The Louvin Brothers

Close Harmony

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

While the Bear Family label in Germany has accomplished many formidable feats -- four Johnny Cash box sets, six Hank Snow boxes, four Flatt & Scruggs boxes, and on and on -- the accomplishment in putting together this eight-CD 219-track collection of Louvin Brothers recordings may be the label's finest hour. If there were ever a duo that embodied the entirety of the country tradition from its folk music and gospel roots through the development of bluegrass and into honky tonk music, it was the Louvins, who have inspired virtually everyone who has come after them. Charlie and Ira took harmony singing to a new level and the creation of full-length albums far out of the sphere of one or two singles and filler. Whether it be in the duets of Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, or the alt-country band Freakwater, the Louvins are in the stem. Here are contained all of their Capitol, Decca, MGM, and Apollo sides. All of the concept recordings, such as Satan Is Real, Tragic Songs of Life, and the rest, are here in chronological order, with complete session notes. In merely listing the personnel, the reader will be awed at who performed with them: Owen Bradley, Pete Drake, Don Helms, Chet Atkins, Grandpa Jones, Dale Potter, Buddy Harman, Jimmy Capps, and the Jordanaires, to name just a few. Fred Rose was their producer, along with Bradley. And then the songs -- whether they be traditional Christmas songs like "O Little Town of Bethlehem," broken-hearted love songs such as "I Hear You've Been Cheatin' on Me" and "Love Is a Lonely Street," patriotic anthems such as "I Died for the Red, White and Blue," or gospel songs like "Mother I Thank You for the Bible You Gave Me," the restless, lonesome ghostly sound of sweetness itself is present. It's true that this is mainly for the fanatics, but it's also for libraries and historians of the music, and for those who can't get enough of Gram and Emmylou or real country music. This set is a treasure. Period.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:02
2 2:53
3 2:52
4 2:48
5 2:36
6 2:55
7 2:41
8 2:53
9 2:27
10 3:03
11 2:39
12 2:48
13 2:41
14 2:44
15 2:35
16 2:32
17 2:56
18 2:37
19 2:23
20 2:55
21 2:25
22 2:28
23 2:51
24 2:37
25 2:24
26 2:23
27 2:33
28 2:39

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 2:50
3 2:48
4 2:38
5 2:36
6 2:37
7 2:40
8 2:37
9 2:55
10 2:31
11 2:08
12 2:46
13 2:23
14 2:34
15 2:09
16 2:35
17 2:17
18
2:37
19 2:41
20 2:18
21 2:42
22 3:15
23 3:15
24 3:03
25 3:14
26 3:51
27 2:41
28 2:32

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:18
2 2:49
3 2:57
4 2:34
5 2:29
6 2:44
7 2:18
8 2:23
9 2:28
10 2:41
11 2:48
12 2:32
13 2:33
14 3:02
15 2:26
16 3:15
17 2:57
18 2:46
19 2:20
20 2:14
21 2:27
22 3:06
23 2:55
24 2:44
25 2:37
26 2:42
27
2:34
28 2:21

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:30
2 2:20
3 2:26
4 2:35
5 2:40
6 2:46
7 2:23
8 2:15
9 2:03
10 2:30
11 2:04
12 2:32
13 2:04
14 2:23
15 2:23
16 2:16
17 2:28
18 2:31
19 2:21
20 2:08
21 2:14
22 2:41
23 2:24
24 3:19
25 2:20
26 2:21
27 2:49
28 2:59
29 2:17

Track Listing - Disc 5

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:13
2 2:54
3 3:03
4 2:19
5 2:37
6 2:16
7 2:24
8 3:17
9 2:42
10 2:57
11 2:15
12 2:48
13 2:28
14 2:26
15 2:25
16 2:44
17 2:55
18 2:42
19 2:34
20 2:37
21 3:25
22 2:19
23 3:11
24 2:58
25 2:46
26 2:52
27 2:57
28 2:02

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:44
2 2:15
3 3:00
4 3:00
5 2:43
6 2:11
7 2:28
8 2:26
9 2:37
10 2:25
11 3:21
12 1:58
13 3:13
14 3:32
15 2:31
16 3:30
17 2:09
18 2:30
19 2:39
20 2:21
21 3:06
22 2:23
23 3:01
24 2:28
25 3:30
26 3:05

Track Listing - Disc 7

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:48
2 2:31
3 2:57
4 1:55
5 1:51
6 2:25
7 2:36
8 2:42
9 2:27
10 3:08
11 2:13
12 3:09
13 3:00
14 3:32
15 3:07
16 2:59
17 2:41
18 2:43
19 3:21
20 2:37
21 3:16
22 2:53
23 2:38
24 2:39
25 2:50
26 2:38

Track Listing - Disc 8

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:03
2 3:01
3 4:00
4 3:26
5 2:11
6 2:16
7 2:37
8 3:54
9 3:38
10 2:02
11 2:26
12 2:18
13
3:03
14 1:51
15 2:26
16 3:31
17 1:56
18 2:39
19 2:06
20 2:16
21 2:11
22 2:44
23 2:17
24 2:48
25 2:54
26
3:23
27
3:22
blue highlight denotes track pick