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JIM REEVES —YOURS SINCERLEY, JIM REEVES / BLUE SIDE OF LONESOME / A TOUCH OF SADNESS / JIM REEVES ON STAGE (BGO Records) 2 CDs

   

www.bgo-records.com

 

Jim Reeves’ part in the development of country music isn’t always appreciated like it might. His smooth singing voice was something to behold, and though I admittedly, I am a far greater fan of the likes of Hank Williams, the Carter Family and the Outlaw movement. On those occasions I do allow myself to sit still and absorb Reeves’ work, fully, the experience could not be more rewarding. Gentleman Jim was a phenomenal talent, and if it wasn’t for him dying in a plane crash, agonisingly close to his Nashville home in 1964 there is no end to what he may have achieved. Albeit, his record label did have a few hits in the can when he passed.    

 

Effortlessly, he would wrap his vocals ‘round the lyrics, and unknown to many he wasn’t only a great vocalist, but as heard on Yours Sincerely, Jim Reeves his appreciation of traditional country music and journey in the music business is riveting. Well versed in folk ballads too, Reeves’ shares among others such gems as “The Wreck Of The Number Nine” to go with (interspersed with dialogue as Reeves speaks of touring South Africa, his school days and early days as a radio broadcaster) the listener gets to enjoy “Scarlet Ribbons”, “Mexican Joe” and the classic “He’ll Have To Go”, and even a brief airing of Jimmie Rogers’ performing the first song he recalls, “Blue Yodel No. 5”.

 

Blue Side Of Lonesome is a mellow set of tunes. Big productions as was the music coming out of Nashville back then, as strings and backing singers came into their own. Among the treasures you have Reeves' version of Jack Clements’ timeless ballad ‘I Know One’ (a hit for Reeves in 1960, and Charley Pride in 1967, and number 6 for both acts).  

 

A Touch Of Sadness likewise focuses on gentle love ballads, other than the bouncy “In A Mansion Stands My Love” (Johnny Russell). Here is an album for the avid Jim Reeves fan, totally. Produced, as standard by RCA legend, Chet Atkins (he writes in the liner notes for Yours Sincerely, Jim Reeves ‘the fact he was so versatile in his thinking made him one of the most interesting people I ever met’) Reeves’ mellow tones ease through the selection in a fashion as smooth as the water on a calm Mill Pond.

 

Jim Reeves On Stage is in the main, a lively affair. Decorated with not only his popular tunes there is Reeves’ hugely entertaining impersonations (tributes). The album opens with a medley featuring “Mexican Joe” and “Yonder Comes A Sucker” before moving through other medleys that include essential Reeves’ fare in “Four Walls” and “He’ll Have To Go” before a terrific set of impersonations / tributes to Ernest Tubb, Cal Smith, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizzell and the Carter Family. After which you have his own hits “The Blizzard”, “Bimbo”, “Your Old Letters” and “Am I Losing You”  and more to savour. Not least there’s the wonderful playing of his band, The Blue Boys! One of the best around at the time. 

 

                                                            Maurice Hope    

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Year 2016

1
Levi Parham
90 pts.
These American Blues
Music Road Records
GC,JBO,TK
2
Martha Fields
86 pts.
Southern White Lies
Independent
BP,BH,FB,JAB,RW,SP
3
Carter Sampson
75 pts.
Wilder Side
Independent/CRS
AN,CRS,JB
4
Anna Elizabeth Laube
65 pts.
Tree
Ahh...Pockets! Records
DH,NC
5
Michael McDermott
60 pts.
Willow Springs
Pauper Sky Records
BK,MM
6
Shovels & Rope
54 pts.
Little Seeds
New West
 
7
Robert Ellis
53 pts.
Robert Ellis
New West Records
DHO
8
Sturgill Simpson
52 pts.
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth
Atlantic Records
JJ,JF
9
Douglas Greer
50 pts.
Baja Louisiana
Zilker Park Records
HDB,ML
10
Lucinda Williams
46 pts.
The Ghosts Of Highway 20
Highway 20 Records
EM
11
Buddy Miller & Friends
44 pts.
Cayamo Sessions at Sea
New West Records
 
12
Wink Burcham
43 pts.
Cleveland Summer Nights
Continental Song City
 
13
Eric Brace & Peter Cooper
42 pts.
C&O Canal
Red Beet Records
BR
14
Brent Cobb
41 pts.
Shine On A Rainy Day
Elektra Records
HH
 
Daniel Romano
41 pts.
Mosey
New West
CVL
 
Leonard Cohen
41 pts.
You Want it Darker
Sony Music
HO
17
Christian Kjellvander
40 pts.
A Village: Natural Light
Tapete Records
BM
18
Drive-By Truckers
39 pts.
American Band
ATO Records
AR,EZ
19
Birds of Chicago
38 pts.
Real Midnight
Five Head Entertainment
LM,SZ
20
John Prine
37 pts.
For Better, or Worse
Oh Boy Records
FS,MB
21
The Cactus Blossoms
36 pts.
You’re Dreaming
Red House Records
GS,HD
22
Richmond Fontaine
35 pts.
You Can’t Go Back
Décor Records
FCE
23
Gillian Welch
34 pts.
Boots No.1: The Official Revival Bootleg
Acony Records
LK,PR,TJ
24
Sarah Jarosz
33 pts.
Undercurrent
Sugar Hill
RM
25
Joe Purdy
32 pts.
Who Will Be Next?
Mudtown Crier Records
AL
 
The Devil Makes Three
32 pts.
Redemption & Ruin
New West

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