Louvin Brothers "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby"Charlie Louvin passed earlier today (Jan 26th) of complications stemming from an ongoing bout with pancreatic cancer. He was 83. Charlie Louvin is best remembered as one half of the famous Louvin Brothers along with brother Ira Louvin (above video is of the two Alabama-born brothers doing "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby"). Once famously cited as Elvis Presley's favorite musical duo and widely revered for their impeccable harmonizing, these country music artists started out their career playing on the radio in Tennessee in the early 1940's, initially singing traditional gospel harmony style. They later moved to Nashville and joined the Grand Old Opry in the mid 1950's. At that same time they signed a record deal with Capitol Records and churned out a series of popular singles and albums. Their albums included Satan Is Real (the 1959 album with songs like "Are You Afraid to Die" and "The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea." The album has much talked about, unintentionally comical cover art -- see below right) and 1960's My Baby's Gone. The sibling band broke up over personal differences in 1963 (two years later Ira would be killed in an auto accident) and Charlie began his long solo career shortly after.
Cited as inspiration for the Everly Brothers, the Louvin Brothers' music became admired by a new generation of music fans by the later sixties thanks in great part to the late Gram Parsons (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers). The Louvins' "The Christian Life" appeared on the Byrds' acclaimed 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Their legacy has only grown since, with such artists as Emmy Lou Harris, Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave, and the Raconteurs all either covering their music and/or citing them as influences.
In 2001 the Louvin Brothers were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. In recent years Charlie, who would have turned 84 in July, was enjoying another resurgence in popularity and as recently as 2007 was playing festivals such as Bonaroo alongside DJ Shadow, David Cross, and the Cold War Kids. Although loved for his music, Louvin was also known for making racist comments -- at a 2009 Spaceland concert he told a tasteless joke about Barack Obama -- alienating some fans.