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Satan Is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers Hardcover – January 3, 2012
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“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)
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Top Customer Reviews
This book has so many great stories about Charlie's and his brother Ira plus an added bonus of lyrics to several of the duo's best loved songs. Charlie and Ira didn't always seen eye to eye but if you wanted to get on Charlie's bad side, just say something negative about his brother. Ira died in 1965 but until Charlie's dying day he loved his brother more than words could ever say. As much as Charlie loved music and performing, his family was the most important of all. I am honored to say that being on the road with Charlie I heard many of these stories but there's even some stories in the book that he never told. Whether you're a fan of the Louvin Brothers, Charlie Louvin or traditional country music you'll get a glimpse of love, life, family and the trails and tribulations for one of the most famous and most influential music duos. I think it should be required reading for university music degree programs or for those wanting to get in to the music business so they can understand what sacrifices artists made in paving the way for the next generation of up and coming acts. Definitely a must have book.
In addition to the telling great stories and showcasing his devotion for his brother, Charlie Louvin got it right in the way the stories are presented. Louvin and Ben Whitmer have put together a phenomenal book in terms of structure, for one thing. Each story is presented in a few pages -- sometimes three, sometimes five or six. Each one can stand all alone, like a short story, but each story informs the entire narrative, like chapters in a book.
This book is kinda like the quilt your grandmother and her friends had hanging from that frame in the ceiling, the one they worked on every afternoon while you watched tv and drank iced tea and listened to them out of the corner of your ear. Each little square they worked into the quilt had its own narrative, its own reason. And they worked, piecing them together in a tapestry, the whole being so much more than the sum of its parts. Each square a work of art, and the whole quilt a piece of each of them, a memory of warmth, passed down for generations.
Charlie Louvin told great stories, and Benjamin Whitmer Pike (Switchblade) has worked them together into an amazing collection.
Whether you're interested in country living or country music, in American history or personal history, SATAN IS REAL is a remarkable achievement and, more importantly, an amazing and rewarding read.
And this book is pure Charlie: candid, rough-hewn, unpretentious, thoughtful. Charlie's honesty about the brutality visited upon Ira (and himself, but more Ira) by their father, about Ira's nasty, alcohol-fueled behavior, about the hard times in general, is breathtaking. Charlie doesn't sugarcoat anything, but his simple recollections carry no taint of scandalmongering in order to sell a book either. Here, he says, is just how it was.
Co-writer Benjamin Whitmer (of PIKE fame) has done a superlative job of eliciting and organizing the stories of Charlie's life, clarifying and illustrating his words without ever once getting in the way of Charlie's natural voice. Thus not only the music and the brothers are revealed here, but also there is a glimpse into mid-century rural Appalachian culture, a time when small family farms were worked by hand, a time when communities came together around a single radio. And also a time when a man could with impugnity beat his children senseless; when a sixth-grade education was all most children of Appalachia could aspire to; when racial slurs were accepted conversation; a time and place of grinding poverty that could yet yield the finest of vocal harmonies. Along the way, Charlie talks about the celebrities of his day and industry, not namedropping but recognizing the roles these people played in his life: Roy Acuff, Fred Rose, Hank Williams, Elvis, Colonel Tom Parker, and Kris Kristofferson. And the chapter about the loan Johnny Cash made to Charlie is worth the price of the book all by itself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
By Charlie Louvin’s own account, people who saw the Louvin Brothers perform were mystified by the experience. Read morePublished 26 days ago by HH
Wonderful story of Country Music. The Louvin Brothers were famous, well liked and well known. Have loved Charlies' music since I was young, don't think he ever made a bad record. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Margaret A. Krause
I had never heard of these guys but heard the book was a great read. It was!Published 3 months ago by DM
Interesting book,it certainly is a Cain and Able story.Possible the most you will ever know about the Louvin Brothers.Published 3 months ago by doris
Great book- short concise chapter- so much fun to read that I immediately read it again!Published 9 months ago by michael d duckworth
The word 'legendary' has been tossed around and diluted so much over the years, that I hesitate to use it here... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Deacon D.
One of the two best autobiographies I've read in American country music. (The other is Ralph Stanley's "Man of Constant Sorrow. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Timothy Hallinan