Or his elegant, smoother, rich-voiced tracks for RCA in which he comes into full bloom as a singer?
Now that VoiceMasters has announced the 8 CD set, "The Great Jim Reeves," comes word that a 3 CD set concentrating on the Abbott years will be released by Bear in June. (This info has not even been posted as yet on the Holland website of the so-called Reeves fan club, so you read it here first).
I find this release very regrettable, and so would Jim if he were alive. That's because when Reeves signed with RCA, he implored Steve Sholes to buy up all the Abbott masters. Unlike when Steve did that by making a deal with Sam Phillips of Sun to acquire all of Elvis Presley's early work, the acquisition by RCA of the Abbott material was initially intended to PREVENT its release into the marketplace. Jim was outraged when RCA went ahead and released some of the Abbott crap at a time when he was trying to transition from a hillbilly into an artist who could cross over into the pop field.
JIM WAS EMBARRASSED BY THESE ABBOTT MASTERS and didn't want them to surface.
There is already a plethora of Abbott material being rehashed in the marketplace such that it has virtually supplanted his more polished recordings and created a misimpression of the man among new fans. I would have thought Bear would have come up with something a bit more inventive than this.
I realize by mentioning the product here I am giving it added publicity, but that's fine. I would invite fans to ask themselves which Jim Reeves they prefer to hear: the hillbilly one before he learned how to use his natural gifts -- or the later, dulcet-toned crooner (who can be heard on the newly overdubbed tracks on "The Great Jim Reeves" by clicking the link below).
Jim "shucked corn" as Tommy Hill said, when he strained his voice to reach the higher pitches out of his natural vocal range, (at the insistence of his first producer). He only became THE GREAT Jim Reeves when he learned how to move in close to the mic and caress the notes under the tutelage of Bea Terry, not massacre them as he did on Abbott for Fabor Robison.
The Bear press release promises the liner notes will shed "new light on many mysteries previously assumed to be unsolvable" (WHAT MYSTERIES?), and then undermines that assertion by the statement that the project was "overseen by veteran Reeves expert David Bussey" (which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one), with additional information supplied by Arie den Dulk. (You know, the two guys who have repeatedly posted misinformation about Reeves over the years and even argued with Jim's own handwritten diaries.)
Mr. Bussey has repeatedly attacked me publicly for having written a balanced and candid account of Jim's life with the publication of my award-winning 672 page book, "Jim Reeves: His Untold Story," accusing me of destroying Jim's image. But apparently he feels no compunction about further disseminating inferior recordings which Mr. Reeves himself was loathe to see made available to the public. Is that any way to honor this singer on the 50th anniversary of his passing? It's not only sad, it's disgraceful.
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