The Cumberland Post

The Cumberland Post
My Backyard, Six Miles from the Cumberland River

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Famous Nashville Sidemen: Guitarist Fred Carter Jr.

Do you remember and still enjoy the amazing finger picking intro on "The Boxer," the famous S and G tune?

That great intro was performed by legendary Nashville sideman Fred Carter, Jr. Carter's fingerprints can be found on various artists' recordings through the '50s, '60s, and '70s such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Neil Young, Marty Robbins, Conway Twitty, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, and Levon Helm.

Besides his fantastic guitar work, the North Louisiana native also sang, wrote, songs and cut a few records himself along the way. Here he's in a '60s R&R groove as he sings on this tight Monument cut of his co-written "Happy Tears." Some might not like this old rock sound, but I dig it.

And singing a straight (but smooth) country song, "Too Much Love Is Spoiling You," on this old '60s Country Jukebox album:

The Alan Mayor photo above shows Carter at Nashville's Station Inn in 1983. (We went there in the '90s with our friend Charlie Barnes, a sideman himself in the bands of Jeannie Seely and Jack Green back in the day; visit the Station Inn if you ever come to Nashville.)

Carter, who was the father of country singer Deanna Carter, died in the summer of last year (2010) at the age of 76.

Fred Carter exemplified the talent and creativity of the Nashville sideman, a man content to be on the side, but possessing the skills to step into the spotlight when necessary.


  1. One aspect of technology I don't care for is the diminutive size of CD packaging, which makes reading liner notes... IF you get any... impossible unless you have a magnifying glass.

    I say this because I used to read my new albums cover to cover (heh) back in the day, mainly to see who was playin' what on which track. And that's how I found out about Mr. Carter.

    Nice choices, Dan.

  2. Thanks for The Boxer Dan. It has always been one of my favorite songs. I'm like Buck with regards to the size of CDs. I like to find out not only who was playing and singing back-up, but also who wrote the songs on the album. Did you know that on one of Alan Jackson's Greatest Hits albums he wrote 9 of the 18 songs?

  3. Dan, I've really been enjoying these posts, though not commenting. So, I figured I'd better let you know.

    This one seemed fitting.

    Quick trivia question: Who was Jack Carter's daughter, Deanna Carter named after?

    You know, I'm sure...but I didn't until I heard her tell about it in an interview.

  4. Andy, glad you're enjoying the music posts.

    Sorry I'm so late in responding to this; I sometimes forget to go back and check earlier posts for late comments. As for the lurking, lurk away my friend and comment when you feel like it. I do that myself sometimes. Your question about Deanna Carter...I don't know who she was named after, but I'd like to know.

  5. Dan, she was named after Dean Martin.

    Really. Gooble it...

  6. Deb, I didn't know that about Carter writing so many songs on a Jackson album. I'm curious, which album?