Thursday, February 24, 2011

JIM REEVES: I MISSED ME

1923-1964
News flash: at this late stage of the game, I have discovered country music great, velvet baritone "Gentleman" Jim Reeves. How a diehard fan of Patsy Cline, George Jones, Webb Pierce, and Bill Monroe; how a gal who hitch-hiked, multiple times, to Nashville in her youth to hang out at Tootsie's Orchid Lounge and attend the Grand Ole Opry when it was still at the Ryman Auditorium, could have missed out on this extraordinary voice is a mystery. But the other day I grabbed a pile of CDs from ex-husband Tim to listen to in my rental car, among them a double disc entitled "The Very Best of Jim Reeves," and I am now hooked.

"He'll Have to Go," "Making Believe," "I Guess I'm Crazy," "I Won't Come In While He's There": I defy all you warm-blooded human beings out there (I hope!) to hear such tunes and not feel an uncontrollable urge to run to the nearest sleazy roadhouse, grab a long-necked Bud, wrap your arms around the nearest convicted, badly-tattooed felon (man OR woman of course), and get out on the dance floor.

I mean if lyrics like these describe your whole adolescent, and a good part of your adult, psyche--as they do mine--this is the guy for you:

I'm just on the blue side of lonesome
Right next to the Heartbreak Hotel
In a tavern that's known as Three Teardrops
on a barstool not doing so well.



Reeves died in a single-engine plane crash, of the Beechwood Debonair aircraft he was piloting, on July 31, 1964. The inscription on his memorial reads, "If I, a lowly singer, dry one tear, or soothe one humble human heart in pain, then my homely verse to God is dear, and not one stanza has been sung in vain."

2 comments:

  1. I knew the song "He'll Have to Go" but didn't know the name of the artist.

    I was privileged to attend the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman on Labor Day weekend 2010. (They moved back to the Ryman after the Nashville flood in May for several months during the cleanup.) It was my first time and I enjoyed more than I would have imagined. What a treat and so glad it was at the Ryman.

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  2. Isn't it great to be making a new discovery, even or especially if it's of someone that was always "there" in the background? (I'm discovering some really cool poets nowadays.)

    And I love the inscription. Although I must admit I've seen one in Forest Hills Cemetery, Jamaica Plain, that I like almost as much. The widower of a woman named Louise Estes inscribed her gravestone with these words: "Her memory to me is a religion, and her approbation the standard by which -- summing up as it does all worthiness -- I shall endeavor to regulate my life." Now that is a strong, fierce, transcendent, immortal love!

    I haven't yet listened to these YouTubes but I think I'll begin with "Blue Side of Lonesome."

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