WFMU Ichiban, Rock and Soul with Debbie D

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mrs. Jim Reeves

 A couple of years ago, my buddy Robert got me this pocket date book off of eBay as a Christmas present, because of the Hatch Show Print logo. The only writing in it (other than what appear to be some notes made while doing a crossword puzzle) was the two-page spread seen below.

 Examining this, I realized that it seemed to have some connection to country legend Jim Reeves; my initial assumption was that it had belonged to Jim's manager or some other close
associate, who was making notes toward figuring out what to give Jim and Mrs. Reeves for Christmas a half-century ago. A subsequent perusal of one of my vast collection of postcards would lead me to a different conclusion.
Mary Reeves (1929-1999)
After Reeves' death in 1964, his wife Mary  dedicated most of the rest of her life to preserving Jim's legacy , both by releasing a great many overdubbed posthumous recordings, Norman Petty-style (some perfectly good, others notably less so--- also like Petty's Buddy Holly products), and by operating a Jim Reeves Museum in Nashville for over 20 years. At some point during that period of time, the souvenir shop sold postcards of the widow Reeves, one autographed specimen of which was in my possession.

Comparing her signature to the notebook, I concluded that the book had been hers, and that the "Mrs. Reeves" in the book was in fact her mother-in-law!

Judge for yourself... it's not an absolutely perfect match, but the 20-plus year gap between the two documents, added to the different nature of a signature and scribbled notes would explain that adequately in my view.

So that's the story of my "Holy Relic", as I currently understand it. Regrettably,if this actually was Mary's, it was likely released into the world when her second husband sold off all of her property and all rights to Jim's recordings and name when she went into a rest home. Her obituary has the sad details.

Here's Mary in happier times:

And here's the man himself:

(written by his old buddy Roger Miller)

James Travis Reeves
(August 20th 1923- July 31st 1964)

Postscript: For any Hatch Show Print fans here in the Athens, GA area, American Letter press: The Art of Hatch Show Print is in town at the Georgia Museum of Art until November 26th.