Welcome to my overview of women in country music, with reviews ranging from folk and bluegrass to honkytonk, rockabilly and Nashville pop. This is the first page covering the letter "C."
Calamity Jane "Calamity Jane" (Columbia, 1982) (LP)
(Produced by Billy Sherrill)
Terrible. Utterly forgettable and un-noteworthy except that this all-gal band was the genesis of the songwriting partnership of Pam Rose and Mary Ann Kennedy, who went on to bill themselves as "Kennedy Rose" and develop a faithful following in the '80s and '90s. This is a remarkably tepid album, marked by the sad, impotent dregs of the '70s countrypolitan sound -- Billy Sherrill was billed as producer, but there's very little of his signature wall-of-sound style on display here. It's a very thin-sounding album, with arrangements that do very little to boost their voices, leaving the vocals sounding flat and forlorn. Some unfortunate pop covers, as well as some original material that may be of interest to fans.
Kate Campbell - see artist discography
Canadian Sweethearts/Lucille Starr "Side By Side: Pop And Country/Lonely Street" (Collector's Choice, 2004)
The Canadian Sweethearts were the husband-wife duo of singer Lucille Starr and guitarist Bob Regan, who were regional stars in the 1960s, dabbling in a wide variety of pop styles, in addition to a healthy base of fairly twangy country. This CD combines two albums recorded in 1968 for Epic Records -- Side By Side: Pop And Country and Lonely Street, which was released as a Lucille Starr solo album... It's a little bit staid, but a nice time capsule, nonetheless. Also see Lucille Starr's solo albums.
Canadian Sweethearts "Eeny Meeny Miney Moe" (Hydra, 2003)
Early rock'n'roll/rockabilly oriented material... and it's pretty fun! Interesting intersection of hick-oriented country and teenybopper pop. Also includes some of Starr's solo pop recordings ("The French Song," etc.) and lots of kooky novelty tunes, such as a surfabilly version of the Scottish bagpipe tune, "Highlands Lassie." Definitely worth checking out.
Judy Canova "Collector's Edition" (Simitar, 1998)
Judy Canova "Ozark Nightingale" (Collector's Choice, 2004)
She wasn't really a country singer, but like many mainstream pop artists such as Dorothy Shay and Arthur Godfrey, Canova played on a broad "hillbilly" stereotype to deliver warped versions of popular songs of the day. These radio performances (from the 1940s perhaps?) capture Canova at her best: playful, corny yet canny, and a powerful performer. Included are several of her signature tunes, such as her rollicking versions of "Just Because" and "The Wabash Cannonball," and omits other songs that play more into the hick schtick... All in all, this is a pretty fun set, although it really should be classed more closely with pop vocals and show tunes than with legitimate country stuff. But does that really matter? Check it out for yourself, and find out.
Laura Cantrell - see artist discography
Carlette "The Anthology" (Lost Gold)
A collection of Back Forty stuff from the mid-1980s by singer Carlette Ruff...
Brandi Carlile - see artist discography
Paulette Carlson "Love Goes On" (Capitol, 1991)
Paulette Carlson "Christmas Is For You" (Music Mill, 1995)
A holiday offering from the former lead singer of Highway 101... Features two originals by Carlson, "Christmas Is For You" and "Mrs. Santa Claus," along with a slew of standards... (For more holiday music, check out my Hillbilly Holiday section...)
Paulette Carlson "It's About Time" (Pandean, 2006)
(Produced by Paulette Carlson)
A reissue of her 2005 album of the same name (reviewed here earlier): "The former lead singer from Highway 101 soldiers on... in more ways than one. Draping herself in the flag, Carlson pays tribute to Vietnam-era veterans, on "Thank You Vets," and sings a couple of other patriotic songs... The stars-and-stripes imagery may be a little misleading, though, since most of the songs on this album are straightforward heartsongs, which she carries pretty well. Regardless, Carlson's fans should be thrilled to hear this self-produced effort... All but two of the songs are Carlson originals, and she shows herself to be a capable performer, even with her voice thinning a bit with age. It's been a while since she was in the charts, but she's still a solid, sincere singer, and this is a good independently-released effort, soulful and understated. Worth checking out!" One thing I neglected to mention back then was what a striking vocal similarity she has to Stevie Nicks... (and I mean that in a good way!) Overall, pretty durn good.
Janis Carnes "Hoagy 'N Me: Janis Carnes Sings The Songs Of Hoagy Carmichael" (Peer Music, 2005)
A later recording from a successful '80s/'90s songwriter, whose stuff was recorded by Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Steve Wariner and others. She recorded a series of singles (on various labels) with her husband and songwriting partner, Rick Carnes, but as far as I can tell none of that stuff has made it onto an album. This album indulges her love of old jazz-vocal standards.
Carolina Cotton - see artist discography
Mary Chapin Carpenter -- see artist discography
Carrie Ann Carroll "You Should Know" (Treehouse Productions, 2014)
(Produced by Joe Carroll)
An enthusiastic though uneven set by a newcomer from Austin... Carroll sings poppy twang with angst-y, confessional lyrics, sort of spiral notebook/lonely diary type stuff. She gets strong backing from her band, particularly the delicate pedal steel and driving electric lead... The song that's designed to get the most notoriety, an jilted-lover-watching-her-ex-get-married anthem called "You Know What's Really F*cked Up?," is too loosely structured for me, but others, like "Call Me Darling," are a little subtler and more evocative. This set rides the edges of alt-country and confessional folk, and while she could probably have used a little more seasoning, Ms. Carroll may emerge as a potent force on the twang scene.
Jenny Lou Carson "The Chin-Up Girl" (BACM, 2007)
One of the most successful songwriters of the WWII era hillbilly scene, Jenny Lou Carson (nee Virginia Lucille Overstake) was also one of the first female country stars. Carson started out in a family trio with two of her sisters, billed as the Overstake Sisters, and as "The Little Country Girls"; she also recorded under the pseudonym of Lucile Lee, and finally as Jenny Lou Carson, the name where she found her greatest fame. Carson wrote numerous hits, including "You Two-Timed Me Once Too Often," "Let Me Go, Lover," and "Don't Rob Another Man's Castle," which will be familiar to many fans of old-school country, albeit in mostly-male versions. This disc gathers her recordings as a solo performer, mostly with sentimental songs like "I L-O-V-E You" and "I Feel Like Crying Over You," but also with spicier novelty songs such as "I Married A Mouse Of A Man..." To be honest, even though she had a reputation as a bit of a wild woman, Carson sounds quite matronly and prim on many of these songs -- much more fun are the handful of earlier, raunchier novelty songs that come at the end of this album, saucy hokum-blues tunes recorded back in 1939, when she was just setting out on her own. These are all rare recordings from an artist best remembered as a composer, and nice nostalgic material that will be of interest to anyone looking into the foremothers of modern country.
Kendel Carson "Rearview Mirror Tears" (Train Wreck, 2007)
Kendel Carson "Alright Dynamite" (Train Wreck, 2009)
Martha Carson & James Roberts "I'm Gonna Let It Shine" (BACM, 2005)
Old-time gospel favorites from the fabled Martha Carson and her husband James Roberts... These old recordings haven't see the light of day in a long, long time...
Martha Carson "I'll Shout And Shine" (BACM, 2005)
Martha Carson "Martha Carson Sings" (RCA-Camden, 1965) (LP)
Anita Carter -- see artist discography
Carlene Carter -- see artist discography
Deana Carter - see artist discography
The Carter Family -- see artist discography
Jenny Carter "Layback With Jenny Carter" (Carto Records, 1984) (LP)
This looks promising. I'm not sure when this self-released album came out or what it sounds like, but I sure am curious... Late 1970s, perhaps? Anyway, Jenny Carter was a Memphis-area musician, and this album appears to include a lot of original material, possibly all of it written by Ms. Carter(?) but definitely not a bunch of country cover tunes here! Anyone out there have more info abut this one?
Maybelle Carter & The Carter Sisters -- see artist discography
Carter's Chord "Carter's Chord" (Universal-Show Dog, 2008)
Carter's Chord "Christmas" (EP) (Universal-Show Dog, 2010)
Carter's Chord "Wild Together" (EP) (Universal-Show Dog, 2011)
(Produced by Toby Keith & Mark Wright)
You might be disappointed if you thought this three-gal vocal group's name was an homage to the Carter Family... Unless of course, you were talking about Carlene Carter, 'cuz like Carlene in her younger years, this rough-cut trio want to make sure you know that they aren't just a bunch of harmless little "good girls." Indeed, on songs like "We Ain't Makin' Love," they go out of their way to underscore their carnality and downright raunchy horniness. Forget about the scented candles, baby, it's time to burn a hole in the rug!! To balance things out they close this 6-song EP with "Love A Little Bigger," a socially-conscious Christian country-pop song that urges everyone to be more thoughtful and thankful in life. (Of course, it's still a little self-absorbed: they start out by worrying about strangers who are starving, but instead of deciding to volunteer at a soup kitchen, they resolve to call their moms on the weekend. Well, every little bit helps, I guess...) Proteges of label head Toby Keith, these gals are a bit too overproduced for my tastes, but I'm sure old Toby knows what he's doing when it comes to making hits... So keep your eyes peeled.
Caitlin Cary - see artist discography
Neko Case - see artist discography
Laura Cash "Awake But Dreaming" (Cash House Records, 2010)
(Produced by Laura Cash)
The debut album of singer Laura Cash, wife of John Carter Cash, a gal who pays allegiance to old-school country heartsongs and western swing. Backing her are several top-flight studio pickers, including steel legend Lloyd Green, fiddler Bobby Flores, Pig Robbins on piano and Pete Wade on guitar. The songs are classics from the likes of Harlan Howard, Hank Snow, Bob Wills and other hillbilly composers... Cash herself contributes one original tune, a tribute to Appalachian impresario Roy Acuff -- "Song For Roy (Country Music's King)" -- which is one of the album's highlights. Can't say I'm actually that wild about Cash's vocals, but her heart is definitely in the right place, and she knows her hillbilly history -- a very sincere and thoughtful set of traditionalist twang.
June Carter Cash - see artist discography
Rosanne Cash - see artist discography
Cindy Cashdollar "Slide Show" (Silver Shot, 2004)
Linda Cassady "Just Bein' Me" (Cinkay Records, 1977)
The late '70s were kind of the last gasp of true-indie labels making it onto the Country charts, with the scrappy CinKay label being a prime example. Singer Linda Cassady wriggled her way onto Billboard's radar several times, but always 'way back in the Back Forty... As far as I know, this was her only album.
The Cates Sisters "The Cates Sisters" (Caprice, 1977)
The Cates "Steppin' Out" (Ovation, 1979) (LP)
(Produced by Brien Fisher)
A fairly tepid countrypolitan-meets-disco production, with sisters Marcy and Margie Cates harmonizing over mediocre pop-country arrangements. They seem caught between the future and the past: although there are hints of the synthy, new wave-ish style that groups like the Judds would perfect in the early '80s, these gals fall short of the sound and fall back on the sort of flowery sunshine-country/AOR that Donna Fargo and Anne Murray were singing about five years earlier. I guess these two had been singing together since the early '60s: the Praguefrank discography shows them releasing singles as early as 1963(!), assuming it's the same gals, and their names frequently appear in liner notes througouth the '70s as backup singers for both country and pop bands. Anyway, this isn't really a "bad" album, just kinda bland and a little behind the times. But if you're a fan of '70s soft pop and country-pop, this could be worth checking out.
The Cates Sisters "That's What I Like About The South" (Music Masters, 1980)
The Cates Sisters "Moments" (Salute, 1992)
The Cates Sisters "Crazy Dreams" (Red Bus, 2011)
This download-only reissue gathers the less-than-a-handful of singles they recorded for MCA around 1973-74, stuff that's more country, and more fun than their later work, including a little hint of honkytonk and western swing. Still not stellar, but okay for the times.
Connie Cato "Whoever Finds This, I Love You" (Capitol, 1977) (LP)
Only in the '70s could you have gotten away with an album title like this...
Hillbilly Fillies - More Letter "C"
Hick Music Index
Sisters Who Swung: Women In Jazz & Blues