Charlie Louvin 1927 - 2011
January 26, 2011 7:21 AM   Subscribe

Country music legend Charlie Louvin has passed on. Charlie rose to fame with his brother Ira as the Louvin Brothers, whose career was cut short by Ira's death by automobile accident in 1965. Charlie continued to record and perform solo, and though his popularity never quite reached the heights that it did with his brother he retained a loyal fanbase until the very end. posted by item (29 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble

posted by steambadger at 7:31 AM on January 26, 2011

Beautiful tribute, item. He had an unforgettable voice.

posted by readery at 7:33 AM on January 26, 2011


We'll miss you, Charlie.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:41 AM on January 26, 2011


Thanks for this. I've been a big Louvin Brothers fan.
posted by kingbenny at 7:50 AM on January 26, 2011

I'm fortunate in that I got to meet him briefly a few years back (he moved to my parent's home town and attended their church). He's been one of my heroes for a long time and merely getting to shaking his hand was a thrill for me.

Also: Best. Album. Cover. Ever. And Uncle Tupelo covers Atomic Power.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:52 AM on January 26, 2011

This made me very sad.


Knoxville Girl
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:53 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

He's on his way to the River of Jordan.

Don't forget I Like the Christian Life, made famous by the Byrds. Also fun -- There's a Higher Power.
posted by msalt at 8:18 AM on January 26, 2011

Love The Louvin Brothers.
Is it ever explained why the guy did what he did to the Knoxville Girl?

posted by annekenstein at 8:20 AM on January 26, 2011

I've heard it suggested that "your dark and roving eyes" suggests she was unfaithful.
But at the end of the day, it probably doesn't really matter why. ;)
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:37 AM on January 26, 2011

wonderful, down home kind of guy, who also happened to be a marvelous musician.

posted by msconduct at 8:38 AM on January 26, 2011

Paste magazine just posted a brief obit.
posted by msconduct at 8:52 AM on January 26, 2011


There was a covers album for the Louvin Brothers a while back that was absolutely fantastic. I'd never heard of them until I ran across it, and picked it up mostly because of the many names I recognized paying tribute to them. He may be gone, but it's clear his influence will live on.
posted by immlass at 9:15 AM on January 26, 2011

Aw, man, I'm having a bad day already and this makes it suck even worse. Two years ago, Mr. Louvin played at a venue in Athens, GA. I had a ticket but got to the place 3 hours before showtime, planning to sit on the patio and read. When I got there, Charlie Louvin was also sitting there. "Hey!" he said, "come over here and keep me company!"

So I ended up talking to Charlie Louvin for 3 hours. He talked a lot about Ira, and what an angry, difficult man he was. He described in detail the night Ira died and what his thoughts were about the situation. He talked about his punishing touring schedule, his house in Tenn., his loyalty to his wife. He told me a series of extremely ribald jokes.

The best part was when I told him that Knoxville Girl was the first song I ever learned (when I was 3). We sang it together right there on the patio. I had a laptop with me and we talked about the origin of the song. I looked up information about the song's permutations and history and we spent a lot of time browsing the web reading about it. Then I asked if he knew the song called "Little Mary Fagin," about the girl of the same name who was murdered in a pencil factory in Atlanta. "Oh yes," he said. We sang that one, too. "Little Mary Fagin, she went to town one day. She went to the pencil factory to get her hard-earned pay."

"You sure know a lot of old songs for someone so young," he said (I was 38 at the time). "Maybe you know this one." He launched into a song about a dead lover and a letter and a long time waiting. I didn't know it and spent a good amount of time looking for it on the web, to no avail. "That song..." he said, and sang it again with tears in his eyes. Seriously, he was sitting there singing this song, crying.*

"Well," he said finally, "I guess that's another old one, gone."

And now I'm sitting here listening to Charlie sing "River of Jordan," tears in my eyes, because that's Charlie Louvin. Another old one, gone.

*Incidentally, I once made Brian Eno cry by asking him about his sister. My job on this planet is to make musical icons cry, I think.
posted by staggering termagant at 9:16 AM on January 26, 2011 [27 favorites]

Also, I told HIM the story that Johnny Cash always told about how Cash was a little kid at the fair and some dude came up to him and asked him where the bathrooms were and Cash almost died because it was Charlie Louvin, one of his heroes.

"I feel just like Johnny Cash right now!" I said.

"That reminds me," he replied, "Where's the bathroom?"
posted by staggering termagant at 9:19 AM on January 26, 2011 [8 favorites]

Lovely tribute, item, and great story, staggering termagant.

posted by essexjan at 9:28 AM on January 26, 2011

Took my wife to see him a few years ago at a house concert - someone's living room, 50 people, potluck. Charlie did two sets. Incredible. Quite a friendly old guy.
posted by notsnot at 9:50 AM on January 26, 2011

posted by Aquaman at 9:56 AM on January 26, 2011

They don't make them like Charlie anymore. (Ira, either, for that matter.) R.I.P., good sir.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:01 AM on January 26, 2011

A personal favorite.
posted by Rangeboy at 10:02 AM on January 26, 2011

RIP, Charlie.
posted by brand-gnu at 12:26 PM on January 26, 2011

posted by Ironmouth at 12:36 PM on January 26, 2011

posted by TheCoug at 1:36 PM on January 26, 2011

My favourite Louvin Brothers song is 'Satan's Jewel Crown'.
Emmylou version, I don't see the original now.
posted by ovvl at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2011

RIP, sir. RIP.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 3:35 PM on January 26, 2011

I just love the Louvin Brothers. Thanks for all the links. I'll enjoy them lots!
posted by cccorlew at 3:42 PM on January 26, 2011

Bob Dylan was a huge fan of the Louvin Brothers. I searched out their music after he mentioned them so many times on Theme Time Radio Hour. Bobby's got good taste.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:53 PM on January 26, 2011

Damn. RIP, Great One.
posted by jonmc at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2011

I don't know how I missed Satan is Real, but I did.

Hank III's take on this Louvin Brothers classic.

I remember hearing a great Fresh Air interview with Charlie Louvin a while back.

"Another dead genius country star..."

posted by kjh at 11:26 AM on January 27, 2011

If you are already into The Everly Brothers you will find that The Louvin Brothers are fantastic to enjoy!
posted by CruisinForABruisin at 5:13 PM on January 31, 2011

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