Appalachia Music

Charlie Louvin RIP

charlie louvin
Early yesterday morning, Charlie Louvin passed away. He made up half of the famous duo called The Louvin Brothers-his brother Ira was the other half. Charlie was 83 years old and had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. He was born in 1927-ten years before Pap.

Charlie and his brother Ira were from the Sand Mountain area of Alabama, and their real name was Loudermilk. They changed their name to Louvin to make a more appealing name for their musical act. You can learn more about Charlie’s history-and his earlier years by doing a quick google.

Just last week I told you The Louvin Brothers were our heroes. In the earlier Blind Pig days-I shared with you how I did a project for my Appalachian Studies class in college on The Louvin Brothers. I also told you what happened when Pap and his brother went to Nasheville and talked with Charlie about making it big in the music world.

Today I’ll share a different story with you. In 1998 Pap and Paul went to Bell Buckle TN to visit Charlie. They spent the day-sung some songs with him-Paul even got to play Charlie’s guitar. Charlie invited them to travel across the street with him, where there was a radio station inside a restaurant. Charlie performed a few songs live on the radio-then he introduced Pap and Paul and they did a couple of songs themselves.

Later that evening Charlie was headed for Nashville-for his gig on the Grand Ole Opry. He invited Paul and Pap to tag along-but it’d already been a long day and they said they better head for home. As they made their way back to Brasstown they listened to the Opry live on the radio. Their faces filled with smiles as they heard Charlie give them a shout out during his act-kinda made the perfect ending to a perfect day.

In 1965 Charlie’s brother Ira was killed in a car wreck. Check out this song Charlie wrote about him a few years ago.

My favorite line of the song: your voice is strong even though your gone cause I still hear your part. Kinda makes you wonder if they’re singing together again doesn’t it?



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  • Reply
    February 4, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Such a sad day in the music world. But what a happy day for the Louvin brothers who are reunited once again. Can you imagine the smiles on their faces at seeing eachother again?!

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    January 27, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    Tipper: charlie and ira have always been some of my favorites . i will go on listening to them as long as im around ,as i have several of their albums. i had followed their careers . charlie had a good long productive life. thanks for the tribute. k.o.h

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    That’s a beautiful post. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 27, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    Sad to see the great ones going. A lovely tribute, Tipper.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Thanks Anastasia!!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
    All at

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    What a wonderful tribute this is! I admit to ignorance. I had never heard before of the Louvin Brothers and it’s only thanks to you and your wonderful blog that I discovered their amazing music. Thanks a million, Tipper.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    It’s always sad to lose a pioneer in the country music world. I hope he’s making beautiful music now in heaven with his brother. I loved listening to the short video of him singing about his brother.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Several folks have said they weren’t aware that Charlie’s and Ira’s last name was actually Loudermilk. I’ve posted a short talking segment with the two of them from their radio program where they mention that (link below). Even though I never heard their radio program (this is from a CD, Songs That Tell a Story), just listening to the talking is a feel good moment, a reminder of days far too swiftly past.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    January 27, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    Charlie’s passing, right on the heels of your post last week, brings it home just how important it is to keep the good old music alive. Someone will always experiment,evolving it into something new, but that doesn’t make the old invalid. It’s important thet people like me, new to the music, can look back at where it came from, and hear what it was before it got “evolved”.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 11:45 am

    What a nice tribute to his brother. I’m sure they are singing all the old songs now.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    January 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Like Ken, the information about the change of name from Loudermilk to Louvin was new to me. Interesting, given that John D. Loudermilk stuck with his name (if, as I am assuming, it was the one he was born with). As for the Louvins, I love the high, lonesome sound you hear in some of their songs.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Tipper- That was a great song! I remember the louvin Brothers well. I can remember hearing them live on The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights on 650 WSM Nashville.
    My Momma loved them also. I’m sure you know all their songs. Remember “I Don’t Believe you’ve met My Baby”? Then another I remember is the one my Momma loved so much, “Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Self”.
    On that last song , if my memory serves me correctly, there was a guitar player -at least at the Opry- with a style of what I called a thumb picker style -you know like Chet Atkins- and he would rattle the rafters and the crowd would go wild. Pap would know for sure but I believe the announcer or master of ceremonies was Grant Turner at the time and just about every time The Louvins would finish a song Grant -if that was him- would have them do an encore.
    You might even remember Bill Carlyle -I know Pap does. Bill had a guitar picker that if you closed your eyes while listening you would swear it was Chet! He had one that had lines something like, “Just call on me if you need any help, need any help, need any help…..I can handle this job all by myself.”
    Thanks Tipper for reviving some old boyhood memories.

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    January 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this. The Louvin Brothers had such a big part in my growing up years. I know Paul and Pap will hold that day they spent with them dear to their hearts forever. I can imagine them meeting up in heaven and Ira saying, “well what took you so long? I sure did miss you!”. What a time they must be having picking and grinnin’. R.I.P. , Charlie.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 9:07 am

    What beautiful music is being made in Heaven now!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 8:59 am

    The Louvin’s were some of the legands of country music and Charlie kept it going. Love to listen to their old songs. He will surely be missed. Didn’t know they changed their names.That’s one of the things I like about your site is the information you share with the readers.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Below is a link to the introduction to one of the Louvin Brothers radio programs (from Songs that tell a story). I absolutely love that few lines from their theme.
    Thought some of you all might, too.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 8:31 am

    This was a very moving tribute, Tipper. I love his voice. Thanks for introducing me to his music.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 27, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Tipper, that was a beautiful tribute to his brother. Charlie sure had a wonderful voice full of compassion and gentleness. Charlie seemed to wear his heart on his face in that loving peaceful countenance.
    Thanks for sharing the family story, and your tribute to Charlie.
    You know, Pap has that same feeling around him that Charlie has.

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    January 27, 2011 at 8:03 am

    Thanks for this, Tipper – I didn’t know of Charlie’s passing. What a fine tribute you’ve written – just as is much of Pap’s and Paul’s singing a tribute to them.
    I scanned the photo on the rear of the book that goes with their Close Harmony CD set. I’ll put the link in here, but you’re certainly more than welcome to insert it directly in your blog post. I think you’d find the imagery appropriate in many ways:
    For whatever reason I’d forgotten the Louvin Brothers’ version of “Nearer my God” until hearing you’uns do it last fall (and the Blind Pig rendition is fantastic, by the way). The last verse of that song is, like the photo of Ira leading Charlie up the hill, fitting for today:
    Or if on joyful wing, cleaving the sky,
    Sun, moon and stars forgot, upwards I fly,
    Still all my song shall be, nearer, My God to Thee,
    Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee.

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Wow! That song sure pulls at your
    heartstrings. Now I understand why
    you and your family feel so close
    to the Louvin Brothers’. Thanks for sharing this info, I never knew they had changed their names.
    Since I started reading the Blind
    Pig, I’ve learned alot about our
    legends of country music…Thank

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 6:19 am

    We saw Charlie perform in Bell Buckle two years ago, and his singing was magic. He will be missed.

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