October 27, 2002
Country Matters

Last Sunday, Al Barger of Blogcritics wrote an appreciation of Grandpa Jones that convinced me there's a major hole in my CD collection. He ended his piece by quoting the lyrics of Jones' early 1950's song "I'm No Communist". That's not the only old country song guaranteed to shock or offend a contemporary college professor. Ernest Tubb did "America, Love It or Leave It" in 1970, and the Louvin Brothers had several pertinent titles. "Don't Let Them Take the Bible Out of Our Schoolrooms" (1962) seems to be available only on the 8-disc Bear Family Oeuvres Complètes, but When I Stop Dreaming: The Best of the Louvin Brothers, which is indeed the best introduction to the Louvins, includes both "Broadminded" and "The Great Atomic Power" (both 1952). The first begins:

That word broad-minded is spelled S-I-N:
It says in my Bible they shall not enter in.

The second argues that all-out nuclear war would be no big deal compared to the wrath of God. This is orthodox Christian theology, but the kind even most Christians don't want to hear these days. The Louvins' album Satan Is Real features one of my all-time favorite album covers, though I've never understood why an album with that title would depict Satan in such an obviously fake manner.

Other things I have learned in the last ten years:

  1. When I first heard Hank Williams' duets with Miss Audrey, I realized that Yoko Ono ("She ruined the Plastic Ono Band!") was not the worst thing ever to happen to a foolish husband's career.
  2. As far as I'm concerned, the only good Hank Williams is the dead Hank Williams. Note that I did not write "a dead Hank Williams": I don't mean to imply that when Hank Jr. and Hank III die they'll become good. And I do wish them long and happy lives and even successful careers, as long as I don't have to listen to their stuff.
  3. Rockers were not the first to make a habit of destroying their instruments on stage: Ira Louvin (d. 1965) was smashing mandolins on-stage long before. Fortunately, he was a skilled mandolin repairman, at least when he was sober.
Posted by Dr. Weevil at October 27, 2002 12:25 AM

Ever hear "Don't Get Drunk No More" by Grandpa Jones? It's great - used to have it on my answering machine. Ditto "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" by the Louvins. One of the prettiest melodies I've ever heard. I might have that title wrong though...

Posted by: Mike on October 28, 2002 08:42 AM

I wonder if I'm the only guy in the blogosphere who actually likes some of Yoko Ono's recordings? %-)

Posted by: Dean Esmay on October 29, 2002 04:19 PM


I had never heard of the Louvins ten years ago. Then about five years ago I heard "I don't believe you've met my baby" on some kind of compilation album -- it was just about the only song on the album I didn't already know. (I belive it was their only song ever to chart, though "If I could only win your love" is better known as a song since Emmy Lou Harris made it a hit.) I liked the one song enough to buy the "Best of" album, and liked that enough to buy the $150 8-disc complete works. No regrets about that, either: not every song is great, but there are at least a dozen worth hearing on each disc.

Posted by: Dr. Weevil on October 29, 2002 05:19 PM

One of the best Louvin Brother's albums is an all live recorded album on their old radio shows. I don't remember the exact title, but something to the effect of "The radio years".....

Side one is Gospel. Side two has "I don't believe you've met my baby", "When I stop dreaming" and many more greats.

Also, Hank and Audrey did more together in the early years of his career - not the later years.

Posted by: Michael A. on December 17, 2002 10:31 AM

Meny years ago I knew all the words to that song by The Louvin Brothers,"I don't belive you've met my baby" The other day it came back to me,but I have forgotten some of the words.I was looking to try and find the word so I can use it again where I make music each Saturday night.I like you,think that, thatis a great song.can you help me out?

Posted by: Hylton J Leftwich on May 27, 2003 04:56 PM