Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Liquor and the Damage Done

Two of the greatest themes in Country music are surely religion and liquor. Love and Hate, the Virgin and the Whore, and that great and satisfying pair, Sin and Forgiveness, all are interwoven with God and the Bottle. These two tracks offer some different views on booze, via very personal images of heaven.

The Louvin Brothers were one of the great close-harmony duos of the 1950s and a big influence on the Everly Brothers and (in their country-rock period) The Byrds. They took a tough stand against sin and sinners, documented in a pretty straight forward manner in such songs as "The Family That Prays (Never Shall Fall)," "(I Like) The Christian Life" and "Satan Is Real." My favorite set of lines:

Some people say they gamble now and then for pleasure

And drink a little whiskey just to please a friend

They say it's really nothing, you've got to be broadminded

That word in my Bible is spelled "s-i-n"

That word broadminded is spelled "s-i-n"

Satan was definitely real for boozehound Ira Louvin; shortly after the group's breakup, he and his third wife got into a nasty drunken brawl that ended in a shooting that almost killed him. He survived to marry again and he and his fourth wife were killed in a drunk driving accident in Virginia a few years later.

Louvin Brothers - The Kneeling Drunkard's Plea

70's hitmaker on Capitol (and rare African-American Country artist) Stoney Edwards had a decidedly different vision of heaven than the Louvins. Apparently it's always happy hour beyond the pearly gates. Save me a stool, Stoney!

Stoney Edwards - Honky Tonk Heaven


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