CD Tragic Songs of Life [Gusto] (CD 1068612),
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Tragic Songs of Life [Gusto]

  • 1. Kentucky
    2. I'll Be All Smiles Tonight
    3. Let Her Go, God Bless Her
    4. What Is Home Without Love
    5. Tiny Broken Heart, A
    6. In the Pines
    7. Alabama
    8. Katie Dear
    9. My Brother's Will
    10. Knoxville Girl
    11. Take the News to Mother
    12. Mary of the Wild Moor
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 105

  • Credits

    Personnel includes: Charlie Louvin (vocals, guitar); Ira Louvin (vocals, mandolin); Paul Yandell (guitar).
    Producer: Ken Nelson.
    Reissue producer: John Johnson.
    Includes liner notes by Charles Wolfe.
    Recording information: 1956.
    This is Charlie and Ira Louvin at their musical best, offering up a prime example of their quietly influential bluegrass-inflected country sound. The brothers' high harmonies and deft guitar and mandolin picking (Charlie and Ira, respectively) carry the tunes, which stay true to the melancholy mood suggested by the record's title. While the Louvins perform their own songs (namely the lovelorn narrative "A Tiny Broken Heart" and the somber "Alabama"), they mainly focus on traditional numbers (the shuffling "Let Her Go, God Bless Her" and the murder ballad "Knoxville Girl") and other classics (the homesick "Kentucky" and the haunting "In the Pines"). Although the Louvins' penchant for gospel themes isn't very apparent here, their passionate delivery and tales of lives gone wrong hint at the more blatantly religious material they would tackle on later releases such as THE FAMILY WHO PRAYS and SATAN IS REAL.

  • Critic Reviews
    Rolling Stone (12/26/96, p.189) - "Harmony singing in country music doesn't get any sweeter than the Louvin Brothers....brought traditional music to the commercial precincts of Nashville without watering down its impact....blending born-again fervor with slice-of-life starkness..."
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