The Carter family is an American treasure for sure.
But the musical heritage coming out of the Mississippi Chatmon family is as poignent and important in my eyes. The fiddling ex-slave Henderson Chatmon and his guitar playing wife had eleven kids. They were brought up on music (and hard labour). Music that Henderson had picked up during his slavery time. The family had a string-based band playing at square and country dances, parties and on-the-door. Some of the boys later started The Mississippi Sheiks, a country/blues group, with fellow musician (and singer) Walter Vinson. Brothers Armenter, Lonnie and Sam Chatmon were part of the group. They recorded "Sitting on Top of the World" in 1930 and later many popular songs such as "I've Got Blood in My Eyes For You" and "The World Is Going Wrong" and their records appealed to both the black community listeners as well as a white audience.
Armenter Chatmon (best known later on as Bo Carter) also had a solo career incl, recording the original version of "Corinna, Corinna" and is today also appreciated for his bawdy songs (risqué songs) with titles such as "Banana In Your Fruit Basket" and "Don't Mash My Digger So Deep".
Young brother Sam Chatmon was as many blues and folk musicians re-discovered in the 1960s. With that beard, his pale complexion and his solid musicianship he became some sort of guru for the new folk and blues movement. It is rumored that the Chatmon brothers were half-brothers with Charlie Patton (which is something Sam Chatmon himself is confirming in this great interview by Alan Lomax). Wether or not this is true you can see the music running through the Chatmon blood. Music that has been as important as The Carter Family's to the american root music heritage. The roots of popular music as we know it.
But, I'm Swedish, so what do I know!?
Sam Chatmon playing 'The's My Gal' in a tv recording from 1976:
Uploaded by mrdantefontana666