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Classic Album Review-Jim Reeves “The Intimate Jim Reeves”

Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player. 1960’s the year, Jim Reeves the artist, The Intimate Jim Reeves the album. RCA Victor released it in June. No chart action, there was no Country album chart and it didn’t make the Pop 200, it did include one single, the Summertime hit, “I’m Gettin’ Better”. This was the ninth Jim Reeves album to be released.

“Dark Moon” is the opening track to the album. Written by singer-songwriter Ned Miller, it had been a 1957 hit for both Gale Storm and Bonnie Guitar. Nice, intimate feel for the opening track.

The album also includes Jim’s original recording of “Oh How I Miss You Tonight”. Nineteen years later, RCA would take this recording, add a new arrangement, along with the voice of Deborah Allen, and it would become a top ten hit in early 1980. Here, though, it’s all Jim. If a full orchestra can have a sparse arrangement, then this is the example. You almost don’t notice they’re there, then again, that could also be the result of the typically outstanding vocal work of the late Jim Reeves.

The story is the same for “Take Me In Your Arms And Hold Me”. Again, new music and Deborah Allen’s voice were added, and again, the result was a top ten hit in 1980. Of course, a much smoother, lusher version than the Eddy Arnold hit version, recorded years before his switch to the lush sounds of The Nashville Sound. This is a great version.

“I’m Gettin’ Better” was the only single to actually be released in conjunction with the album, climbing as high as three during the Summer of 1960. Typical great Jim Reeves ballad. One of his great hits that really should be heard more often.

“Almost” is one of two songs that Jim covers on the album that were hits for fellow Country crooner, George Morgan. This is a nearly flawless performance by the “Voice Of Velvet”. And, like always, he sounds so effortless, as well.

Side one ends with the Jim Reeves take on the Carl Smith hit, “You’re Free To Go”. Whereas Carl belted out his vocals on the hit version, here, it’s the more intimate, soft style that Jim Reeves practically patented.

Side two opens with another George Morgan hit, “You’re The Only Good Thing (That’s Happened To Me)”. Here, Jim gives a performance that is as good as the original, simply put, good stuff.

From the repertoire of Tex Ritter comes “Have I Stayed Away Too Long”. This comes off as a really great track, performed in a lush, ballad style that fits perfectly with the song. Liking this track.

Nothing to complain about on “No One To Cry To”. A song recorded several year earlier by The Sons Of The Pioneers, Jim’s version takes the smoothness of that original and simply expands upon it, with the result of a stellar piece of music.

“I Was Just Walkin’ Out The Door” actually has more of an Easy Listening feel to it. Great composition that is a perfect fit with the vocals of Jim Reeves. Love this track.

Jim covers yet another Sons Of The Pioneers original with his take on “Room Full Of Roses” (also a George Morgan hit). Good track.

The song “We Could” had been recorded as far back as 1955 by Little Jimmy Dickens and in 1974, became a hit for Charley Pride. Here, you get a great version by Jim Reeves, and one has to wonder why RCA never thought about putting this on the market as a single. I think it would have been a big hit.

An album that, fortunately, is still on the market in CD format, as a two-fer with Jim Reeves’ album Girls I Have Known, or it’s available as an MP3 download. As for used copies, most that I saw were going around $10, in both stereo and mono format.

“I’m Gettin’ Better” gets my Standout Track nod, while my Hidden Gem goes to “Oh How I Miss You Tonight”. No Weakest Track, here.

Overall, a great album from the legendary Jim Reeves. Strong material, here, and the recordings are outstanding. Though the tracks are all in a similar arrangement and tempo, Jim and his producer, the legendary Chet Atkins, did a great job of keeping the album from becoming entrapped in a web of sameness or monotony; each track has it’s own freshness and this album delivers twelve great performances. I rate it a 5 out of 5.

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