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Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers Hardcover – 5 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Igniter (5 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062069039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062069030
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 347,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“One of the most important and illuminating memoirs ever written by a country singer.” (Terry Teachout, Wall Street Journal)

“I think I’ve already found my favorite book of 2012.” (Chris Talbott, Associated Press)

“Satan Is Real has the best-designed book cover of 2012 .” (Paper Magazine)

“The anecdotes alone offer significance to any person interested in the anthropology of Americana music. Magnanimous without feigning and brusque without malice, Charlie Louvin’s clear-eyed commentary is straightforward and unapologetic.” (Oxford American)

“Masterful [and] graceful.” (Alec Solomita, Wall Street Journal)

“Raw honesty, genuine grit, common sense, and smokin’ down-home flavor.” (Publishers Weekly)

“A real classic of Americana.” (Booklist)

“The mix of light and darkness that filled their music was mirrored in their lives.” (Ian Crouch, The New Yorker)

“[A] chilling portrait of a brilliant musician intent on self-annihilation.” (Kirkus)

“Grand themes of life, death, religion, salvation, damnation, human choices and, sometimes, joy.” (Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times)

“Simple and plain-spoken, yet powerful and resonant.” (Daily Journal)

“There was something scary and washed in the blood about the sound of the Louvin Brothers.” (Emmylou Harris)

“Charlie…was a true punk, in the best sense of the word.” (Lucinda Williams)

“You can’t find anybody, I don’t think, that was not inspired by them.” (Vince Gill)

“They influenced everybody.” (Phil Everly)

“The Burritos’ favorite artists.” (Gram Parsons)

“The Louvin Brothers were my favorite when I was young and growing up in the business.” (Dolly Parton)

“Probably the greatest traditional country duo in history.” (Grove Dictionary of American Music)

“The most influential harmony team in the history of country music.” (Los Angeles Times)

“One of the pre-eminent brother acts in country music and an inspiration to several generations of rock musicians.” (New York Times)

From the Back Cover

The beautiful and tragic saga of the Louvin Brothers—one of the most legendary country duos of all time—is one of America’s great untold stories. Charlie Louvin was a good, god-fearing, churchgoing singer, but his brother Ira had the devil in him, and was known for smashing his mandolin to splinters onstage, cussing out Elvis Presley, and trying to strangle his third wife with a telephone cord. Satan is Real is the incredible tale of Charlie Louvin’s sixty-five-year career, the timeless murder ballads of the Louvin Brothers, and an epic tale of two brothers bound together by love, hate, alcohol, blood, and music.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Gibbons on 20 Feb 2012
Format: Hardcover
The best cover I've possibly ever seen, and the best story about how that cover came to be I could ever imagine...alongside a hell of a lot of other amazing stories. The ones about growing up as an Alabama sharecropper's sons will bring tears to your eyes, and you'll be sick with longing to go to one of the Haynes family reunions to hear them sing gospel. There's the pain of watching a brother destroy himself, and the fascination of those tidbits about Elvis and the Monroe Brothers, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams, the behind the scenes at the Grand Ole Opry. It's just Charlie Louvin telling those stories too, like he just might have told you little by little in a social sort of way if you were lucky enough to be friends before he passed. I'm sure Benjamin Whitmer put a whole lot of work into pulling it all together, but man, you just can't see the signs. Except in that effortless storytelling. Means he did a hell of a job.

A book for any fan of music, but if you were lucky enough to be raised on country, this will blow you sky high. You can't go wrong buying the album either, listening to those beautiful old-fashioned harmonies you can hear how the music ran in that Louvin blood and demanded its toll, and it's never a waste of time meditating on sin and insecurity, alcohol and guns, love and redemption. This book has it all, and adds a whole new dimension to some incredible music. That Johnny Cash hung around outside one of their gigs just to hear them through the window because he couldn't afford to get in (though Charlie let him in, not knowing who he was at all), or that they were Elvis's mother's favourite gospel group...well, in my opinion the Louvin's never needed that kind of validation. But they surely have it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tony Byworth on 1 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
They were the most acclaimed, and influential, duo in country music but, away from the limelight, the Louvin Brothers' closeness turned into sheer loathing over the years. So tells Charlie Louvin in an autobiography which leaves no family truth hidden.

"Satan Is Real" (named after their 1959 album and, on the book cover, merged into a garish pulp image) reveals a harsh childhood that saw them working longs hours in the cotton fields and an abusive father who would frequently beat them. Music became their only realistic escape route. Starting off as gospel artists, the move over to secular music put them firmly in the public eye with hits like "When I Stop Dreaming", "I Don't Believe you've Met My Baby" and "Cash On The Barrelhead". But as success continued, the brothers began treading different pathways with Charlie looking after business while Ira, an exceptional musician possessing a short and violent temper (often smashing up out-of-tune mandolins on stage), became more and more immersed in a lifestyle of boozing and womanising leading, eventually, to the disintegration of the brothers' relationship, both personally and professionally. While Charlie enjoyed a secure marriage, Ira wed four times, with third wife Faye shooting him six times after a severe argument, then dying in a head-on car crash alongside fourth wife Alice. Charlie Louvin subsequently went to score two dozen solo chart hits, as well as a handful of duets with Melba Montgomery. Then, in his later years, he gained a following with younger rock fans and died in 2011, a few months before the publication of this book.

Written in a personal, off-the-cuff manner, the story is told in short chapters and often enthused with an expletive or two.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By cornutus on 8 Aug 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Charlie Louvin writes like you imagine he speaks. He tells the story of the Louvin Brothers in an honest and straightforward style that brings the whole thing alive. I often find myself rushing through the early sections of autobiographies but not here. Their life picking cotton is a glimpse into a different, and very brutal world. The descent into alcoholism and feuding is very moving. Also, the brief glimpses of other greats like Bill Monroe and Johny Cash are terrific and reveal a lot about these other men.
My wife tried to read it after I raved about the book but found the language offensive. So a warning, if "bad language" isn't your cup of tea then you may not appreciate this book. But for everyone else, I'd say this book is a must read for an understanding of the early days of the music in the twentieth century and how belief and desire can overcome even the most challenging of circumstances. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
But was interested in the references to this duet that crop up constantly and had listened but maybe not understood their music. However it is a really good read and tale of hardship and growing up in the USA in the mid 20 th century as well as their struggle to survive in the music biz
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By I. S. Macarthur on 25 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
No holds barred account of the incredible rise to fame of the Louvin Brothers. Fantastic evocation of a vanished time.
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