Wednesday, January 26, 2011

When I Stop Dreaming - R.I.P. Charlie Louvin

Charlie Louvin, country music pioneer and master of that high, lonesome sound with his brother Ira, died earlier today from complications due to pancreatic cancer. It's difficult to overstate The Louvin Brothers influence on classic country music and today's americana artists. Their incredible harmony singing still thrills 50 years later and their gospel leanings gave their music an otherworldly intensity. Charlie Louvin was never really able to make up for the loss of his brother Ira, who died in an automobile accident in 1965, but continued performing and recording until as recently as last year. As Mr. Louvin recounted to host Terry Gross on a 1996appearance on NPR's Fresh Air:

“When it comes time for the harmonies to come in, I will move to my left because my brother and I always used ... one microphone. Even today, I will move over to the left to give the harmony room, knowing in my mind that there’s no harmony standing on my right.”

If you're not familiar with them, you're familiar with some of their devotees they influenced, including such Teenage Kicks faves as the Everly Brothers, The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris and Uncle Tupelo. If any of those artists reside in your collection, you owe it to yourself to check out Ira and Charlie Louvin - and you can start with When I Stop Dreaming, The Best of The Louvin Brothers, Razor & Tie's 5 star 1995 compilation. This is truly moving, spellbinding, timeless music.

The Louvin Brothers - When I Stop Dreaming

The Louvin Brothers - Cash on The Barrelhead

Gram Parsons - Cash on The Barrelhead / Hickory Wind

The Louvin Brothers - The Great Atomic Power

Uncle Tupelo - Atomic Power

Everly Brothers - Sing Me Back Home

1 comment:

FurryBootsCityBoy said...

When many of the "megastars" of today's country music are long forgotten, folk will still want to hear The Louvins - RIP Charlie.