Born into the famous Carter Family dynasty – originally her Uncle A.P. and aunt Sara with June’s mother Maybelle, the group that was recorded by RCA Victor field engineer Ralph Peer at the historic ‘Bristol Sessions’ in 1927 – June was onstage virtually her entire life. Ironically, despite many single releases throughout the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, she did not cut her first full solo album until 1975, and then did not record another album under her own name for a quarter century.
For those reasons, there has never been a comprehensive anthology of June’s recording career – until now. To assemble KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE – HER LIFE IN MUSIC, reissue producer Gregg Geller not only tracked her numerous singles as a Columbia artist (from 1952 through the mid-’70s), but also looked to her work with other performers. June’s life is thoughtfully traced in the newly com¨missioned liner notes essay written by two-time ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award winner Holly George-Warren, the editor of more than a dozen books, and the author of Cowboy: How Hollywood Invented the Wild West, How the West Was Worn, Honky-Tonk Heroes and Hillbilly Angels: The Pioneers of Country & Western Music, and the children’s book Shake, Rattle & Roll: The Founders of Rock & Roll.
While their 40 year romance is one backdrop for KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE, another is the sheer volume of music that it yielded. With Johnny producing, June finally got to record her first solo LP in 1975, Appalachian Pride, an “undiscovered gem” whose entire program (ten tracks) is the focal point of disc two in this collection. A year later, she acknowledged the spiritual commitment she shared with Johnny in “Far Side Banks Of Jordan.” The collection begins to come full circle with her guest appearance on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Vol. III of 2002, performing A.P. Carter’s venerable “Diamonds In the Rough” with fellow guest Earl Scruggs on banjo.
KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE opens with the Original Carter Family singing the title tune together in 1939, and then the song is reprised (at the end of disc one) by the second generation Carter family singing it with Johnny Cash on the 1963 LP of the same title. This collection closes with a third version of the song, recorded in June’s living room in 2003 just a short time before her death, from her posthumously released album Wildwood Flower. It features Johnny and perhaps a third generation of the Carter Family – her daughter Carlene Carter, granddaughter Tiffany Anastasia Lowe, daughter-in-law Laura Cash, and niece Lorrie Carter Bennett.
KEEP ON THE SUNNY SIDE – HER LIFE IN MUSIC, will arrive in stores June 7th.