Thursday, 28 February 2013

Martha Carson - The Rock 'n' Roll Sides

A big thanks to Alan Schrack and Julea Thomerson for their help with this post. 

Now Stop
Music Drives Me Crazy
Dixieland Roll
Just Whistle Or Call


Martha started picking out tunes on a guitar at a real early age and by 10 she was writing her own songs. She was mainly a country singer, excelling in the gospel side of the genre. She recorded for RCA (50's) and Starday/Gusto (70's).

Thank's to PragueFrank for the session details listed below.

Recorded 19 October 1956 at RCA Victor Studio 2, New York City.

Martha Carson - Vocal
George Barnes - Lead Guitar 
Al Chernet - Rhythm Guitar
Charles R. Grean - Bass 
Bunny Shawk - Drums
Bob Davie - Piano + vocal chorus

Recorded 9 December 1957 RCA Victor Studio, Webster Hall, 125E 11th St., Manhattan, New York City
Martha Carson - Vocal Neal 
George Barnes - Lead Guitar 
Howard Collins - Rhythm Guitar 
Pat Merola - Bass
Bill Cusack Percussion 
Don Lamond Drums 
Lou Stein -Piano
Eugene Lowell, Michael Stewart, Edwin Lindstroem, James Leyden, Jerry Duane, Eugene Steck, Steve Steck, Ray Charles, Allan Sololoff - Vocal Chorus.

The information on Martha below comes from the website.

Martha Carson was a native of Neon, KY in Letcher County and enjoyed success seemingly every step of the way in her careers. 
She started picking folk tunes and spirituals on her mail order guitar when she was in grammar school. 
She was even composing hew own songs before she was ten years old. 
Her musical career then took her to singing old-time and gospel songs with her sisters Bertha and Opal; they were known as the Sunshine Sisters and were quite a popular radio act. 
Along came 1939 and while working over at radio station WLAP in Louisville on Asa Martin's "Morning Roundup" show, she met up with James Roberts, a mandolin player who was the son of the legendary fiddler, Doc Roberts. 
They got hitched and began performing together as a duo and moved on to radio station WHIS in Bluefield, WV in 1939.

From there, she moved on to the Renfro Valley Barn Dance in Kentucky and became one of the Coon Creek Girls. 
While a member of the Coon Creek Girls, they went to WSB's Barn Dance in Atlanta, Georgia in 1940. 
At WSB, she and her husband began performing as "James and Martha Carson, the Barn Dance Sweethearts", doing country gospel tunes and were a popular act there for about ten years.

Together, they moved on to Knoxville's WNOX and were part of the noontime "Mid Day Merry-Go-Round" show. 
Martha also appeared on such shows as the Georgia Jubilee, Sunny Side of Life, Mid-day Merry Go Round, Tennessee Barn Dance and others.

In an interesting bit of trivia, her friends said she has never performed in the same costume twice.

A Birmingham station once celebrated "Martha Carson Day" during which they played all of her numbers, and saluted Martha as " of the most popular and beloved folk music stars of the country."

In 1951, she was divorced from James. From that point on she pursued a solo career both as a song writer and singer.

In May 1952, Martha answered the invitation to join the famed the Grand Ole Opry heard over WSM in Nashville, TN. While there, she appeared on morning programs, the Opry and weekly on WSM-TV. 
She was also featured nightly for a stint on the Astor Roof.

Martha could sing the country style ballads but was best-known for her religious and gospel tunes. 
A 1947 recording of "The Sweetest Gift" and her husband's "Man of Gallilee" were highly acclaimed. 
Her Opry stint was the result of a rousing popular recording called "Satisfied". 
Another popular tune of hers was "I'm Gonna Walk and Talk With My Lord". 
Her records climbed the charts and were popular on the jukeboxes.

She remained on the Grand Ole Opry until around 1957 when she had remarried and took a 'leave of absence' for the birth of her first child and to attend some commitments in New York. 
But for some reason, never returned to the Opry.


  1. Comprehensive and well-documented... I learned a lot.

  2. Cheers Al.
    Most of the info comes from the internet (it can be wonderful). is full of great write ups on old time country singers/bands/DJ's.