Singer Larry Cunningham waxed this Jim Reeves tribute disc, a Top 10 hit in his native Ireland, a few short months after Reeves perished in a Tennessee plane crash. Reeves' popularity extended to some pretty far corners of the globe, especially when compared to most of his Nashville colleagues. At the time of his death, he'd established substantial fan bases in far-flung locales like South Africa, the UK, Norway, India and Sri Lanka. Hoping for a stateside hit, the tune was picked up for domestic distribution by Louis Prima's Las Vegas-based PR1MA label (also known as Prima One).
To be honest, I've never been particularly fond of the Jim Reeves records I've heard as I find them way too lush and polished and completely missing the harder edged sounds heard on the country discs I enjoy. Friends tell me that his earlier sides have a bit more pep to them and that some of them are actually pretty good. Probably so, but I'm still not compelled to seek out the "good" Jim Reeves records. So even though I'm not particularly fond of Reeves himself, I felt compelled to pick this disc up as there's something about country tribute records that I find oddly appealing. I'm always intrigued when a virtually unknown singer books time at a recording studio to literally sing the praises of another singer and rhapsodize about his idol's appeal.
Reeves died on July 31, 1964 just outside of Nashville when the plane he was piloting ran into a powerful late afternoon thunderstorm. Amazingly, Reeves and Randy Hughes, the pilot in the 1963 crash that resulted in the deaths of Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas, were both trained by the same flight instructor. Reeves' plane went down northeast of Brentwood, near the intersection of Baxter Lane and Franklin PIke Circle, just east of Interstate 65 (Google map). Of no significance whatsoever (but worth noting anyhow, I think) is the fact that Marty Robbins' house stood approximately a quarter mile away on Redwood Drive, just across I-65.
The most amazing thing about Reeves' death, though, is that he continued to have big hits long after his funeral. It's not terribly uncommon for pop or country stars to chart a few records following their demise, especially if the death in question was sudden and unexpected, but Reeves' widow oversaw a constant flow of new product after his death, some of it unreleased material from the vaults and some of it re-released after dubbing extra voices onto the records so that they could be marketed as duets. Reeves managed an astonishing 34 Billboard charting singles after his death, with Top 10 records landing on the charts until the early 1980s.