Monday, February 8, 2010

Yonder Comes A Sucker

Jim Reeves

Railroad steamboat river and cannal yonder comes a sucker and he's got my girl
And she's gone gone gone and she's gone gone gone gone I'll bid her my last farewell

I fell in love with a pretty little thing I thought that wedding bells would ring
She was as sweet as sweet could be till I found out what she did to me
Railroad steamboat river and cannal...

I asked her mother to let her go she whispered mother just tell him no
Though he may think that I am true there's plenty more who think so too
Railroad steamboat river and cannal...
[ guitar ]
Now I won't cry my life away some other sucker will have to pay
And when he finds that she is gone I guess I'll hear him sing this song
Railroad steamboat river and cannal...

James Travis Reeves (August 20, 1923–July 31, 1964) was an American country and pop music singer-songwriter popular in the 1950s and 1960s who also gained a wide international following for his pioneering smooth Nashville sound. Known as Gentleman Jim, his songs continued to chart for years following his death at age 40 in a private airplane crash. He is a member of the Country Music and Texas Country Music halls of fame.

Jim Reeves was born in Galloway, Texas, a small rural community near Carthage. Winning an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, he enrolled to study speech and drama, but dropped out after six weeks to work at the shipyards in Houston. Soon he returned to baseball, playing in the semi-professional leagues before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals farm team in 1944 as a right-handed pitcher. He stayed in the minor leagues for three years before severing his sciatic nerve on the pitching mound and ending his athletic career.
Reeves began to work as a DJ, and sang live between songs. In the late 1940s, he was signed to a couple of small Texas-based record labels, but with no success. Influenced by such Western swing artists as Jimmie Rodgers and Moon Mullican, as well as popular crooners Bing Crosby, Eddy Arnold and Frank Sinatra, it was not long before he got a foothold in the music industry. He was a member of Moon Mullican's band and made some early Mullican-style recordings like "Each Beat of my Heart" and "My Heart's Like a Welcome Mat" from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.
He eventually landed a job as an announcer on KWKH-AM in Shreveport, Louisiana, home to the popular Louisiana Hayride. His musical break came when singer Sleepy LaBeef was late for a performance on the Hayride, according to former Hayride emcee Frank Page, and Reeves was asked to fill in. (Other accounts—including Reeves himself, in an interview on the RCA album Yours Sincerely—name Hank Williams as the absentee.)
[edit]Initial success in the 1950s
Reeves' first country hits included "I Love You" (a duet with Ginny Wright), "Mexican Joe", "Bimbo" and other songs on both Fabor Records and Abbott Records. He recorded only one album for Abbott, 1955's Jim Reeves Sings (Abbott 5001). Eventually he tired of the novelty bracket he had been forced into, and left for RCA Victor. In 1955, Reeves was signed to a 10-year recording contract by Stephen Sholes, who produced some of Reeves' first recordings at RCA and signed Elvis Presley for the label that same year.
In his earliest RCA recordings, Reeves was still singing in the loud style of his first recordings, considered standard for country and Western performers at that time. He softened his volume, using a lower pitch and singing with lips nearly touching the microphone, but ran into some resistance at RCA; until in 1957, with the support of his producer Chet Atkins, he used this style on his version of a demo song of lost love, written from a woman's perspective (and intended for a female singer). "Four Walls" not only took top position on the country charts, but went to number eleven on the popular charts. Reeves had not only opened the door to wider acceptance for other country singers, but also helped usher in a new style of country music, using violins and lusher background arrangements soon called the Nashville sound.
Reeves became known as a crooner because of his warm, velvety voice. His songs were remarkable for their simple elegance highlighted by his rich light baritone voice. Songs such as "Adios Amigo", "Welcome To My World", and "Am I Losing You?" demonstrated this approach. His Christmas songs have been perennial favorites, including "Silver Bells", "Blue Christmas" and "An Old Christmas Card".

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