Anita Carter, 66, who sang and played stand-up bass with the famed country music act the Carter Sisters, died July 29 at her home here. She had rheumatoid arthritis.
She was the younger sister of singer June Carter Cash and sister-in-law of country star Johnny Cash. "My sister [Anita] had the greatest voice of anybody in this town, absolutely the prettiest voice," June Carter Cash said in an interview this year. "She was perhaps the greatest stand-up bass player, except for when her arthritis made her stop playing."
Recording sessions by the original Carter Family--A.P. Carter, his wife, Sara, and his sister-in-law Mother Maybelle Carter--in the 1920s marked the beginning of the country music industry.
Ina Anita Carter was born March 31, 1933, in Maces Spring, Va., one of three daughters of Maybelle and her husband, Ezra Carter, a brother of A.P. Ezra Carter sometimes played with the trio.
Anita Carter and sisters June and Helen performed with the Carter Family as children, and then with their mother as Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters.
Old standards of the Carter Family, such as "Wildwood Flower" and "Keep on the Sunny Side," were later staples of the Carter Sisters' repertoire.
Anita Carter's soprano made her the featured singer. June was a gifted comedian, and Helen was considered the best overall musician.
The Carter Sisters joined the Grand Ole Opry radio show in 1950, opened shows for Elvis Presley and joined the Johnny Cash show in 1961. June married Cash in 1968.
On her own, Anita Carter scored a No. 2 hit in 1951 with "Down the Trail of Achin' Hearts." She also had hit duets with Hank Snow and Waylon Jennings, and recorded albums of folk songs in the 1960s.
Another Carter has been on the record charts in recent years: Carlene Carter, June's daughter from a prior marriage. Now 70, June Carter Cash is the last surviving Carter Sister. Helen Carter died last year. Their mother died in 1978.
Anita Carter also is survived by a daughter and a son.