- Released: July 23, 1996
- Originally Released: 1996
- Label: Capitol
Rolling Stone - 12/26/96, p.189
"Harmony singing in country music doesn't get any sweeter than the Louvin Brothers....brought traditional music to the commercial precincts of Nashville without watering down its impact....blending born-again fervor with slice-of-life starkness..."
Spin - 11/96, p.127
"...the Louvins are where indie-ish country buffs go after they've exhausted Gram Parsons....subjects being sin, murder ballads, and a bluegrass duo (concealing one nasty drunk, just like the Louvins!)..."
Magnet - p.58
"[T]he conviction in songs like 'The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea' suggests they're engaged in the battle for their own souls as well."
- 1.Satan Is Real
- 2.There's A Higher Power
- 3.The Christian Life
- 4.The River Of Jordan
- 5.The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea
- 6.Are You Afraid To Die
- 7.He Can Be Found
- 8.Dying From Home, And Lost
- 9.The Drunkard's Room
- 10.Satan's Jeweled Crown
- 11.The Angels Rejoiced Last Night
- 12.I'm Ready To Go Home
Personnel includes: Charlie Louvin (vocals, acoustic guitar); George McCormick (vocals, guitar); Ira Louvin (vocals, mandolin); Paul Yandell, Ray Edenton (guitar); Marvin Hughes (piano, electric organ); Lightning Chance (bass); Buddy Harmon (drums); Hank "Sugarfoot" Crawford.
Producer: Ken Nelson.
Reissue producer: John Johnson.
Includes liner notes by Charles Wolfe and Joe Allison.
Audio Remasterer: Glenn Meadows.
Liner Note Authors: Charles K. Wolfe; Joe Allison.
Recording information: 08/08/1958-08/10/1958.
Arrangers: Ira Louvin; Charlie Louvin.
The bizarre cover of SATAN IS REAL, which depicts Charlie and Ira Louvin awkwardly posed among fire, brimstone, and a very, very fake-looking cardboard demon, might lead unsuspecting record buyers to believe they have stumbled onto a kitsch classic. Fortunately for music fans, Ira Louvin--who designed the bizarre album jacket--was infinitely more adept at gospel songwriting than he was at art production. Contrary to its outward appearance, SATAN IS REAL is a serious, moving, and profoundly successful profession of faith.
Throughout most of their career, the Louvin Brothers divided their time between gospel and secular music, and each pursuit enriched the other. The Louvins' secular music implies guilt and remorse even as it details all manner of unsavory activities; similarly, the duo's gospel music never seems to lose sight of the ease with which even the most devout Christian can backslide. This constant awareness of the thin line between the sacred and profane makes SATAN's songs of undiluted redemption ("River of Jordan," "I Like the Christian Life") all the more moving. Most powerful, however, are those songs that directly address both worlds, such as the transcendent "Angels Rejoiced in Heaven Last Night."