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October 05, 2011

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Doug Schulkind

Reeves was also intensely popular in West Africa. Nigeria especially. King Sunny Ade cites James Brown, Brook Benton and Jim Reeves as major influences! In a post about country music from Nigeria, the great blogger at Comb & Razor mentions (here) that Jim Reeves was the most popular singer in Nigeria as late as the 1980s!

In 1965, Charles Keil published a survey in the Nigerian magazine Spear in which he asked readers "Who is your favorite musician and why?" One respondent answered, "The late Jim Reeves is my music idol. His cool sentimentality, his heart-awakening compositions, the voice and the instruments which make you feel the angels around, surely win your heart."

Another survey response:
"Although I appreciate the efforts of our musicians, I am most indebted to our dear Jim Reeves, this dead but living musician, furnishes his music with qualities natural, but rarely employed by his comrades. By subduing his deep voice to the natural laws of sounds and motion he effects a peculiar melody which portrays his ingenuity and geniality. The rhythm, wordings and choice of material for his compositions infuse into the minds of his listeners and Imaginary State of Inspiration which represents the godfather of works. Reeves, by covering a wide range of topics, entertains the world with unfailing harmonies to meet satisfaction for individual choice. His listeners and admirers are equipped with music suitable for different equations. His special compositions such as (i) This World Is Not My Home, (ii) I'd Rather Have Jesus, (iii) Bottle Take Effect, (iv) We Thank Thee Lord, etc., are not only living testimonies to his experience in life and music but worthy memoranda. Thanks to our Gentlemen Jim Reeves for his contributions to the world's pleasure in the composition of his entertaining, endearing, and truly sentimental music."

[Quotes take from African Rhythm and African Sensibility, by John Miller Chernoff (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1979)]

Listener Greg G.

Thanks for the info, Doug.

Devlin Thompson

As always, Greg delivers the goods! I wonder how Prima came to release this? I've never seen anyone on the label who wasn't Louis, in Louis' band, or married to Louis.
Reeves' Fabor work and his earlier RCA work is worth your while, but I can understand that Jim's Countrypolitan sound might not really grab you, Greg. He didn't flourish artistically under those conditions as well as Ray Price, admittedly (I know how much you love Ray!), but his '60s work certainly holds up better than, say, Eddie Arnold.

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