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Louvin Brothers

Christmas with the Louvin Brothers – 1997 (Razor & Tie)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Louvin Brothers

The Louvin Brothers's close high harmonies made them one of country's most popular duos until their breakup in 1963 and had a strong influence on later acts like the Everly Brothers.

On this reissue of 12 traditional Christmas songs and two written by the Louvins, the simple arrangements put the focus squarely on the Louvin's fine vocals. "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks" is perfectly adapted to their harmonies. Other highlights include the seldom-heard "Good Christian Men Rejoice," "The First Noel" and "Joy to the World."

But at times this album clearly shows its age. The background singers's "oohs" and "ahs" and the Hawaiian-sounding steel guitar are straight out of the Fifties, and "Santa's Big Parade," apparently the B side of a Louvins single, starts out badly with its chorus of "Ding ding dong, what a big parade," but becomes atrocious when it includes a conversation between Santa and some little kids. This isn't a bad disc, but Razor & Tie certainly could have picked a better Christmas album to reissue.