Appalachia Music

A Rebe & Rabe Song Made Famous By The Louvin Brothers

A Rebe & Rabe Song Made Famous By The Louvin Brothers

For today’s Pickin & Grinnin In The Kitchen Spot-I have an old song for you-Don’t Laugh. It’s a toe tapping number that moves right along-and Paul and Pap’s harmony is perfect. The title is ironic to me due to a behind the scenes story Paul told me about the song. The Louvin Brothers had a hit with the song during the late 1950s. Most of the songs recorded by The Louvins Brothers were written by them-but not this one.

Rebe & Rabe another popular duet style group also hailed from Alabama-like The Louvins. Paul read the following in a book about The Louvins-he has 2 but thinks the story might have been in the book In Close Harmony: The Story of The Louvin Brothers written by Charles Wolfe.

Charlie said him and Ira (his brother) would put out a new song they’d written-and by 12:00 that day Rebe & Rabe would have it down pat and be singing it in the next town-drawing in a crowd. Charlie said then him and Ira would go to a venue where Rebe & Rabe had performed recently-and folks would accuse them of stealing songs from Rebe & Rabe-when they were actually The Louvin Brother’s songs. It happened so often that The Louvins began to get a little irritated.

Charlie and Ira had the chance to hear Don’t Laugh-a song Rebe & Rabe were singing-and decided to be sneaky and give the other duo a taste of their own medicine. The Louvins recorded Don’t Laugh in 1957.

Pap and Paul do a pretty goog job on the song as well-take a listen and see if you don’t agree.

One other humorous story about the song: To say we are fans of The Louvin Brothers is an understatement-we adore their music-they are our heroes. Of course Pap has been a number one fan of theirs since he was young-much longer than Paul or me.

One day Paul and Pap were discussing the song Don’t Laugh-and Pap said he just knew The Louvin Brothers wrote the song. When Paul finally proved to him that they didn’t-Pap said with great disappointment “Well it looks like they could’ve if they’d tried.”

Did you tap your toes?


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in January of 2011. 

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  • Reply
    George Pettie
    September 28, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Love it.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Oh, my toes are a tappin! An enjoyable piece of music!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 28, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    I believe you all could make just
    about anything sound good. Every
    instrument can be heard. I like the
    Louvin Brothers also and Jim and

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 28, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I think Rabe & Rabe and The Louvin Brothers might have “borrowed” much of their musical style from Bill and Earl Bolick. The Bolick brother were a couple of “lint heads” from right down the road from here. They were probably the progenitors of the brothers close harmony sound.
    Lint heads are people who go in to work all spiffy and neat and leave looking like nonagenarians. All those jobs have moved away now and all the former lint heads are in the unemployment line, but they are looking younger and their ears and nasal passages are clear.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 28, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Who said, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I am still waiting for someone to plagiarize my words. In retrospect though, I don’t have much to tempt a marauder to cabbage onto. In fact, some of it is so bad I won’t even claim it myownself.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2014 at 8:03 am

    Really nice job on the song.. You’d be surprised at how often that happens in the music world and still does, I’ve read books also where someone wrote it,, presented it and later the person they introduced it too, changed it just a little and recorded it, without any form of compensation to the writer,, plum dirty if you ask me, I read a book on a really famous Bluegrass singer whom was accused of doing this a lot back in the day..

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Very nice, a toe tapper for sure!

  • Reply
    Mark Selby
    September 28, 2014 at 7:11 am

    That ‘un makes me cry.

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