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Essential Jim Reeves [RCA Nashville/Legacy]

The Essential Jim Reeves [RCA Nashville/Legacy]

5.0 1
by Jim Reeves
Professional baseball's loss became country music's great gain when a leg injury short-circuited Jim Reeves's big league dreams. Big league in baseball, that is -- Reeves, since he signed with RCA in 1955, became a fixture in the upper reaches of both the country and pop charts on the strength of his Chet Atkins-produced, pop-influenced "Nashville Sound." Reeves's


Professional baseball's loss became country music's great gain when a leg injury short-circuited Jim Reeves's big league dreams. Big league in baseball, that is -- Reeves, since he signed with RCA in 1955, became a fixture in the upper reaches of both the country and pop charts on the strength of his Chet Atkins-produced, pop-influenced "Nashville Sound." Reeves's smooth, personable tenor and engaging personality on disc had real staying power: For some 20 years following his death in an airplane crash in 1964, his posthumous releases, with newly overdubbed instrumental parts that fit perfectly, continued to sell briskly -- one of his biggest hits, Cindy Walker's brooding "Distant Drums," was a No. 1 country record for four weeks in 1966; several other Reeves singles went Top 10 right into 1970, and still others continued to chart into 1984. Few artists have ever done more with a heartbreaking ballad as Reeves did with the likes of "Four Walls," "He'll Have to Go," "Two Shadows on a Window," and the lush, string-enriched "Is It Really Over." Impeccably remastered and incorporating Reeves's early, swinging novelty hits for the small Abbott label (including his No. 1 debut in 1953, "Mexican Joe") and all the essential RCA sides up to 1970's tear-stained "Angels Don't Lie" (a No. 4 country single, six years after his demise), this double-disc anthology (which includes an impressive capsule history of Reeves's career by Rich Kienzle) is an essential, must-have survey of Gentleman Jim's enduring legacy in song.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
RCA/Legacy's 2006 release The Essential Jim Reeves is a repackaged reissue of BMG Heritage's 2003 compilation Anthology, containing a different title and cover art, but bearing the same 40 tracks and annotation. There has been no shortage of Jim Reeves compilations over the years, ranging from cheap budget-line collections to Bear Family's absurdly comprehensive 16-CD set, Welcome to My World. In between those two extremes were 1993's double-disc Welcome to My World: The Essential Jim Reeves and 1995's single-disc The Essential Jim Reeves, both of which covered the basics quite well, and 2000s double-disc German release The Singles, 1953 to 1960, an excellent distillation of his peak years. Despite the strengths of these releases, no set offered such a wide-ranging and complete overview as this superb collection, now titled The Essential Jim Reeves. Spanning 40 tracks over two discs, the set begins with his first big hit, "Mexican Joe" in 1953, and ends with "Angels Don't Lie," which charted in 1970, six years after his tragic death in 1964. Reeves had plenty of hits even after 1970 -- he appeared on the Billboard country charts regularly for 20 years after his death -- and he had so many hits during his lifetime that they can't all be condensed into one 40-track collection, but what makes The Essential Jim Reeves so good is its expert song selection. It picks both the biggest hits and greatest songs, making this both the best hits collection and summary of his career for those who want a thorough but not exhaustive overview of his work. Those other collections are excellent in different ways, but this is the one that should be in every country collection.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jim Reeves   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Jim Reeves   Composer
Dottie West   Composer
Stuart Hamblen   Composer
Ned Miller   Composer
Leon Payne   Composer
Cindy Walker   Composer
Carl Belew   Composer
Joe Allison   Composer
Boudleaux Bryant   Composer
Jack Clement   Composer
Harlan Howard   Composer
Buddy Killen   Composer
Jerry Livingston   Composer
Marvin Moore   Composer
Alex Zanetis   Composer
Re Winkler   Composer
Dean Manuel   Composer
Bob Shelton   Composer
Mitchell Torok   Composer
Werly Fairburn   Composer
Tommy Blake   Composer
W.S. Stevenson   Composer
Ralph Freed   Composer
Audrey Allison   Composer
Cal Veale   Composer
Rod Morris   Composer
George Campbell   Composer
Johnny Hathcock   Composer
Gene Davis   Composer
Dale Noe   Composer
Idell Shelton   Composer
Guy Walker   Composer
Bill West   Composer

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The Essential Jim Reeves [RCA Nashville/Legacy] 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reeves was a consistent presence in the country charts throughout the late 50s and early 60s, landing single after single in the upper reaches of the country charts, and often finding crossover success in the pop world. So unquenchable was the public's thirst for his work that even his untimely death in a 1964 plane crash couldn't quell his commercial success his posthumous releases continued to land at the top of the country chart throughout the rest of the '60s, and albums that mixed these hits with previously released material continued to sell briskly. ¶ Reeves' earliest successes, recorded for Fabor Robison's Abbott label, hardly predicted the soft Nashville Sound he'd spearhead just a few years later. 1953's "Mexican Joe" and "Bimbo," are chock full of twang, and though the playful lyrics are more Arthur Godfrey than Hank Williams, the barrelhouse piano, fiddle and steel are miles from the pop-influenced material Reeves would record at RCA. It was that 1955 transition, moving from Abbott to RCA (and not coincidentally moving from the Louisiana Hayride to the Grand Ol' Opry) that gave Reeves his new sound. ¶ It wasn't an instantaneous transition, as 1955's "Yonder Comes a Sucker" shows. Reeves is still singing country, and his 1956 cover of Jimmie Rodgers' "Waiting for a Train" still has fiddle and steel at the break. Where you can really start to hear the turn is with 1957's Chet Atkins produced "Four Walls," on which the tempo is slowed, smooth background singers are added, and Reeves draws out his vocal into a bona fide croon. Throughout the rest of the decade Reeves and Atkins continued to explore and tune the new sound, smoothing out both the singing and arrangements as they went. ¶ Reeves discovery of himself as a ballad singer had nothing but a positive effect on his career, sustaining his country success and crossing over with the likes of "Four Walls, "He'll Have to Go," and "Welcome to My World." Throughout the early '60s his singles continued to top the country chart while regularly turning up in the lower reaches of the pop top 100. Though Reeves could write his own material, he and Atkins also had good ears for songs from Nashville stalwarts like Roger Miller, Bill Anderson, Harlan Howard, and many others. The result is an unusually strong and deep catalog of easy-going material that shares some of the somnambulistic qualities of Perry Como, but retaining a hint of the edge with which Reeves began. ¶ Among the dozens of Reeves collections, this 2-CD set stands tall. Originally released in 2003 under the title "Jim Reeves – Anthology," it includes material that wouldn't fit on a single disc, yet it's not so encyclopedic (as is Bear Family's 16-disc "Welcome to My World") to be without focus. Reeves best-loved hits are here, running from his Abbott sides, through his early work at RCA to his most famous Nashville sound hits and through posthumous hits "Is it Really Over?" "Distant Drums" and "I Won't Come in While He's There." The rebranding of this 2003 anthology only extends to the title and cover art the track list and liner notes remain the same as the original "Anthology" release. [©2006 redtunictroll at hotmail dot com]