SATAN IS REAL - The Louvin Brothers
TRACK LISTING: Satan Is Real, There's A Higher Power, The Christian Life, The River of Jordan, The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea, Are You Afraid To Die, He Can Be Found, Dying From Home and Lost, The Drunkard's Doom, Satan's Jeweled Crown, The Angels Rejoiced Last Night, I'm Ready To Go Home
IMPRESSIONS: Before we go any further, look at that cover!!! That has to be the most bizarre, oddball album cover in the history of popular music! Whew! The music of the Louvin Brothers didn't feature the usual sugar-coated Christianity usually found in popular country gospel records; their songs featured that ole time religion and the fire-and-brimstone spirit of Jonathan Edwards who assured people that if'n they weren't saved they would surely burn. However, unlike Edwards there was no malice or terror in the Louvin Brothers' music because they also assured everyone that they'd be fine if only they'd see the light. Whether or not you agree with the Louvins' spiritual belief is irrelevant when listening to the music; it has a clean, no nonsense approach which is refreshing and strangely not pushy. They aren't somehow trying to force their beliefs on others but merely stating what they believe in songs featuring keening harmonies and straight-forward songwriting. Even a non-believer can appreciate the songs without being annoyed by the message. Sadly, the only drawback of the album is that it doesn't contain my favourite Louvin song: "The Great Atomic Power" which can be found on the brothers' 1962 "WEAPON OF PRAYER" album.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Satan Is Real, There's A Higher Power, The River of Jordan, The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea, Satan's Jeweled Crown, The Angels Rejoiced Last Night, I'm Ready To Go Home
FACT SHEET: Charlie and Ira Louvin went into the recording studio in August 1958 with producer Ken Nelson and recorded enough songs for two albums: "COUNTRY LOVE BALLADS" came first and then the country gospel classic "SATAN IS REAL" followed in release. All the songs (over 20 of 'em) were recorded in only seven days. If the Lord could do it, why not the Louvin Brothers! The infamous cover photo received at least as much comment as the music. The cover shot was conceived by Ira Louvin and features the brothers in a burning rock quarry with a 12 foot plywood Satan smiling down on them. The fires were aided by some tires soaked in kerosene. Emmylou Harris recorded a superb cover of "Satan's Jeweled Crown" on her "ELITE HOTEL" album. Other famous Louvin covers include the Byrds' 1968 cover of "The Christian Life" on their "SWEETHEART OF THE RODEO" album as well as Johnny Cash's 1998 cover of "THE KNEELING DRUNKARD'S PLEA" (itself a Carter Family cover by the Louvins) on his "UNCHAINED" album.