You are hereAlbum Review: Charlie Louvin - The Battle Rages On (True North)
Album Review: Charlie Louvin - The Battle Rages On (True North)
One half of legendary gospel duo the Louvin Brothers, Charlie Louvin is still making music sixty years on from his first forays into music with his late brother Ira. Famed for their close harmony singing, the Louvin Brothers were a staple on the Grand Ole Opry stage from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s and have since influenced many of the great names in country music and beyond, including Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Jack White.
The voice of this octogenarian is unlikely to be as strong as the voice he had as a young man, but Charlie uses the frailty in his voice to his advantage. Backed by a first rate band of musicians including his son Sonny and Ben Hall on guitars, Mitchell Brown on bass, who also produces, Deanie Richardson and David Russell on fiddles and mandolins and Kevin Kathey on snare, Louvin is also joined by Del McCourey, Jamie Dailey and Ben Hall providing harmony vocals along with Mitchell Brown.
In a time when our eyes and ears are almost constantly focussed on the outrageous conflicts in the world, Charlie's new album THE BATTLES RAGE ON tackles the subject of military service and those affected by it. As a veteran of the Korean War himself, this album should perhaps be viewed as an empathetic and heartfelt tribute to those affected by war in our times.
Opening with Smoke on the Water, not to be confused with the 1970s riff-laden rock anthem, but an updated version of the old Zeke Clements and Earl Nunn patriot song, Louvin brings us into the 21st century with not only references to Hitler but to Bin Laden as well. Although this album deals with all aspects of conflict from major world wars to domestic turmoil between ordinary people, Louvin takes the stand point of the observer, recognising the destructive power of war as well as acknowledging his own inherent patriotism, supporting those who serve their country for the greater good.
With a selection of hand-picked songs from some of his own contemporaries such as Merle Haggard I Wonder If they Ever Think of Me, Tom T Hall What We're Fighting For, Roy Acuff Searching for a Soldier's Grave and Ernest Tubb A Soldier's Last Letter, Louvin recreates the songs with care and respect. THE BATTLES RAGE ON also provides the surviving Louvin brother the opportunity to revisit some of his former duo's back catalogue with Mother I Thank You for the Bible, Robe of White and Weapon of Prayer, each previously issued by the brothers on their WEAPON OF PRAYER album.
Finishing with the traditional Down by the Riverside, the longest living member of The Grand Ole Opry and four-time Grammy nominee, rounds off a timely recording, which may have listeners reflecting on those making sacrifices abroad, whether they agree with it or not.