Classic Album Review-Jim Reeves “We Thank Thee”
Today’s review takes us all the way back to 1962, forty-eight years ago, for a classic album from one of country music’s greatest legends, Jim Reeves. “We Thank Thee” is a collection of gospel songs, that Jim recorded in January, 1962, and has since become a favorite for many Jim Reeves fans and country music fans, worldwide, and with good reason, as you are about to discover.
The album is a good mixture of what were then newer compositions, as well as old standards (old, even for 1962).
The title cut, begins the album, a rather simple composition that gives a list of things to “thank thee” for. It’s one of my favorite cuts on the disc.
“Where We’ll Never Grow Old” is one of those old-time songs on the disc; it is beautifully done by Jim, as he sings it with such a conviction, that it reaches deep into your soul.
The best cut on the disc is another standard, “I’ll Fly Away”. One of my favorite inspirational songs, Jim’s version is far superior than any other I’ve ever heard.
While none of the cuts on this disc truly cut loose, “Across The Bridge” is the closest. Even then, Jim’s style still gives it a relaxing, soothing feel.
Though not a song that particularly does anything for me, there are many who love the song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord”. If you are one of those, and you’ve never heard Jim Reeves’ version, you will find a performance that will be nothing short of impressive.
“My Cathedral” is one of those decent, but not anything special songs, but it certainly comes off well, with Jim at the helm.
Side 2 (if you’re on vinyl) begins with “The Night Watch”. Reminding us of “God’s keeping the night watch for you and me”, this is another song that is simply crafted, yet very effective in it’s message, no doubt helped by Reeves’ arrangement and Chet Atkins’ production wizardry.
Another standout cut on the disc is Jim’s take on the George Beverly Shea classic “I’d Rather Have Jesus”. It’s a completely different sound than the Shea versions, it actually sounds as if the song was specifically written with Jim Reeves’ vocal styling in mind.
“Where Do I Go From Here” is a nice recording, but not anything particularly special.
Jim also performs standout versions of classics, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” and “This World Is Not My Home”. The latter is often performed as an up tempo piece, especially when in the hands of bluegrass performers, of which one particularly outstanding version is by the legendary Bill Monroe. While not at the same breakneck tempo, Jim’s has a nice, swing to it, and much like “Across The Bridge”, while the tempo is faster, it’s still a relaxed, soothing feel.
“Oh, Gentle Shepherd” wraps the album up, in a nice, quiet tone.
An online check discovered several used copies of this classic album for sale, most a very reasonable prices. The great news, though, is that this album is available on CD. Note, though, that the CD version has 4 additional tracks, in addition to the 12 that appeared on the original issue.
Jim Reeves is arguably the best pure singer in the history of country music. He was good at the hard, traditional sounds of this early hits, but even then, you could often hear the overtones of the style that would ultimately seal his legacy. Once he and Chet Atkins softened up his stylings, and added what is called “The Nashville Sound” to his recordings, we hear Jim at his best. And this album is just another example of that incredible talent that he possessed. Had he wanted to, Jim could have been an equally legendary gospel singer, if his performance on this album is any indication. Overall, I rank it a 4.5 out of 5.
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