|Scott Turner's Song Publisher's Perspective|
by Scott Turner
Martha Carson - RIP
Scott Turner's beloved friend Martha Carson in the music industry passed away last month of a prolonged illness. Martha was considered by many to be the First Lady of Gospel Music. Below is her bio for you to read. We pay tribute to this wonderful lady of music.
What can you say about a lady who has beauty, musical talent, reverence and the ability to inspire many fledgeling musicians including a Memphis-by-way-of-Tupelo boy who had not yet received his coronation as King? First you can say her name is Martha Carson, one of country music's greatest Gospel legends, and you can thank her not only for her wonderful contributions to this impassioned genre, but for the many artists who have at one time or another followed in her graceful footsteps.
Martha was born Irene Ambergey in the town of Neon, Kentucky. Hers was a musical family, with a traveling Gospel singing troupe that Martha joined at an early age. At the age of ten, she traded her pet calf for her first guitar. She joined her sisters Mattie and Minnie in the Sunshine Sisters, recording for Columbia Records. She also had stints with the Coon Creek Girls and, after relocating to Atlanta, the Hoot Owl Holler Girls. It was then that she met James Carson Roberts and, having already adopted the stage name Martha, she changed her name to Martha Carson. Beginning in 1939, Martha and James were a very popular part of WSB's Barndance in Atlanta. But towards the end of the 40's, Martha and James went their separate ways. While playing with Bill Carlisle's The Smokey Mountains, Martha went through some emotional turmoil that brought her to draw greater inspiration from God, whom as we all know is the solid foundation of Gospel music. She penned her first song "Satisfied", Capitol Records published it, and the song became an instant success propelling Martha to stardom. Among the many musicians who would draw inspiration from Martha's music was a fairly unknown singer who opened for Martha in 1950 at the Memphis Auditorium. That singer of course was Elvis Presley, who would one day record his own version of "Satisfied" and Martha's influence could be felt on other recordings in the course of his monumental career.
Thanks to her million-selling Gospel anthem "Satisfied", Martha appeared on such national TV programs as Steve Allen's Tonight Show, Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town and Ray Bolger's Washington Square. Additionally, Martha's compositions "I'm Gonna Walk and Talk With My Lord" and "I Can't Stand Up Alone" were themes for such multi-million dollar projects as 20th Century Fox's film musical "Sing, Boy, Sing" and the popular TV series "Fame". Martha continues to record and perform Gospel music to this very day. Over the years, her music has inspired other legends such as Carl Perkins, Johnny Ray, Chet Atkins and Barbara Mandrell. She has been inducted into the Country Music Halls of Fame in all fifty states and nine foreign countries. Martha's friend Walt Trott has written a book containing her biography which is available at Barnes and Noble and Borders Books stores. She also has a highway named after her in her hometown of Neon, KY. So what more can you say except....thank God for giving us Martha Carson!