Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Louvin Brothers - Satan is Real

This album would be a classic just for its amazing cover art alone (which is why we came to own the CD), but this country duo imbues each song with their sweet, genetic harmonies and true beliefs. I have never been a country music fan but have been learning to love the genre, despite its corniness. There is plenty of unintentional camp here (especially is the recitation in the title track), and some cool imagery in the lyrics in songs such as "Satan's Jeweled Crown" and "The Drunkard's Doom". Yes, they are over-the-top at times, but that's what gospel is all about, isn't it? I'm not a believer, so I find the lyrics humorous more than inspiring, but I appreciate the passion and fervor that the brothers instill in the tunes.

Besides the cover art, this record is known as the source of the Gram Parsons-led Burrito Brothers version of "The Christian Life". But while being Christian, the brothers, particularly Ira, had his fights with the devil. He was notorious for his drinking (which, ironically, is the topic of several songs here), womanizing and short temper and one of his four wives shot him after he beat her! Not exactly the poster boy for the Baptist faith, was he? He died by the hands of a drunk driver in 1965 while he himself had a warrant out for a DUI!

Ah, the life of the tortured believer, trying to find a peace between his/her desires and religious convictions. But, that is why the music rings true, at times - because they are fighting the fight themselves. This is a superb example of true early Country Gospel.