Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Gentleman Jim Reeves

One of the things that I remember fondly about growing up was the music my parents listened to.

Many, many Saturday mornings, after sleeping late (no school!) I would slowly awaken to the smell of bacon or sausage, and some (usually) instrumental music. To this day I can listen to an easy listening station and love it, even though I'm a rock guy, and metal, through and through. I think that I'm that way because of the pleasant memories of the music my parents played on their big ol' console stereo. (Magnavox, I think)

For instance, my parents disliked John Denver's voice but liked that style of music. So they found an LP recording, of some easy listening type orchestra or another, of instrumental versions of all of John Denver's hits. I have absolutely no idea who this group was, but I would kill for that album on a CD today.

Now at Christmas time every year, of course there was my parent's selection of Christmas albums that they played. Percy Faith, etc.

But the one I always liked best, and the first one I looked for on CD later after I got married was "The Twelve Songs Of Christmas" by the singer Jim Reeves.

Jim Reeves was a very popular singer in the fifties and early sixties, but was yet another star to die in a plane crash.

(Needless to say that my CD of "The Twelve Songs Of Christmas" is in heavy rotation in my home around Christmas every year.)

In 1985, Lovely Wife and I were living in Bossier City, Louisiana. We decided once to take a long weekend and get out of town. We went down and spent a few nights in Galveston, Texas.

And on the trip we drove south through east Texas. And we passed through Panola County, Texas and near Carthage. (My older brother Paul was born in Carthage, Texas.) This is also the area that Jim Reeves was from.

It was getting dark, but when I saw a sign for the Jim Reeves Memorial, Lovely Wife and I stopped and saw the life-sized statue of Mr. Reeves. He's buried here, along with his collie Cheyenne nearby.

The ground is inlaid with stone in the shape of an acoustic guitar.

To me, it was kinda neat to stop and see the grave site and memorial to the man whose songs MOST represent Christmas to me.

It's strange to me how someone you never knew can produce music that is a really nice part of your life, isn't it?

The two slides here on this post are some of the slides I took that day.

In the above photo, there is an inscription in what would be the sound hole of the guitar that reads, "Gentleman Jim, Jim Reeves, Time: Aug. 20, 1923 July 31, 1964, Producer : God"

The photo of the statue at the top reads, "If I, a lowly singer, dry one tear or soothe one humble human heart in prayer, then my homely verse to God is dear, and not one stanza has been sung in vain."

Also, you can go HERE and see the cd, scroll down and listen to clips of the songs.

'til tomorrow.


Marsha (Big Sis) said...

You must be on a sentimental journey the last few days! I can't hardly listen to my Jim Reeves Christmas CD because it makes me think of Daddy and I start to cry immediately! Really, anything by Jim Reeves, Don Williams, Merle Haggard, The Browns and the Statler Brothers make me think of Daddy too much. I still love to hear Don Williams though. Maybe this is why I love KU so much. He has said repeately that he grew up listening to his dad's country music collection which included Don Williams, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell and his mother loved Neil Diamond (which we know Daddy loved too).

JAM said...

Yeah. I'm feelin' like a total screwup, and when I get down, I get even more homesick than usual. The pity party will probably continue tomorrow.

But, looks like a hurricane's a-comin'. Maybe I'll get to trade in some old sorrows for some new ones. But I hope not.