Charlie Louvin [2007]

Charlie Louvin [2007]

by Charlie Louvin
     
 
Although country giant Charlie Louvin has rarely taken a break from recording, this effort promises to be his highest-profile album release in some time. As one half of country's greatest brother duo with his older sibling Ira, Charlie sang a sturdy, emotive lead tenor harmony to Ira's soaring, otherworldly high tenor (Bill Monroe considered Ira the second-best tenor

Overview

Although country giant Charlie Louvin has rarely taken a break from recording, this effort promises to be his highest-profile album release in some time. As one half of country's greatest brother duo with his older sibling Ira, Charlie sang a sturdy, emotive lead tenor harmony to Ira's soaring, otherworldly high tenor (Bill Monroe considered Ira the second-best tenor ever, after himself); now nearing 80, his weathered voice is endearingly rough around the edges, but he can still plumb the heart of a song like no one else. The dozen tracks here amount to Louvin landmarks, both from the brothers' catalog (towering entries such as "When I Stop Dreaming," featuring a wobbly second vocal by Elvis Costello, and the ever-topical "The Great Atomic Power," complete with a children's chorus plus Jeff Tweedy backing Charlie) and from Charlie's solo work (most notably his stirring tribute "Ira," which articulates most vividly how Charlie continues to feel his brother's presence in his music). Although Tift Merritt conjures a chilling performance when her turn comes on the Carter Family's "Grave on the Green Hillside," and Bright Eyes' Alex McManus is suitably doom-laden on "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea," the most effective duet partners are veterans George Jones, Tom T. Hall, and Bobby Bare Sr. Bare Sr. and Tom T. (the latter in a husky recitation) are good 'n' greasy on "Blues Stay Away from Me," and Jones is ragged but right on Bill Anderson's comical breakup song "Must You Throw Dirt in My Face" and on a rustic version of Jimmie Rodgers's "Waiting for a Train." But Charlie is always the star -- he's the one who brings it on every cut, his depth of soul and buoyancy of spirit leaving a listener slack-jawed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jeff Tamarkin
Charlie Louvin has been singing on his own for more than four decades, but he'll still always be known above all else as the lower-voiced half of country's famed Louvin Brothers. Every so often Charlie -- his brother, Ira Louvin, died in 1965 -- trots out a new album to remind fans that he's still going strong, and this time -- for his first new studio set in a decade -- he's got a lot of help to assist in making the point. Among the guests lending a hand here are George Jones, the omnipresent Elvis Costello, Marty Stuart, Tom T. Hall, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and members of contemporary rock and country bands such as Superchunk, Clem Snide, and Lambchop, all invited into the proceedings by producer Mark Nevers. As is often the case when superstars pay tribute to admired old-timers by mixing it up with them, be it Jerry Lee Lewis or Ray Charles or Charlie Louvin, the innate talent of the old-timer, if egos are kept in check, only gets magnified, and that's a good thing indeed. Louvin's voice has weathered plenty over the years, but he's still a master, and though there are little touches of rock and other contemporary sounds injected (not surprising, perhaps, because the Louvins were among the first to use electric guitar in country), more often than not the visitors find their space in Louvin's groove and ornament it without getting in his face. There are Louvin Brothers classics here, including "The Christian Life," once recorded by the Byrds, and -- with Tweedy in tow -- 1952's "Great Atomic Power," co-written with Buddy Bain and as relevant today as it was at the start of the Cold War era. Jones and Stuart lend vocals and mandolin, respectively, to Jimmie Rodgers' "Waiting for a Train," and Stuart returns, along with Hall and Bobby Bare, Sr., for the oft-recorded "Blues Stay Away from Me," written by one of the other great sibling harmony acts, the Delmore Brothers. But it's not until the album's penultimate track, "Ira," that the full emotional depth of Charlie Louvin's singing and songwriting is fully exposed. A tribute to his late brother ("I still hear you, off in the distance, your sweet harmony"), it's touching and sweet, the perfect juxtaposition to Charlie Louvin's voice, road-weary but still carrying the torch.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/20/2007
Label:
Tompkins Square
UPC:
0856075001042
catalogNumber:
1042
Rank:
281230

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charlie Louvin   Primary Artist
Marty Stuart   Mandolin
Tom T. Hall   Vocals
George Jones   Vocals
Elvis Costello   Vocals
Chip Young   Acoustic Guitar
Dennis Crouch   Upright Bass
Pete Cummings   Acoustic Guitar
Tony Harrell   Keyboards
Tracy Miller   Background Vocals
Jeff Tweedy   Background Vocals
David Kilgour   Electric Guitar
Mac McCaughan   Organ,Guitar
Kurt Wagner   Vocals
Alex McManus   Vocals
Tony Crow   Piano
Will Oldham   Vocals
Paul Burch   Guitar
Tift Merritt   Vocals
Chris Scruggs   Acoustic Guitar
Dan John Miller   Background Vocals
Lily Nevers   Background Vocals
William Tyler   Acoustic Guitar
Brian Kotzur   Drums

Technical Credits

Anita Carter   Composer
Charlie Monroe   Composer
Mother Maybelle Carter   Composer
A.P. Carter   Composer
June Carter Cash   Composer
Henry Glover   Composer
Ira Louvin   Composer
Charlie Louvin   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Mark Nevers   Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Wayne Raney   Composer
Helen Carter   Composer
Alton Delmore   Composer
Rabon Delmore   Composer
Joel T. Jordan   Art Direction
Buddy Bain   Composer
Traditional   Composer

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >