debut at the age of nine and embarked upon a career that would span six decades. Those years are dutifully and lovingly preserved within the elegant bindings of Columbia/Legacy's Keep on the Sunny Side: June Carter Cash -- Her Life in Music. Book-ended by two very different versions of the collection's namesake tune one from 1939 and the other from 2003, the two-disc set boasts 40 tracks -- 15 of which were previously available only as vinyl singles -- as well as extensive liner notes from Holly George-Warren and Elvis Costello. Numerous photographs, many from June's own scrapbooks, are peppered throughout the booklet. One shot in particular, a stoic and immersed Carter Cash standing behind a guard while watching her husband perform one of his legendary prison shows Folsom perhaps? is particularly affecting. The majority of the material has been culled from her prolific '70s period with Johnny "Jackson," "Tall Loverman," "If I Were a Carpenter", as well as her years with the Carter Family. Sadly, her more recent forays into the recording booth 1999's Press On and 2003's posthumous Wildwood Flower have been given very little attention -- just a few cuts -- but they're both solid albums in their own right and would make great companions to this anthology. That said, Keep on the Sunny Side is a fair and lovingly crafted tribute, one that feels more like an old family photo album than a collection of recordings. Like her husband, June's voice was the voice of the gentry. It was a study in character over polish. Whether fueled by the soft pulse of her beloved Autoharp, or by the deep growl of her Southwestern Virginia lineage, she delivered each song with such confidence, empathy, and humor that her soul poured each one out as perfection itself.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/2/2005
  • Label: Sony
  • UPC: 827969090824
  • Catalog Number: 90908

Album Credits

Performance Credits
June Carter Cash Primary Artist, Guitar, Autoharp, Vocals
Homer & Jethro Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Nancy Blake Mandolin
Norman Blake Guitar
Buddy Emmons Steel Guitar
Earl Scruggs Guitar
Marty Stuart Guitar
Chet Atkins Electric Guitar
Jethro Burns Mandolin, Vocals
Carlene Carter Vocals, Background Vocals
Johnny Cash Guitar, Vocals, Background Vocals
Rosanne Cash Vocals
Floyd Cramer Piano
Johnny Gimble Fiddle
Carl Smith Vocals
Bob Johnson Banjo, Lute
Jan Howard Background Vocals
Billy Grammer Guitar
Grady Martin Electric Guitar
Bill Pursell Piano
John McEuen Banjo
Anita Carter Bass, Vocals, Background Vocals
Carter Sisters Vocals
Gordon Terry Fiddle
Mother Maybelle Carter Guitar, Autoharp, Vocals
Larry Butler Keyboards
Bob Carpenter Accordion
A.P. Carter Vocals
Sara Carter Guitar, Vocals
Floyd Chance Bass
Dennis Crouch Bass
Ray Edenton Rhythm Guitar
D.J. Fontana Drums
Marshall Grant Bass
Jeff Hanna Vocal Harmony
Homer Haynes Guitar, Vocals
Jerry Hensley Guitar, Vocals
Kelso Herston Guitar
Byron House Bass
Jimmy Ibbotson Mandolin, Vocal Harmony
Tommy Jackson Fiddle
Red Lane Guitar
Rufus Long Flute
Luther Perkins Electric Guitar
Jack Routh Guitar
Jerry Shook Guitar
Henry Strzelecki Bass
George Tidwell Trumpet
Jerry Whitehurst Piano
Bob Wootton Electric Guitar
Joe Zinkan Bass
W.S. Holland Drums
Roy Huskey Jr. Bass
Farris Coursey Drums
Tiffany A. Lowe Background Vocals
Helen Carter Accordion, Vocals, Background Vocals
Rick Lonow Drums
Johnny Sibert Steel Guitar
Velma Williams Rhythm Guitar
"Papa" John Gordy Piano
David O Jones Guitar
Hal Smith Bass
David Johnston Keyboards
Laura Cash Guitar, Background Vocals
Lorrie Carter Bennett Background Vocals
Carl "The Truth" Smith Vocals
Bill Guild Announcer
Rosey Nix Vocals
Larry McCoy Piano
Technical Credits
Stephen Foster Composer
Johnny Cash Producer
Kris Kristofferson Composer
Elvis Costello Liner Notes
Jerry Leiber Composer
Mother Maybelle Carter Composer
Joe Allison Producer
Charlie Bragg Producer
B. Bryant Composer
Larry Butler Producer
A.P. Carter Composer
Sara Carter Composer
Don Davis Producer
Gregg Geller Producer
Charles Randolph Grean Producer
Frank Jones Producer
Don Law Producer
Steve Sholes Producer
Holly George-Warren Liner Notes
Vic Anesini Mastering
J.B. Ritchie Composer
A. Carter Composer
John Carter Cash Producer, Executive Producer
Lou Robin Executive Producer
Mark Unterberger Package Manager
J. Stephen Howard Composer
I.J. Smith Composer
Bill Guild Interviewer
J.R. Cash Composer
Maria P. Marulanda Art Direction
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Johnny Cash once said, “June’s work will live on and on.”

    Playing Time – Disc 1 (48:19), Disc 2 (57:12) -- This monumental 2-disc archive comes with a hard cover CD book full of liner notes, historical perspectives, song credits and photographs. The Carter Family (A.P., Sara, Maybelle) first recorded in Bristol, Tn. in 1927, two years before June was born. This project opens with the original Carter Family singing “Keep on the Sunny Side,” followed by ten-year-old June Carter singing “Oh! Susannah” in 1939. The 1949 cut of “Root Hog or Die” includes her trademark “growl,” and her comic routines until 1948 as Aunt Polly might’ve included buck-dancing. Onstage, she simply became “Little Junie Carter” (a friendly, innocent tease) when they came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1950. Besides including songs recorded alone with Nashville sidemen, disc 1 takes us up to 1964 with cuts from the Carter Sisters & Mother Maybelle, June with Carl Smith (a refreshing but largely ignored rendition of “Love Oh Crazy Love”), June with Homer & Jethro (“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Country Girl”), and The Carter Family with Johnny Cash. Unfortunately, some of musicians (pedal steel, drums, piano, guitar, bass) accompanying June on songs like “Juke Box Blues,” “No Swallerin’ Place,” and “The Heel” are unknown. Just from her tone and inflection, it’s readily apparent that June was a good-time fun-loving gal who always kept on the sunny side of life. She was a true entertainer who loved to sing. However, her success was slow in coming in an era where female vocalists were more of a novelty in country music. June’s various antics and hillbilly humor became part of her act presumably as a result of her own lack of self-confidence as a vocalist. After she and Carl Smith divorced in 1956, she studied acting in New York. “The Heel” (about a paranoid, love-obsessed, would-be killer) was recorded after five years away from the studio. In 1961, Johnny Cash invited Maybelle and the Carter Sisters to tour with him. June co-authored “Ring of Fire,” and her 1964 version is presented here. Disc 2 has material recorded primarily between 1967-1976, along with three cuts from 1999-2003 (Will the Circle be Unbroken, Diamonds in the Rough, Keep on the Sunny Side). The four songs sung with Johnny Cash come from 1967, 1969, 1972 and 1976. "Jackson" and "If I Were a Carpenter" were both top 40 hits for them. They toured widely and also had a highly-rated television show in the late 1960s and 70s. June also sings “Once Before I Die” with Jerry Hensley. Some of the most enjoyable songs on disc 2 are the non-duo tracks, and especially those originals such as “A Good Man,” “Losin’ You,” “Gatsby’s Restaurant,” “Appalachian Pride,” and a number of others. While largely unnoticed at the time, her songs from this period are indicative of her experience, maturity, comedic verve and dramatic aptitude. Her mountain soul and roots may be best revealed with a cover of Jean Ritchie’s “The L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore.” She put out a successful album in 1999 called “Press On.” Shortly after she finished recording the album “Wildwood Flower,” June Carter Cash died on May 15, 2003. This 2-CD compilation is welcome documentation of “her life in music.” Earl Scruggs stated, “She was always full of energy and a really great show-gal.” And as Johnny Cash once said, “June’s work will live on and on.” (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2008

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