the louvin brothers – satan is real (1959)

The Louvin Brothers exquisitely harmonised messages of sin on their most devout record. Born out of the Great Depression, the two experienced a spectrum of turmoil and gaily prophesized the macabre beliefs that beat in their hearts. Ira Louvin could have died two years before the car crash that took him in 1965: his wife shot him thrice in the chest after being beaten. “If he ain’t dead, I’ll shoot him again” she is understood to have said in custody. Charlie, meanwhile, lived a long, Christian life that ended in 2011. That explains the personal obsession with evil—the music is just about the choices it kindles. 

27/30

A favourite: ‘The Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea’ 

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