Monday, November 28, 2011

Charlie Louvin Meets Jello!

In February of 2007, country music legend Charlie Louvin released a new solo album on Thompkins Square Records. It would be the first of several new releases leading right up to his death in January 2011 from pancreatic cancer, and the start of Charlie’s official “re-discovery” by the Americana crowd.

One lucky result (for me, anyway) of the promotion for the new album was getting Charlie as an in-studio guest for my radio show, The Hipbilly Jamboree, on the now sadly deceased WRVU  91.1 FM. 

But it got even better.

No.1 on Jello's want list!
My co-host on the show, Kels Koch, was working for the local record store The Great Escape at the time. A few years earlier, he had met punk rock icon and former lead man of The Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra. Jello was in town and looking for Louvin Brothers albums, in particular the 1959 classic Satan is Real. He left Kels his telephone number in case a copy of Satan is Real did turn up, and a few months later, one did. Kels hooked Jello up with an original Capital pressing of the Louvin’s harrowing tales of sin and salvation and all was right.

Charlie was scheduled to appear on our show for February 20, 2007 and it just so happened that Jello would be appearing at the Belcourt Theater in Nashville on the same night. That morning, Kels received a phone call from Jello to let him know about the show and that he had put Kels on the guest list. When Kels mentioned to Jello that Charlie would be appearing on our show that evening Jello got really excited and asked if he could drop by the station.

Like we were going to say no…

And so about 50 minutes into the show Jello showed up at the door and the meeting between one of the men responsible for Satan is Real and one of the men responsible for Frankenchrist began. Jello had stopped off at a record store and snagged a couple of Louvin Borthers LPs for Charlie to sign. No copy of Satan is Real, but Jello was still mighty happy.

My favorite off-air moment was when Jello asked Charlie to inscribe the records to him, and Charlie said, “I’m sorry, what’s your name again?”

“Jello.”

“Jello!  You mean like the dessert?”

Here's a clip of the on-air portion of the meeting.  Things were pretty chaotic in the studio as you can tell, not only from Jello showing up, but also the various other WRVU DJs that had stopped by to meet Charlie. The “one line story” that Jello mentions is a off-color joke that Charlie told him that he didn’t want to repeat on the air, and that unfortunately, I have forgotten.

video

And to hear more about Satan is Real check out the audio archive of my story for Nashville Public Radio about the new reissue of the LP on Light in the Attic Records.

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