Charlie Louvin

Less and Less and I Don't Love You Anymore/Lonesome Is Me

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Review

Charlie Louvin's first two solo albums, 1964's awkwardly titled Less and Less and I Don't Love You Anymore and 1966's Lonesome Is Me, are combined onto one CD on this British reissue with the addition of historical liner notes. Both albums signify his transition from the down-home rootsy country-folk he'd sung with the Louvin Brothers to much smoother, mainstream Nashville country. Less and Less and I Don't Love You Anymore is the more notable of the pair, in part for the inclusion of two Top Ten country singles, the title track and "See the Big Man Cry." Louvin also reached back to the past to remake the Louvin Brothers' "Plenty of Everything But You." But though that and a couple other songs were penned by the Louvin Brothers or (in the case of "What Can Any Man Do") brother Ira Louvin, for the most part he turned to outside material by the likes of Roger Miller (whose "Less and Less" gave Charlie a mild country hit), Buck Owens, Bill Anderson, and Ed Bruce. Though some of the songs are rather forgettable subdued Nashville country-pop, Louvin did offer some spunk and modest honky tonk moves, especially on the most sardonic cut, "I Don't Want It." Lonesome Is Me finds his roots in the Louvin Brothers getting watered down yet more into adequate mid-'60s country-pop without many characteristics of note, not only because of the absence of fraternal vocal harmonies, but also for the less exciting material and approach. Louvin himself did little writing (penning one tune on his own and co-writing another), some of the other songs being contributed by esteemed country writers like Ed Bruce and Justin Tubb. The energy level really rises, though, on the sole (if midsize) country hit on the LP, "You Finally Said Something Good," which is a pretty lively, bouncy kiss-off of a honky tonker. One wishes he'd dipped into that bag more often on that record, though one other song, the tuneful and bittersweet Bruce-written title track, certainly sounds like it should have been a hit. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi

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