Execution of request,hPqgoY_47AM,A8Julr8VEvE,b7gSRc88qzI,Execution of request,15NZNzuN_x4,Execution of request,Execution of request,0OaI8qlalnE,I-zEASoQ8_0,XncccUvDL_A,U3jKLyEkzkY,EMGtWkJgdIM,5iTMryP_njo,OmGZGNG_J24
Christmas Music Playlists with Jim Reeves Songs
Gentleman Jim Offers A Song For Each Day of Christmas
Factfile - Jim Reeves
- Reeve's only festive album, Twelve Songs of Christmas (1963), peaked at #3 in the UK album charts and #15 in the US.
- Twelve Songs of Christmas began life as an 11 song release in South Africa (Merry Christmas From Jim Reeves). To make it a 12 tracks album for Christmas, Reeves returned to the studio to record 'Silver Bells' before the album was released to the US and european markets.
Country singer Jim Reeves is closely associated with the Christmas season which is a remarkable achievement given that his 1963 ‘Twelve Songs of Christmas’ is the only Christmas album he ever released. This album had a circuitous route to its eventual release in the U.S./Europe after it had originally been released in South Africa as ‘Merry Christmas From Jim Reeves’ with only 11 tracks (‘Silver Bells’ was missing). Jim has some Christmas exposure before that via a 1959 U.S. radio broadcast where he and a backing orchestra recorded a lively ‘Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer’. It would not make it onto any of his singles or albums but the quality of the recording is such that it could have easily done so in its original state.
1963’s ‘Twelve Songs of Christmas’ can be safely classifed in the traditional Christmas album category, the type that you’ll find on vinyl in your parents/grandparents attic (or better still waiting to be played on their still working turntable each December). Warm and inviting it is the archetypal listen for opening gifts by the blazing fire where the only noise is the tearing of paper and Jim Reeves homespun country vocals. Reeves specialised in slow moving dramas but this album opens at a lively canter with ‘Jingle Bells’ where the singer is joined by a female backing group who jing-aling-aling merrily throughout. Things slow considerably for ‘Blue Christmas’ which is not a million miles from the Elvis version (who recorded it 6 years earlier in 1957) which is both a compliment and a perhaps a small negative. Where Reeves truly leaves his mark though is on ‘An Old Christmas Card’ which is sung without a hint of irony, the heartfelt memories that are triggered by looking back on a Christmas card received several Christmasses earlier. 'An Old Christmas Card' includes a spoken word section as Gentleman Jim reminisces with a tear in his eye. Another classic is ‘Silver Bells’ which is slowed to a crawl but in Jim Reeves hands it makes for perfect example of nostalgia on record. More than any other Jim Reeves Christmas song 'Silver Bells' has infiltrated the endless Christmas compilations that are stacked high in record shops all over the world each December.
‘Twelve Songs of Christmas’ also finds time on side two to shift gear from the secular numbers to the religious ones. ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ and ‘Mary’s Boys Child’ are lovely but it is on ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful (Adeste Fideles)’ and ‘Silent Night’ that Reeves puts his own spin on things. The former only lasts 2 minutes but what a spiritually uplifting performance it proves to be. ‘Silent Night’ closes the album in an acoustically hushed manner where the country star is bolstered by the Lee Jane singers on backing vocals. 'Twelve Songs of Christmas' has been reissued a number of times, most imaginatively (or not depending on your point of view) in 2003 when it came out as 'Christmas Songbook' with all 12 of the original tracks plus 10 more religious numbers. The catch with the extra material was that none of it was Christmas related, so while it was not entirely a disconnect given the seasons origins it did seem a little bit of a stretch to give the collection a Christmas title.
The final Christmas song that Jim Reeves recorded was called ‘Snowflake’ but it was not released during his short life (he was killed in 1964 in a plane crash aged only 40) but his wife Mary was so fond of the song she passed it on to his record label for a posthumous release in 1965. And what a lucky thing she did for ‘Snowflake’ is an incredibly jolly little number with a clever turn of melody at its core.
What a beautiful Christmas card you gave me that year. Why, I know you must have looked through thousands of cards to find, that wonderful poem, that still brings a tear to my eyes...
Jim Reeves, An Old Christmas Card
Jim Reeves Christmas Album & Single Covers