A gentleman. This is how it came to be known Jim Reeves, a singer specializing in country ballads, always in her most accessible and close-to-pop side, who topped the charts in the United States during much of the 50s and 60s. Her extraordinary voice and great stage presence that he exhibited in his concerts led him to be a well-known figure throughout the entire Yankee musical geography and that the public baptized him with the pseudonym of “Gentleman Jim”(A nod to the film he directed Raoul Walsh in 1942, with Errol Flynn leading the cast, in which the life of the boxer was recounted James J. Corbett). “Gentleman Jim” had the misfortune of dying too young, barely 40 years old, in a plane crash, but he is already part of the great history of American music in general and of the “Nashville sound” in particular.
The funny thing is that Jim Reeves neither was he the author of the song that stars in this installment. He interpreted – sublimely, by the way – the words he wrote Joe Allison after having a difficult phone conversation with Audrey, his girlfriend, whom he could barely understand on the other end of the line due to the excessive volume coming out of a jukebox. Thus, the main verses of the theme concluded that “you can tell the friend who is there with you that he will have to leave”, in a clear allusion to the feeling of zeal that flooded him after the frustrated attempt at communication. The song sung by Reeves was in turn an adaptation of the previous version by Billy Brown, a resounding failure at the time, which our man managed to record as the B-side of “In a mansion stands my love” and which, due to those unexpected twists of fate, ended up becoming the hit par excellence of his career. “He’ll have to go”, recorded in October 1959 with the accompaniment of some of the most experienced studio musicians on the scene, reached number one in countries such as Australia and Norway and was forever marked as the pinnacle of their music. career, opening the ban for subsequent interpretations, among others, of Elvis presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tom Jones, Bryan Ferry, Ry Cooder and even the british Prefab Sprout, which included it in the edition for the American market of their essential album Steve McQueen.
As any emotional demonstration corresponds to a more or less eloquent reaction, it would only take a year for that theoretical demonstration of authority to have its female counterpart, although in a different voice and circumstance. Jeanne Black, also educated in the culture of country music, managed to sign for the label Capitol Records in 1960 to give a boost to his career, and began the new journey recording “He’ll have to stay”, an obvious answer, putting himself in the shoes of the mysterious Audrey, to the subject of his admired Jim Reeves.
The singer did not get anywhere near as relevant as her inspirer and today she is still considered one more example of what is known as one-hit wonder, adding to the large number of soloists and bands that only transcended with more or less success. less important. The attempt, however, was more than worth it.
Just a couple of songs that go hand in hand and that relate themes in a more than obvious way. They are legion, and given the impossibility of covering them all in a series as limited as this one, we will stick to those that we consider most appropriate according to the time in which they were recorded. The music of the 20th century and part of the 21st gives for that and much more. To be continue.
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The answer is in the song (IV): He’ll have to go by Jim Reeves