I jist got a new CD. Actually a reissue.
SATAN IS REAL by THE LOUVIN BROTHERS 1959
These guys are like this old time country nashville act. Now, how did I, who
besides liking Johnny Cash, Sweetheart of The Rodeo, and Nashville Skyline, am
really not a country music fan whatsover discover this esoteric recording.
Okay, remember David Gates who wrote the Newsweek article. Well, some may
remember, that I know the guy and I talked to him about the article he told me
this interesting story. While waiting around for the phone call so he could go
to the hotel for the follow up interview, he was correcting his manuscript of
Preston Falls, his novel due next year. He was correcting a quote from Satan
is Real. He likes all that old stuff. Anyway, so when he is talking to Dylan,
Bob is talking about how he gets all his religion from the old songs. Dylan
mentions the Louvin Brothers song, Satan is Real, how scary it is. Gates
goes, wait a second and tells Dylan how weird it was that he was just
correcting the quote. Dylan smiles, says it s a small world Dave.
Well, ever since I heard this, I had to get this record. Actually, what a
great title. Satan is Real. I mean, I just dig songs with weird religious
Anyway, it s a $9.99 re-issue at Tower.
WHAT A FREAKY RECORD. I mean, it s like pentecostal imagery. It s reminiscent
of that Johnny Cash song, Where You There When You Crucified The Lord. The
cover is this weird thing, the brothters Louvin in white linen suits with this
real big picture of a demon and sourrounded by fires.
The music is like totally grand ole oprey, but very authentic. I can hear this
guy s influence, on the everly brothers and country rock.
Satan is Real the title track is quire remarkable. It has this preaching in
the middle where this guy begs his preacher to proclaim that god is real, but
satan is real too. Very revival. It s Jesus of Nashville. Grand Ole Oprey
The record features The Chrisitan Life, which The Byrds did on the seminal
Sweetheart of the Rodeo. The Byrds do a note a note for version of the Louvin
boys, but they do it honestly. No hippie tongue in post pyschedelic cheek.
Another song, The Kneeling Drunkard s Plea, Dylan copped the melody almost to
the note for Only A Hobo. To be fair, that s a pretty much traditional melody
Another truly bizzarre song is The Drunkard s Doom. In this song, this guy is
a drunk, goes sober, goes home to his wife who is crying, because their infant
baby just died. IT s like WINNESBURG OHIO.
From There s A Higher Power.
Man made the big guns, there s a higher power
man made the cars that run, there s a higher power
but make no mistake and mark this down
only god can make a heavenly crown.
There s a higher power.
Now, this one is also weird in a coincidence way. Satan s Jeweled Crown was
done by Nicollete Larson. This is in the liner notes. I hadn t thought of her
in years. She did Neil Young s Gonna Take a Lotta Love. Probably the only neil
young cover to be a hit. Anyway, I hear today that she DIED. WOW. Small World
Anyway, I was talking to a friend of mine and he is well acquainted with the
Louvin Brothers via Emmy Lou Harris who used to cover their more mainstream
country songs. So, it s not like they re unknowns. Just unknown to me.
Also, since this song was on Bob s mind, I submit that Dylan may not declare
himself a christian anymore, but he still thinks about the issues involved. In
other words, he is cognizant of good and evil, and has a monotheistic world
I sort of recommend this record, even though that born again fundamentalism is
racist and repressive. But, not liking this music may be tantamount to blaming
Helter Skelter for Charlie Manson.
Jesus is endlessly fascinating, whethter you believe he is a messiah or just
an historical figure. Worth checking out.
Satan is Real. Even when he comes as a man of peace!