Country Song Roundup June 1966

Country Song Roundup June 1966 - June Carter CashCountry Song Roundup June 1966 - June Carter CashCountry Song Roundup June 1966 - June Carter Cash

I REMEMBER THE CARTER FAMILY PART 3 BY JUNE CARTER

If you have read the first two installations of this article in the country song roundup, then I'm very glad, because this last one may make a little more sense to you. The first two installments are a part of the beginning of a book that I am writing about my life, and about the old original Carter Fmaily. This last article will be a condensed version of the book. So if you are interested in the small details, I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the completed version.

I can look back over the years that followed the time that we actually left the valley, and it's almost like a dream. Some of it very happy years, years of hope, years of frustration, some of unhappiness of doubt, of contentment, and all kinds of weird mixed up feelings of another soul trying hard to find some suitable place in society. Had I have been the smart one, I would have taken advantage of the great wisdom of my Grandmother Carter, or my mother, or my father or someone who had made all the mistakes life has to offer and done the very things they said to do. Neither turning left or to the right, but forging straight ahead to a full contented life. But me...being mortal took every turn that I could find and made all the mistakes over again and finally reached just what I am today, be it bad or good.

I will try to tell you in the books about all the people who have been very dear to me in my life, and some of you may be surpised to know you have had such a bearing on my life, when I never knew you at all. Most of you know if you are dear to me because my closest friends are few and it may surprise you to know that some of the closest are men... A man can be a true friend. Chet Atkins has been and is my friend, and this started about 1948, in a little town called Knoxville. It takes a lot of going hungry, winding around curvey East Tennessee roads, playing school houses about the size of a good hen house, sleepin' half the night with my mother, father, Helen and Anita and Chet plus two huge RCA amplifiers coming home from a show date. And there was the matter of Chet's D'Angeleco guitar. All of his life he had wanted a special guitar made by D'Angeleco and his dream came true in 1950, just as we joined the Grand Old Opry. You would have to be a true friend if he forgave a stumbling idiot who ran right into it and broke it into pieces...I was the idiot...and forgive me he did...

When Chet first started working with us in Knoxville, we were working for Lowell Blanchard at WNOX...mother, Helen, Anita, and I. And we hired the first outsider who ever worked for The Carter Family. Chet would sit for hours and play his guitar. He played every waking hour of the day, that he wasn't fixin' flats or settin' up public address systems. He was the best I had ever known...We loved him...All of us. He was our brother that we never had and he was our pal... He sometimes had bad asthma attacks, and if we were out in the car going to a show, mother would stop the car while he had one of the attacks, and Helen, Anita, and I would bawl our heads off until he was better. We did that a lot of times. Good for Chet...Good for Chet...He's done well...

Who in a lifetime hasn't been elated to ecstasy and then plunged to the depth of despair...? Elated I've been and plunged I've been. And I must say I've done them well. There have been times that I probably have been the happiest person alive and when I hurt, I hurt harder that anyone I know. Maybe if you've hated me, you'll reconsider, or if you've loved me you'll know why. There are times that I don't understand myself. I think that I shall read this book also...

There were the years that we were in Charlotte, North Carolina, in Richmond, Virginia, Knoxville, Tennessee, Springfield, Missouri, then finally to the Opry here in Nashville, in 1950...We worked with the old family until we left Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1941. The original Carter Family made a definite imporession on me in that last year. There is a lot to be said for A.P., Sara and Maybelle Carter, and I've lived in fear for the last few years that no one would ever say it. So that's why I am writing this book. I would like for you to know that family as I did and for you to have a better understanding of the music they left for us to enjoy... There were the years of hitting the road, the years of my first broken marriage to Carl Smith, the years I lived in New York, the studying I did there, my return home, why I no longer work with my family, except on occasion, my last four years as a part of the Johnny Cash Show,... my desire and accomplisments as a writer..and people...the people that I know..the music that I know and love...my children...my home...all about me...but mostly about the Carter Family...

I will say that to work on a Johnny Cash tour is a privilege and an honor...and we have tryed [sic] hard in the last few years, I mean all of us...Marshall, W.S. Lutler [sic], and John and the newest ones, the Statler Brothers, Harold, Donnie, Phil, and Lou. And finally me... To do one of the best shows that we can possibly give the public... There is only one John Cash, he is a star... That's easily written down, but it's really hard to be. The main thing is...the people always come. They're always there. He just has that certain little something that makes him different from all the rest of us. I used to feel the same kind of magnetic power with Elvis Presley, it belongs to very few. I feel very lucky to be associated with it. I'd say Hank Williams had it too. The stories that have come out these last four years could be a book in itself...some of it is hard to believe.

There was the time when we were in Camp Howard, Korea, and I'm the first American girl there in months and I am in my glory. I am grinnin' and dancing and singing 30 days, and I have this little trick where I threw the mike in the foot lights and quickly yank it back to me by the cord. It always comes right back. It always does, and it did that time. I mean it really came back. It came right in my mouth and took one of my front teeth back with it. There I stood...in front of all those boys still grinnin' with no teeth. Teeth on the floor; yes, but not in my mouth. The big question was...to sing or quit...I sang...What's a few teeth anyways. John and I sang all over Korea and Japan for the State Department...sometimes five shows a day, and it was a very rewarding experience for me.

My mother, Maybelle Carter, will never change. There is no way. She is real. If she were playing Carnegie Hall, and she was out of tune she would just stop and tune her guitar. She cannot stand an instrument that is out of tune, and she doesn't care if the world falls around her feet. She would stop to look only after she was in tune. The two fingered guitar style of my mother has been copied many times, and she doesn't even realize it. She recently won an award from Cavalier Magazine for some accomplishment in the folk music field, and went up to New York, upon my insistence to accept it. She received the award and also bought one of their magazines. Her only comment, in her applicant drawl...was, "Why...that magazine has naked women in it."

Five years ago, Helen, Anita, mother and I went to Europe for the first time. You should have seen her there. My knowledge of foreign languages is very limited. Four years of French, and mother's is just nothing. She doesn't know OUI from SI...and it was every few mintues of ..."Come here June and tell me what this fool man is saying'... She did a great job motioning with her hands. I think that's the universal language after all. I don't know what she ever said to me or the other girls, probably nothing, knowing mother, that kept us from ever drinking or smoking. We just never did. Someway we knew it wasn't good for us, and we left it alone. I remember once thinking when I was in the depth of despair that I'd get drunk, but I never did. I thought about it hard enough. I thought about it so hard I could smell it, and that made me sick...

May God bless my mother...I am a mother. That seems strange now, but I hope that someway my two little blonde haired girls will find some pride in their mother in the future as I have. We have a lot of little talks, and one thing that made me feel good was my little Rozanna on Christmas morning, which is seven years old...After surverying all the toys that Santa left saying, "The Lord sure has blessed us, Mommie." We live in a very small little green valley in Madison, Tennessee. We have fifteen acres, and I hope that somewhere along the creekbank or in the woods that these two little girls, Carlene and Rozanna, feel the secutiry that was mine back in that valley in Virginia when I was a little girl.

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