Monday, September 10, 2012

"I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" by The Louvin Brothers (1976)

I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby

View the Premise & Ground Rules for Revisiting Vinyl.

Filed between: Lobo and The Lovin' Spoonful

My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately: Above Average (2.5/4) stars
The Louvin Brothers were a classic country act with heavy folk tendencies.  That being said, they also always toed the line Bill Monroe established when he created bluegrass music - they just did it in a more mainstream way.  In fact, by the time 1976's "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" came out, newgrass was kicking into high gear and Louvin staples such as drums and piano were becoming accepted in the highly stylized, self-limiting genre of bluegrass.  Personally, I consider this effort a bluegrass work much more than a country work when you compare it to contemporary examples of both.
And when it comes to bluegrass, there not a genre more insistently insular and "this is our thing, stay out" than bluegrass.  My friend Travis calls it the punk of country music.  I think that's the perfect analogy.  Despite this, there are hundreds of tropes to the genre.  "I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby" captures several of the hallmarks:
  • Dramatic irony
  • Murder (specifically, murder by a man named Willie who kills his girlfriend and then kills her again in another way and then chucks the body somewhere - sometimes he gets caught, sometimes he feels bad)
  • Lots of waltzes
  • Wallowing, lovelorn misery
  • Witty turns of phrases
  • High, nasal tenor vocals
  • Tight, tight harmonies
  • Really short songs
  • Solos by several instruments in succession
  • Illumination of the mandolin
  • An "I'm sorry" song
  • A "you'll be sorry" song
  • Use of the adjective silver and/or gold
  • Hyperbole
  • The appearance of the word "lonesome" (or "lonely) numerous times
So, is it an album?  Yes.  It's tight and cohesive.  It's not very imaginitive when it comes to subject matter, but that seems to work in its favor here.
Up next, an record from a similar time, but an altogether different world.  It's "Face the Music" by Electric Light Orchestra.

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