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Satan is Real

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 23, 1996
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This CD is a reissue of the best-known gospel album by one of country's best-known brother duos and gospel groups. It's the original source for, among other gems, "The Christian Life," written by Charlie and Ira Louvin and popularized among hippies by the Gram Parsons-era Byrds. These tracks were all written by professional songwriters and tend to have more ingenuity and offbeat imagery than standard hymns and spirituals. The duo sings some in the smooth style of their original mentors, the Delmore Brothers, and others in rough, backwoods harmonies. And don't kid yourself, Billy Sunday would have danced with Mr. D himself for a program cover that equaled this set's cover art. --John Morthland
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 23, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Capitol Nashville
  • ASIN: B000002U45
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,021 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

By K. H. Orton on April 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The cover is worth the sticker price alone. Truely, one of the great album covers of all time. As the liner notes will attest, the Louvins concieved & built it themselves, risking serious injury when the kerosene coated rocks began to explode behind them. Prophetic as that sounds, if this record were a book, you could judge it by the cover. The contents are truely as haunting, campy, beautiful & passionate as that manic expression on Brother Ira's face.

Sinners be warned, this is Gospel music. So yes, there is that cloying, BE SAVED OR DAMNED message behind it all. But these passive-agressive tactics are undermined by the Louvin's bittersweet sound. These guys sing like hell bent angels, clinging desperately to the darkest, lonely cloud in Heaven's outlands. Behind the unintentional camp of self penned ditties like, "Satan Is Real" is a deep rooted cry for mercy. The barnstorming glee of "There's A Higher Power" follows & is as infectious as Hank Williams' classic, "I Saw The Light".

Much has been said of this albums' influence on the late, Gram Parsons. His faithful rendition of "The Christian Life" is an obvious example. But I can't help but wonder what the Louvin's thought of the likes of GILDED PALACE OF SIN. Their sacred sound is all over it. So if you're a Burritos/Parsons fan---this is indispensible.

My personal favorite is "He Can Be Found". Not only does it represent this duo at their subtle best, but when each brother takes their solo, it's likely to stop you in your tracks. It's the waving grass over the fire & brimstone of "Satan's Jeweled Crown" & "Drunkard's Doom". Another standout is, "Are You Afraid To Die" which is as raw & honest as popular music gets in any genre.

Since hearing this, I've sought out a few other Louvin Bros.
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Format: Audio CD
This is such sincere music - It's not the very best quality production, at time it's downright campy, but you can certainly feel the conviction in Ira and Charlie Louvin's voices in this collection of country gospel. Perhaps you've been sheltered from the experience of attending a revival meeting on a hot summer night in a little Baptist church - This is what it sounds like when they have the 'special music'. For example, check out the organ accompaniment on "The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea", or the spoken 'testimony' during the title track.
The Louvin Brothers set the standard for harmony singing in the genre, and indeed it's mighty good here, as they confront the Prince of Darkness himself. Good stuff.
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Format: Audio CD
It's easy to look at the album cover (certainly one of the most bizarre I've ever seen) and write the Louvin Brothers off as a cornball hillbilly act. That would be a grave mistake; their music in general, and on this album in particular, rings with power and honest emotion. This album includes "The Christian Life", made famous a few years later by the Gram Parsons-era Byrds (and one of my favorite songs, incidentally), a cover of the Carter Family's "Kneeling Drunkard's Plea", and the truly moving "He Can Be Found", as well as the title track, supposedly inspired by an actual testimony given at a revival meeting at the Louvins' boyhood church. And those are just the highlights; the rest of the album is just about as good.
This is an album that literally should not be judged by its cover; the Louvins are in deadly earnest, and they proclaim their faith with conviction. Definitely worth listen, or two, or three...
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Format: Audio CD
I got this album expecting a campy laugh, as I am into odd and bizarre music. Sure, it is over the top, but it is also passionate and beautiful. The Louvin Brothers put their heart and soul into the music, and the harmonies are quite fantastic. I was throughly unexpected to be moved by this, as I am an atheist, but I oddly was. The songs are about regret, sin, death, redeption, and are done with odd amounts of power the the cover barely suggest at all. Hell, even Gram Parsons is a fan of this album, as the Byrds covered "The Christian Life" for the groundbreaking "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" LP. It is preachy and over the top to be sure, but is at the same time deeply passioned and moving. I originally bought this album mainly because I found it cheap and thought it would look funny in my CD wallet. Like many I was expecting as much a campy laugh on the album as the cover delivers, but was pleasently surprised.
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Format: Audio CD
The Louvin Brothers have done the world a great service by providing us with an album cover which once and for all settles the age-old debate over Satan's realness. I have seen the album cover, and folks, believe me when I tell you that Satan is as real as rib-eye gravy! All the more amazing is that the Brothers Louvin were able to schedule a photo shoot with Beelzebub himself, in view of his hectic schedule: he's currently midway through a lecture tour of east coast colleges, after which he reports to Hollywood to film a new set of TV ads for Underwood Ham. Don't be put off by the fact that Satan appears in this photo as a 12-foot inflatable rabbit doll, painted bright red, sporting an Elvis-style hairdo, and a pair of eyes cut and pasted from an early photo of Wally Cox. And don't let's forget about the music! The Louvins singing style is best described as a cross between the Everly Brothers and a group of hungry alley cats. Enjoy!
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