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Jim Reeves An Old Christmas Card

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Jim Reeves An Old Christmas Card

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The “Gentleman Jim” Reeves canonizing includes a ample guitar and a life-sized carve of the acclaimed accompanist that marks his grave on a one-acre, tree-covered artifice of amphitheatre three afar east of Carthage on U.S. Highway 79. Mike Silva/The Times

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Perhaps one out of a hundred readers of this adventure today will apperceive who he was, but “Gentleman” Jim Reeves still lives in the hearts and minds of admirers and his music is accustomed alike to bodies who may not apperceive him by name.

It was 50 years ago Thursday that Reeves, a alpine Texan who knew the streets of Shreveport well, fabricated a baleful absurdity in the skies over Brentwood, Tennessee, axis into a agitated storm instead of abroad from it, blockage the baby clandestine aeroplane he was aerial and accustomed himself and friend/business manager/pianist and accomplice Dean Manuel to their deaths.

He was alone 40 years old. Accepted for his apple-pie active as abundant as his velvet-smooth voice, he could accept lasted to this day, active the activity of a fable at age 90, signing autographs. But they say “Those whom the gods love, die young,” and that was Reeves’ fate.

He had his aftermost blind alarm at 40, and lives on, like Hank Williams and Johnny Horton and Patsy Cline and Buddy Holly, bodies who are his peers, in always-young accolade posters in Nashville and at the Municipal Auditorium here.

The songs for which he is best accepted accommodate “Mexican Joe,” “Adios Amigos,” “Am I Losing You?”, “Four Walls” and “Welcome to My World.” He affected a cardinal of Gospel standards, from “We Thank Thee” and “Take My hand, Precious Lord” to “Across the Bridge” and the ironically blue-blooded “Where We’ll Never Grow Old.”

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But you’re best acceptable to appointment him with Christmas songs he affected that are now banal on abounding pop and country radio stations: “Blue Christmas,” “An Old Christmas Card” and “C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S.”

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Born James Travis Reeves on Aug. 20, 1923, in Galloway, Texas, not far from Carthage, he becoming an contest scholarship to the University of Texas, area he was a stand-out baseball player. But World War II called, and he larboard academy to assignment in a shipyard.

He alternate to the clay diamond, amphitheatre semi-pro brawl afore signing on as a bullpen with the St. Louis Cardinals acreage aggregation in 1944. He played three years in the amateur afore a burst sciatic assumption put and end to that dream.

He confused into radio as an anchorperson and sang amid songs, as bodies did in that pre-digital, pre-tape era. He abutting Moon Mullican’s band, but confused to Shreveport in the mid-1950s, formed as an anchorperson on KWKH Radio.

Reeves got his job there in 1952, the backward Frank Page told this columnist for a accolade to Reeves in 1982.

“He began as a night deejay jockey,” Page said. “He started on the Red River Roundupprogram as an announcer.”

A adventitious bit of luck on the Louisiana Hayride kicked off his career. Another, added accepted accompanist was backward — some said Hank Williams Sr., others said it was Sleepy LaBeef — and Reeves was asked to ample the gap.

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He did. The admirers responded, and a date career was born.

Reeves’ decade of distinction began with the 1954 hits “Mexican Joe,” a million-sellers, and the chart-topping “Bimbo.” He active to RCA Records in 1955, the aforementioned year he abutting the Grand Ole Opry, and formed as a backup host on the ABC appearance “Ozark Jubilee” in the summer of 1958.

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His song “Four Walls” accomplished No. 1 on the country archive in 1957 and got to No. 11 on the pop listings. His bland delivery, affluent blueprint and use of violins and added elements not archetypal at the time helped acquaint what today is accepted as the “Nashville Sound.” He was called to both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

As with abounding country artists, such as Horton and Slim Whitman, Reeves was a bigger brilliant across than at home. He had admirers and blueprint showings in England, Ireland, South Africa, Europe and Norway, area he was, and remains, a accepted icon.

According to appear reports, his appearances there, including a sports amphitheatre concert in Oslo with Bobby Bare, Chet Akins, the Blue Boys and the Anita Kerr Singers, anchored his abode in that nation. His albums spent aloof shy of 700 weeks on the Norwegian charts. He’s accepted in India and Sri Lanka, area he charcoal the top-selling English-language artist.

He connected to adore hits alike afterwards he died, as ancestors associates and flat engineers commutual advance he had recorded with those of added artists, such as Patsy Cline.

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“It aloof keeps activity on and on,” Page said in 1982. “His acceptance is as abundant as it anytime was and possibly greater than back he was living. It’s a abashment bodies accept to die to become abundant legends.”

One of his admirers is Who guitarist Pete Townshend, who recorded a adaptation of Reeves’ “Heartache” for his 1972 abandoned anthology “Who Came First.”

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Reeves’ aftermost adventure to Shreveport was back his charcoal were aureate actuality that Aug. 4, in the aboriginal leg of his post-mortem adventure home to Carthage. He rests there today abutting to a esplanade that is a canonizing to his anamnesis and work.

So readers ability appetite to booty a moment to go there, or at atomic abeyance today and pay respects to one of the men who fabricated the sounds of boondocks now possible.

Read or Share this story: https://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/07/30/50-years-later-jim-reeves-still-gentleman/13358399/

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