Album: Charlie Louvin, The Battles Rage On (True North)

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The Independent Culture

Now in his eighties, the former Louvin Brother's latest album confronts military matters in ambivalent American manner – redemption and regret may loom as large here as in Johnny Cash's late work, but the inner-sleeve photo of a chippy-looking Charlie with his revolver tucked into his belt indicates the hawkish cast of a song like "Smoke on the Water", with its original villain Hitler joined by Saddam and Bin Laden.

But it's the sentimental pathos of songs such as "A Soldier's Last Letter", croaked out in Louvin's faltering but still true-pitched husk of a voice, which dominates the album. And, in truth, for all the queasy mix of mom, bible, flag and firearms, it would take a harder heart than mine not to moisten up at the tragic nobility of "Robe of White" and "Searching for a Soldier's Grave".

DOWNLOAD THIS Robe of White; Smoke on the Water; Searching for a Soldier's Grave