This past Monday night James and I had dinner with two retired couples. One of the couples is planning a trip to Nashville and asked if they should stop at the Grand Ole Opry.
“Should you stop?” I asked with every consonant gaining steam and tempo.
One of the reasons I told them to attend the Opry on this trip is that the older singers that are the touchstones to the formative days of the oldest radio show are slowly passing away.
A few days after that dinner conversation one of the Opry legends, Charlie Louvin, died from pancreatic cancer.
Much has been written and said about Charlie Louvin and his music, the magic that he and his brother Ira made when they wowed audiences with perfect harmony, and the impact Louvin had on contemporary singers of all genres.
However, one of the missing parts of the Louvin story in much of the news coverage this week was the gospel music he recorded. Some of the best recording sessions late in life that Louvin put on tape were the ones when he added a bluegrass touch to songs such as “Where The Roses Never Fade” and in “The Sweet Bye And Bye.”
Since You Tube did not have what I wanted for today’s Saturday Song I made some of my own. (Four gospel videos, to be precise.) Readers will note that while the music is different for each video here today the images are the same. That it takes time to produce these videos should be enough reason as to justify why they look the same. That each song is of a different length but the same number of photos were used meant I needed to adjust duration of spacing between photos. While it took time, I wanted to honor Charlie Louvin, a singer I really respect.
In the big world of You Tube the sameness of the photos in the videos will be less apparent than for the readers to this blog post.
With that I trust my readers will understand, and just turn up the computer speakers.
Charles Elzer Loudermilk was born in Henagar, Alabama, on July 7 1927. He grew up in poverty and worked with Ira – three years his senior – as a field hand in the Sand Mountain region of Alabama. Avid churchgoers, the boys tried to copy the “shape note” gospel harmony singing they heard in their local Baptist church and were still in their teens when, with Ira learning mandolin and Charlie the guitar, they won a local talent show and started performing together at a small radio station in Chattanooga.
Nothing was ever the same.
The family of Charlie Louvin has opened the country music pioneer’s funeral to the public.
There will be visitation from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home in Nashville. The funeral will immediately follow Sunday’s visitation.