The Carter Family Derides Marriage And Ups The Single Ladies

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Apr 18 2011, 12:00am

A few weeks ago I watched “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” the uber-precious PBS doc on the Carter Family. It’s actually really good. In addition to learning that the Carters’ family history reads like the War Of The Roses, I heard some of their early material for the first time, and the songs are totally amazing. We’re a little late for Women’s History Month, but we thought we’d spotlight out favorite country punkins Those Darlins, and give you an idea of where these gals are coming from. On their self-titled debut, Those Darlins covered two traditional Carter Family songs, “Cannonball Blues,” and “Who’s That Knocking At My Door?” Although the record leans heavily on girl group aesthetics and seventies punk, there’s a conspicuous roots influence that cuts through the distortion. In 1928 the Carter Family released this incredible roots track “Single Girl, Married Girl.” It was the b-side for their sophomore ‘78. Sara Carter sings in crystal clear tones, flaunting the freedom of single life and ridiculing the constraints of marriage in Poor Valley, Virginia. It’s basically a proto-Riot Grrrl anthem. What I like about the song is that it still sounds raw and provocative, and will probably shut up the next person who tells you they listen to “pretty much anything but country” real quick.