Recognition for Jim Reeves
Posted August 2, 2007 - firstname.lastname@example.org<
Dear Country friends,
After Country performer and Shreveport's native Claude King induction
on the Shreveport's Walk of Fame now comes Gentleman Jim Reeves. On
Saturday August 11, 2007, The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce
will hold the posthumous induction honouring Jim Reeves. That's for
sure a long time needed recognition by that Louisiana Hayride's city
after Jim's nomination to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1967. Jim
Reeves was a regular guest at the Louisiana Hayride from 1952 until
late 1955 when he left to become member of the Grand Ole Opry as many
others had done before him. So, being a so popular act at the
Louisiana Hayride show for three years allow him to be honoured by
the City almost 84 years after his birth. However, Jim was not
Louisiana born but came from Texas. Let me tell you more
about "Mexican Joe" father.
Jim Reeves was born in Panola County, Texas, August 20, 1923. After
graduating from high school in Carthage, Texas, Jim attended the
University of Texas in Austin. In 1945, he entered professional
baseball and spent three years with the Saint Louis Cardinal's farm
club at Lynchburg (VA). By 1947, after an injury and turned to the
music. He became DJ into KGRI, Henderson (Tx) and for KSIG in
Gladewater (Tx). In 1949, Jim had two records issued on the
Texas "Macy's Recordings" label who are real rarities now. By mid
1952, he found a job as announcer for KWKH in Shreveport and was used
as filer on stage show when an act didn't show up.
Thanks to Tom Perryman, another DJ, he meets Fabor Robinson, former
Johnny Horton' manager and half owner of the "Abbott" records label.
That label had issued various sides by Johnny Horton or Billy Barton
but stayed a regional level. Fabor Robinson signed Jim on his label
in March 1953 and soon "Mexican Joe" was number one in the country
charts. Few months later, "Caribbean" by Mitchell Torok on the same
label, went n¬ƒ 5 on the charts. From there Fabor Robinson took full
control on the "Abbott" label and will launch the "Fabor" label. An
international deal will be set and some "Abbott" records had
counterpart in England on the London-American label like Mitchell
Torok "Caribbean" (Feb 54), Floyd Cramer "Fancy Pants" (Feb 54), Jim
Reeves "Bimbo" (March 54) and "Mexican Joe" (April 54) or T. Tommy
Cutrer "Mexico Gal" (Nov 54). That same label was also offering, in
England, sides recorded for "Imperial" by Louisiana Hayride
performers like Slim Whitman, Merle Kilgore or David Houston.
More hits followed on the label like "Bimbo", "Butterfly Love"
or "Drinkin Tequila" and it wasn't long before Jim, became a well-
known, well-liked performer, high up on list of favourites in the
country & Western field. In 1955, Jim Reeves worked a lot on
Louisiana Hayride package tour with Elvis Presley, Johnny Horton,
Jimmy and Johnny or Betty Amos. Late 1955, Jim Reeves moved to RCA
records and climbed the charts with such releases as "Yonder Comes A
Sucker", "That's a sad Affair", "If you were Mine" or "Four Walls".
His band named the Wagonmasters, through the years, featured Tommy
Hill, Billy Harlan, Buddy Killen or Jimmy Day to name a few.
Early 1957, Jim went to an oversea tour of American base with an RCA
package featuring Hank Locklin, Del Wood, The Browns and the 17 years
old female Rockabilly wonder Janis Martin. That tour lasted 32 days
and brings them from London to Germany.
By that time Jim enjoyed worldwide popularity, especially in
England, and helped to give a new audience to Country Music. Leaving
the fancy Nudie's clothes to the other, he showed a more urban style
with suit and tie. A perfect and great looking Gentleman.
From the latter half of 1957 to early 1958, Jim hosted from the WSM
studio in Nashville, a daily, one-hour radio show called "The Jim
By 1958, Jim hosted for a while the "Country Jubilee" TV show in
place of Red Foley and keep recording with the best musicians from
Chet Atkins, Bob Moore, Floyd Cramer or The Jordanaires. In December
1958, with the support of Tillman Franks, he made his first
appearance on the Louisiana Hayride since 1955 with Johnny Horton,
Country Johnny Mathis and Merle Kilgore. The early 60's saw Jim high
in the charts with "He'll Have to Go", "Welcome to My World" or "I
Love You Because". Then the public really liked that new "Nashville
Sound" more sophisticated than the raw Hillbilly sound of the early
50's. Even Ray Charles, a R'n'B master, showed interested for that
sound and started to record Country LP's.
In 1964, Jim was back in Germany with Bobby Bare and Chet Atkins
where they got a warm reception. In May, he brings on light "I guess
I'm Crazy", a 1955 song written and already recorded by the former
Louisiana Hayride performer Werly Fairburn. That song was doing
strong when, on July 31, 1964, Jim was killed on a plane crash near
Nashville. Another star was lost on the road just like Buddy Holly,
Johnny Horton, Patsy Cline or Hank Williams few years earlier. Jim
used to sing "A stranger to me is just a friend I haven't meet" so,
on that August 11, 2007 celebration he will have a lot of friends ...
Some he had meet, some not but his legacy is still alive and his
actual records sales prove his everlasting talent!
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