The 'Great Atomic Power' of Charlie Louvin Formerly half of the iconic country duo The Louvin Brothers, Louvin is the latest country war horse to see his career resurrected by well-meaning hipsters. Revisiting his gospel-influenced, early-'50s classic, "Great Atomic Age" neatly conjures up the twin menaces of nuclear angst and eternal damnation.


The 'Great Atomic Power' of Charlie Louvin

Great Atomic Power

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Charlie Louvin, 79, attempts a comeback with the help of special guests like George Jones, Elvis Costello and Wilco's Jeff Tweedy. hide caption

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Great Atomic Power"
  • Artist: Charlie Louvin
  • CD: Charlie Louvin
  • Genre: Country

Formerly half of the iconic country duo The Louvin Brothers — brother Ira died in a car accident in 1965 — Charlie Louvin, 79, is the latest in a line of country war horses who've seen their careers resurrected by well-meaning hipsters. A combined comeback album and early-country primer, Charlie Louvin remakes Louvin Brothers classics and period-specific country covers with the help of everyone from George Jones to Superchunk's Mac McCaughan.

Louvin's tracks aren't updated so much as re-recorded, and the disc's scratchy, nostalgic feel occasionally works against it, but "Great Atomic Power" is a beauty. Revisiting The Louvin Brothers' gospel-influenced, early-'50s classic, it neatly conjures up the twin menaces of Atomic Age angst and eternal damnation: "Are you ready / for the great atomic power? / Will you rise and meet your savior in the air?"

Powered by a nimble banjo and backing vocals by Jeff Tweedy — whose old band Uncle Tupelo once did a faithful, less cheery version of its own — the track's mixture of paranoia, old-time religion and jauntiness still packs a curious wallop. It may suggest that hell awaits the listener, but it sure is perky in doing so.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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