FRC 118 - Gaither Carlton 1972: Recordings from the collection of Tom Carter

by Gaither Carlton

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about

From the collection of Tom Carter

Gaither Carlton was born February 3, 1901, the baby in a family of nine children. Many of them, as well as his parents and grandfather, either sang or played an instrument. But Gaither, being too shy to ask for assistance, became a self-taught musician even in childhood. He was what we would, no doubt, today deem a “prodigy.” When I was very small, having been blessed to be born into his world as his granddaughter, I would beg him to play the fiddle for me. His reply was always, “I will if you’ll dance for me.” Then he’d play “Pop Goes the Weasel” or “Fisher’s Hornpipe,” and I’d hit the floor. His gentleness and humility made a profound impression on me, as it did on many others when he began to tour as stage partner to my father (Doc Watson) during the early days of the Folk Music Revival. In a world where it seems one can rarely say it in honesty, Gaither Carlton was a good man. He didn’t drink, smoke, curse, gossip, yell, or fight. He was slow to anger. He was kind to his wife, his children, and to strangers. Grandpa was promoted to a position in God’s old-time music band in June of 1972, not too long after Tom Carter did these recordings of him. But thanks to Tom’s sensitivity and foresight and the Field Recorders Collective’s dedication, my dear sweet “Paw-Paw” sits among us once again, vividly sharing his love and beautiful spirit through the portrait of his music. What a blessing! – Nancy E. Watson

credits

released November 20, 2015

Gaither Carlton (fiddle, banjo, vocals), Tom Carter (banjo, vocals)

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