Hear the Louvin Brothers' Rare 'It's All Off' From Lost Album - Rolling Stone
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Hear the Louvin Brothers’ Rare ‘It’s All Off’ From Upcoming Lost Album

‘Love and Wealth: The Lost Recordings,’ out September 28th, features 29 previously unreleased demo recordings from Ira and Charlie Louvin

Although the Louvin Brothers’ illustrious career yielded such memorable singles as “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby,” “When I Stop Dreaming,” and the classic LP, Satan Is Real, the discovery of a treasure trove of previously unreleased demo recordings from siblings Charlie and Ira adds a stunning coda to the Louvins’ already impressive legacy. Love & Wealth: The Lost Recordings, out September 28th on Modern Harmonic, features 29 previously unreleased songwriting demo recordings from 1951-1956, and also includes a spoken audio letter from Ira to Acuff-Rose, the music publishers for whom the demos were recorded.

That spoken message serves as the introduction to the double album’s opening track, “It’s All Off,” which premieres above. The wickedly humorous tale of a mail-order bride who gets one look at her bald-headed, goatee-sporting husband-to-be and runs off instead with the postal worker who delivered her, “It’s All Off” includes Ira singing a line about the pretty little maid’s “ruby lips and big eyeballs of blue,” followed by Ira’s insertion of the risqué refrain, “balls of blue.” “I don’t know what he had on his mind,” Ira says in the spoken intro, “I hope you don’t play this where there’s any ladies present.” While some female listeners at the time might have been scandalized by the language, lines such as “I can’t deny he’s got it but it’s in the wrong place,” demonstrate the brothers’ gift for comic delivery, as do tunes such as the lively “Red Hen Boogie.” But through the collection’s sincere, often heart-wrenching love songs, and especially in the gospel tunes, which make up roughly a quarter of the material, there’s an irresistibly warm and intimate thread that outshines and outlasts any personal differences that may have existed between the brothers.

One of the most dynamic acts in country-music history, the Louvin Brothers were also one of the most influential, inspiring artists from Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris to the Everly Brothers, Gram Parsons and the Byrds. Numerous bluegrass-gospel acts, including the Osborne Brothers, the Country Gentlemen and Louisiana’s Whitstein Brothers, who modeled their close harmony on that of the Louvins, recorded and performed songs by the duo. While their commercially recorded output only lasted from 1947 until their professional split in 1963, and was forever stilled by Ira’s death in a car crash in 1965, the brothers’ often turbulent relationship nevertheless resulted in some of the most spine-tingling harmony committed to record and also heard regularly on the Grand Ole Opry. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, the Louvins were the subject of a 2003 Grammy-winning tribute album featuring Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell, James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton, Marty Stuart, Johnny Cash and more. Charlie Louvin went on to thriving solo career and continued to record and perform until his death at 83 years old in 2011.

‘Love and Wealth: The Lost Recordings’ track listing:

Side A:
Spoken Message From Ira Louvin
“It’s All Off”
“Take My Ring From Your Finger”
“I’ll Never Go Back (To the Ways of Sin)”
“Are You Missing Me?”
“Coo, Coo, Coo”
“Streamline Heartbreaker”
“(I’m Changing The Words To) My Love Song”

Side B:
“Red Hen Boogie”
“Television Set”
“Discontented Cowboy”
“Two-Faced Heart”
“Don’t Compare the Future With the Past”
“That’s My Heart Talking”
“I’m Gonna Love You One More Time”

Side C:
“Preach the Gospel”
“Born Again”
“They’ve Got the Church Outnumbered”
“The Sons and Daughters of God”
“Insured Beyond the Grave”
“You’ll Meet Him in the Clouds”
“I Love God’s Way of Living”

Side D:
“Love and Wealth”
“Bald Knob, Arkansas”
“Measured Love”
“Kiss Me Like You Did Yesterday”
“Would You Tear Down Your Castle”
“You’ll Forget”
“Never Say Goodbye”


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