What is more exciting than seeing a whole family singing and much more so, gaining popularity and success thereafter? That’s exactly what happened to the Carter Family after recording “Wildwood Flower” on August 1, 1927.
This is an American song, in fact, a folk song cataloged as Roud Folk Song Index No. 757. It is also a variant of the song “I’ll Twine ‘Mid the Ringlets” published in 1860.
“Wildwood Flower” was performed and recorded countless times by The Carter Family, and later by Mother Maybelle And The Carter Sisters. The song has been widely recorded by many artists, the aforementioned Nana Mouskouri also recorded it in French. And, perhaps most famously, Woody Guthrie stole the melody for “The Sinking Of The Reuben James.”
The Carter Family Tree
The Carter Family includes A.P. Carter, his wife Sara Carter, his sister-in-law and Sara’s cousin Maybelle Carter. Two of A.P. and Sara’s children – Joe Carter and Janette Carter – are country singers too. Maybelle had three daughters who also entered the country music business, and performed with her for a time: Anita Carter, June Carter Cash, and Helen Carter. June Carter and her first husband, country singer Carl Smith, were the parents of country singer Carlene Carter. June was also the mother of country singer-songwriter Rosie Nix Adams by her second husband, Edwin “Rip” Nix. June’s third husband was country legend Johnny Cash. They were the parents of singer, songwriter, and producer John Carter Cash. Johnny was also the father of country singer Rosanne Cash from his first marriage to Vivian Liberto.
Phew~ that’s a lot to take but it definitely proves how talented singers the whole family is.
Reese Witherspoon performed this song for the Walk the Line soundtrack. She played June Carter Cash in the 2005 movie alongside Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash.
Enjoy Reese’s version of it here as well.
There you have it, folks! Which version did you like better?