The Louvin Brothers Tragic Songs of Life / Satan Is Real
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- by The Louvin Brothers ~ 20 All-Time Greatest Hits ~ $12.06
- Released: July 16, 2007
- Label: Raven [Australia]
- 2.I'll Be All Smiles Tonight
- 3.Let Her Go, God Bless Her
- 4.What Is Home Without Love
- 5.A Tiny Broken Heart
- 6.In the Pines
- 8.Katie Dear
- 9.My Brother's Will
- 10.Knoxville Girl
- 11.Take the News to Mother
- 12.Mary of the Wild Moor
- 13.Satan Is Real
- 14.There Is a Higher Power
- 15.The Christian Life
- 16.The River of Jordan
- 17.The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea
- 18.Are You Afraid to Die
- 19.He Can Be Found
- 20.Dying from Home, And Lost
- 21.The Drunkard's Doom
- 22.Satan's Jeweled Crown
- 23.The Angels Rejoiced Last Night
- 24.I'm Afraid to Go Home
- 25.Blue from Now On
- 26.Red Hen Hop
- 27.Read What's in My Heart
- 28.My Heart Was Trampled on the Street
2 original albums on 1 CD: TRAGIC SONGS OF LIFE (1956) / SATAN IS REAL (1960).
Liner Note Authors: Joe Allison; Keith Glass.
Photographer: Keith Glass.
Arrangers: Ira Louvin; Charlie Louvin.
If the Louvin Brothers weren't the greatest harmony duo in the history of country music, their serious rivals were few and far between, and their best recordings are among the most emotionally resonant in American roots music. The Louvin Brothers also had a talent for concept albums that was unusual among country acts in the '50s and early '60s, and two of their very best LPs have been paired up on a single CD from the Australian Raven label. 1956's Tragic Songs of Life certainly lived up to its title, featuring classic murder ballads such as "The Knoxville Girl" and "Mary of the Wild Moor" side by side with more contemporary tales of heartbreak and poor fortune like "I'll Be All Smiles Tonight" and "What Is Home Without Love." While these songs could be pure bathos in less skillful hands, Ira and Charlie's crystalline harmonies and unforced sincerity find a rich vein of compassion in this music, and Ira's superb mandolin solos add to the eloquence of the melodies. 1960's Satan Is Real raises the stakes on the passion and force of Tragic Songs of Life, and it features some of the most intense and plain-spoken bluegrass-gospel ever committed to tape. Satan Is Real deals in no uncertain terms with the divide between good and evil and the notion that Satan is to be feared just as much as the Lord is to be embraced. "The Christian Life," "Are You Afraid to Die" and the title cut are ardent and powerful songs written by the Louvins themselves, and even if you don't share their Christian faith, the depth and genuine belief of this music is undeniable. As a bonus, Raven has closed out this disc with four additional songs, which thankfully lighten the mood with the rock & roll-influenced "Red Hen Hop" and the swaying "Blue from Now On"; the booklet also includes the original liner notes for both LPs. Tragic Songs of Life and Satan Is Real are the two best albums of the Louvin Brothers' career (though A Tribute to the Delmore Brothers is a close third), and this disc contains nearly 80 minutes of superlative music from two of country's most iconic artists; anyone not familiar with this music ought to treat themselves to this disc at their earliest convenience. ~ Mark Deming
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