THE LOUVIN BROTHERS
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE - THE DEFINITIVE LOUVIN BROTHERS STORY (4CD)
112 tracks including My Love Song Of You, The Great Atomic Power, Nearer My God To Thee, In The Pines, A Tiny Broken Heart, Plenty Of Everything But You, This Little Light Of Mine, Tennessee Waltz, Are You Teasing Me, Why Not Confess, Making Believe, Are You Wasting My Time, Satan Is Real, The Christian Life, There's A Higher Power, A Soldier's Last Letter, Must You Throw Dirt In My Face, etc
The story of the Louvin Brothers is a remarkably significant one in the evolution of American popular music. They were a pivotal force in helping extend the appeal of hillbilly country music beyond the confines of its own limited constituency to a mass and worldwide popular music audience.
This is due in part to their being uniquely placed in time, location and musical talent to link the world of Bill Monroe and Ernest Tubb (from who they learned and with who they later worked) to that of Elvis Presley (with who they toured and subsequently be-friended) and then to the alt. country movement (which they influenced enormously). This later influence is particularly felt in the shadow cast over country and rock music by the Everly Brothers and later Gram Parsons, whose own recordings and styles are unlikely to have existed as they did without the Louvin Brothers.
This is all very well, of course, but does the recorded legacy of Charles and Ira Louvin still stand up today? Well, the case for the defence starts and finishes with this fantastic new collection of 112 recordings and a rather fabulous 24 page booklet covering their history and discography. The 4CDs include their massively impressive and influential albums, including the Tragic Songs Of Life and Satan Is Real and lots of singles and other recordings that did not make it to their albums. And, if nothing else, this whole set demonstrates their remarkable consistency and brilliance as country musicians, as a vocal harmony duo, as songwriters and as interpreters of the songs of others. Largely because they had been playing together since childhood, their early records together were delivered fully formed and their standards did not slip throughout their career together. Even when their personal and professional relationship had shattered (largely attributed to Ira's problems with the bottle) they still went out, in my opinion, on a high in 1962 with the single Must You Throw Dirt In My Face (written by Bill Anderson but never bettered than here, the final track in this stunning set)
There aren't enough good words to say about the Louvin Brothers in general and this new set in particular. A slice of musical history at a seriously good price.
Review Date: March 2013