Auntie Doris’s They Died Too Young #23: Jim Reeves, Died July 31 1964, aged 40


How many people who died too young died in ruddy plane crashes? Glen Miller, Otis Redding, John Denver, Buddy Holly and his pals and Baron Von Richtofen. If it wasn’t for me putting a full stop after that last one, the list would be never ending. And I haven’t even mentioned Jim Reeves yet.
I used to like Jim reeves. He had a lovely deep golden, gentle voice that used to turn my knees to jelly. And deep blue eyes that looked out at you from his LP covers with a clear, honest stare that could turn the toughest beef into dripping.
Raymond couldn’t stand him, but and April May used to collect his LPs. Whenever we went into town, we used to buy one, and she kept them all in the radiogramme that our Cyril had got for her at cost price from work. Some of them were in Stereo an’all, but it made no difference to me because my left ear was always a bit funny. He sang hymns, and sad songs and funny songs and love songs and allsorts, but maybe my favourites were the ones where he didn’t sing at all, but just talked, telling stories with that lovely sincere voice of his. We used to have a record called “Talkin’ to Your Heart” which had them all on. On the cover, he was standing in front of the fire with a pipe in his hand, just like Harold Wilson (and they both had a wife called Mary!). The stories were marvellous, about an old man who is told he can’t sing in the choir at church any more because he sounds ruddy awful, about a farmer standing in his field praying out loud to Jesus, and best of all: “Old Tige” about a little dog who comes back from the dead to guide his master home in the dark past a burst dam. All ruddy ridiculous, but when the tears of laughter stopped rolling down your cheeks, there would be a lump in your throat, and perhaps a few real tears. After all, Old Tige had saved his master “from the bull that gored his dad to death” And that’s no laughing matter.
And it was no laughing matter when Jim crashed his plane into the rain swept Tennesee countryside, and broke his ruddy neck.
There was no faithful little doggie to pull him out of the wreckage either, and even if there had been, it wouldn’t have been any use. He was already as dead as a doornail, his spirit passed over to the other side, where he could join in with some of the other dead musicians from Country Music’s Hall of Fame such as Hank Williams, Tex Avery and Patsy Cline.
He had a lot in common with Patsy. She had been killed in a plane crash a year before Jim, and she had only been 31. I told you, that list is ruddy endless….

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