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Country Music’s ‘Gentleman Jim‘ Was a ‘Combination of Good and Bad,’Says LarryJordan,
It could be said that Jim Reeves was one country artist who was more popular in death than in life. First charting in 1953 with “Mexican Joe,” the singer’s death in a Nashville plane crash in July of 1964 did not slow down his success with fans. For two decades after his passing, Reeves continued to place many singles on the Billboard Country Singles Charts, and in 2009 – some 45 years after his death at age 40 – the singer was represented in the UK Top Ten Albums chart.
The life and music of Jim Reeves is chronicled in a brand new book titled “Jim Reeves: His Untold Story.” Larry Jordan, author of the book, recalls becoming a fan of the singer at a young age, and becoming a friend to Jim’s widow, Mary.
“I had known Mary Reeves for thirty-three years from the first time I wrote a letter to her in 1966 when I was thirteen,” Jordan recalls. “I would go down there on several weekends, and spend time with her. She would tell me many stories about Jim on a personal and professional level. I brought along a tape recorder, and taped them. I was fascinated by all of these different stories.”
A 1998 Reeves bio did the singer no favors, and Jordan felt an obligation to paint a more balanced picture of the man behind such hits as “He’ll Have To Go” and “Welcome To My World.”
Jordan thought “Why should this be the last word? So, I thought about it a little bit, and talked to Leo Jackson (who was in Jim’s band, the Blue Boys.) I thought ‘Maybe I’m in a unique position to do this. I knew Mary. I had the tapes. I had a writing background, and the means to get a book into print.”
Though the author is a Reeves fan, he didn’t put the singer on a pedestal. “I’ve said that the only obligation I have felt was to the truth. Some of the things I discovered about Jim disturbed me, and offended my own moral sensitivities,” he told Billboard. “But, this was the way he was – a combination of good and bad as we all are. I wanted the full picture, and that’s what I think I ended up with.”
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