Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers Hardcover – 5 Feb 2012
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“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.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.
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.
If your are a Louvins fan and have their music you might like this in your collection.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
No holds barred account of the incredible rise to fame of the Louvin Brothers. Fantastic evocation of a vanished time.Published on 25 April 2014 by I. S. Macarthur
I love the Louvin Brothers and found this little book whilst on vacation in the US. It is a great book with short stories by Charlie describing his life, his musical career and his... Read morePublished on 31 Oct. 2013 by W. Driebergen
Honest, and often painful account of the life the Louvins led. Ira is a monster, Charlie the enabler and the caretaker, in every sense, of a story that comes from another America. Read morePublished on 21 Aug. 2013 by constant reader