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May 10

Why today? It’s a double anniversary, marking the birth of Maybelle Addington Carter in 1909, and the day 19 years later when she first laid down one of the most copied guitar parts in history.

About the record: Victor V-40000, recorded May 10, 1928, at the label’s studio in Camden, N.J. Released January 1929. Its first LP inclusion in the U.S. appears to be on The Original And Great Carter Family, RCA Camden CAL-586, released in 1962.

The Carter Family — A.P. and his wife Sara, along with their sister-in-law and Sara’s first cousin Maybelle — were summoned from their southwest Virginia home to Camden, the headquarters city of the Victor Talking Machine Co., in the spring of 1928 to conduct their second set of recording sessions. The first collection of songs had been recorded in the seminal 1927 sessions in Bristol, Va., that also introduced Jimmie Rodgers to the world. The following year, “Wildwood Flower” would be the 10th of 12 songs cut over two days. Perhaps they were running out of steam, and didn’t notice Maybelle’s guitar was out of tune. Sara sings, and A.P. is nowhere to be heard.

Somewhere between the time the song was written in 1860 and when the Carters learned it, the lyrics got a bit mangled, as this backgrounder reveals.

About the artists: The original Carter Family had an interesting career. Learn more about it from their biography.