Kitty Waltz

The Cater Family recorded Kitty Waltz in Atlanta in 1929. It is a lovely piece and quite unusual for them. It sounds more like nineteenth century parlor music than the traditional material they usually liked. It may have been composed by A.P. Carter but I don't really know. I have not been able to discover any more background on the song.

This photo, dated 1940, seems to be from the brief period when the Carter Family lived in Texas and performed on radio station XERA in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico. Their performances often included the five Carter children. I cannot confidently identify all the people in the photo. Maybelle, the woman with a guitar, is easily recognized. The autoharp player to Maybelle's right looks too young to be sister Sara and might be Sara's daughter Janette who would have been seventeen at the time. The three girls are most likely Maybelle's daughters Anita (7 in 1940), June (11) and Hellen (13). Joe, the son of A.P. and Sara, would have been thirteen, so I don't think he is in the picture. I cannot identify the two young men. If any more knowledgeable Carter-philes can give me more information I'd appreciate it.

The power of XERA and later border stations such as XERF used to broadcast great country and blues music all over the the U.S. and Mexico, along with the rantings of snake oil salesmen and preachers. I have fond memories from my childhood, my ear pressed against the speaker of an old bakelite tube radio that my aunt give me.

After the original Carter family disbanded, Maybelle and her girls went on to perform as "Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters" through the 1970's.

You might be interested to know about the guitars I play on this multi-track arrangement. The one I play in the video is a 1962 Martin 0-16NY (New Yorker) that belonged to my wife's late former husband Paul Schifman. C.F. Martin made these guitars in the sixties based on the design of a 1898 parlor guitar which they had produced in their New York factory. In the background I play my 1954 Martin D-28. In 1972, I miraculously found this guitar in a Goodwill Store in Irving, Texas and purchased it for $36. As you can see I play the 0-16 in C for this number. I tuned the D-28 down a whole tone to play in C with a D fingering. I tuned the sixth string down another whole tone to a low C.

Lyrics: 

Waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz,
waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz !
Waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz,
the guitars are ringing, come on and waltz!

The girls are singing, the guitars are ringing,
their steps are so neat, their music so sweet.
Waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz,
the guitars are ringing, come on and waltz !

Boys come on and join our band,
the guitars are ringing the music is grand.
Waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz,
the guitars are ringing, come on and waltz!

Waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz,
waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz!
Waltz, Kitty, waltz, let everybody waltz,
the guitars are ringing, come on and waltz !