Gospel and Christian-themed music was always integral to the Louvin Brothers repertoire; any given album or collection is likely to include one or two tunes infused with the power of the Holy Spirit. At its title indicates, 20 GREATEST GOSPEL HITS focuses on the bluegrass duo's best-known church-inspired music.
The way Charles and Ira's angelic harmonizing soars and lilts yet burns with sincerity gives itself nicely to the interpretation of sacred music. The simple guitar and mandolin arrangements are pure rootsy mountain folk, while "The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea," "The Family That Prays Together," and "Wreck on the Highway" crackle with the moral conviction of backwoods fire-and-brimstone church houses. But sermonizing never sounded so high, clear, and sweet, which is reason enough to give 20 GREATEST GOSPEL HITS a listen.