Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wolf Call

Mrs. Illinois Jacquet hits the dance floor with the big bad wolf, via JET magazine, 1958.

Earl Washington  -  Wolf Call  (2:07)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Esquerita Awareness Month: "Sweet Skinny Jenny"

      This is the A-side to Mr. Peek's first solo single; the B-side may be heard here, where its context, and the origins of this particular copy are discussed at length. Besides Peek and Esquerita, this session also included future NRC recording artists Joe South and Ray Stevens.

     I held off on posting this last week because I was hoping to relate an amusing anecdote about Mr. Peek, but the person I heard it from some years back no longer remembers the details, so I'm gonna skip it. It wasn't that great anyway, I guess.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Esquerita Awareness Month: "The Rock-A-Round"

     Paul Peek and Esquerita were both from Greenville, SC, and met while Mr. Reeder was headlining there at the Owl Club in 1958. Paul was justifiably impressed with Mr. Reeder's act, and introduced him to his boss at the time, Gene Vincent, who would soon use his influence to get him signed to Capitol records. Before that point, though, he helped arrange for Esquerita and his band to cut several demos in Dallas, as well as today's selection (this material is all collected on Vintage Voola, from Norton records). This was Mr. Peek's debut record, as well as the first NRC single, and was co-written by Peek and "Esque-Rita" (if by "co-written", one means "swiped from Ahmet Ertegun and Ray Charles"--- but why nitpick?).
      This particular scratchy sound file, however, is not from that album. It's from the single pictured above, which I and an accomplice "shoplifted" from a Kroger supermarket, circa 1993! Perhaps this requires explanation: at that time, the now-defunct Broad St. Kroger here in Athens, GA was doing a goofy "Back To The '50s" promotion, with the store haphazardly decorated for the occasion. There were posters and crepe streamers throughout the store, the freezers had an assortment of pedal cars on top for some reason, and the deli section had dozens of 45s dangling on ribbons from the ceiling. They had clearly just gone to the Potter's House thrift store and grabbed up a six-or-eight-inch stack of singles from the top of the pile, and the bulk of them were '70s & '80s junk: Osmonds, KC & The Sunshine Band, and worse. On maybe my second or third visit during the promotion, though, I was shopping late, around midnight, and happened to see a familiar label out of the corner of my eye, and looked closer to see the above record (no sleeve-- I added that later). Looking around a lot more carefully, I saw nothing else of interest, except for a second copy! THey were hanging just out of my reach, so I went home, grabbed a couple of junk 45s, then went next door and fetched a fellow record hound, the slightly-taller Mr. Jim Tucci, and returned to the grocery store. he yanked down the records, we tied the ribbons to our replacement singles and left them on the floor (see? It wasn't actual thievery!), selected our groceries, and went home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mrs. Jim Reeves

 A couple of years ago, my buddy Robert got me this pocket date book off of eBay as a Christmas present, because of the Hatch Show Print logo. The only writing in it (other than what appear to be some notes made while doing a crossword puzzle) was the two-page spread seen below.

 Examining this, I realized that it seemed to have some connection to country legend Jim Reeves; my initial assumption was that it had belonged to Jim's manager or some other close
associate, who was making notes toward figuring out what to give Jim and Mrs. Reeves for Christmas a half-century ago. A subsequent perusal of one of my vast collection of postcards would lead me to a different conclusion.
Mary Reeves (1929-1999)
After Reeves' death in 1964, his wife Mary  dedicated most of the rest of her life to preserving Jim's legacy , both by releasing a great many overdubbed posthumous recordings, Norman Petty-style (some perfectly good, others notably less so--- also like Petty's Buddy Holly products), and by operating a Jim Reeves Museum in Nashville for over 20 years. At some point during that period of time, the souvenir shop sold postcards of the widow Reeves, one autographed specimen of which was in my possession.

Comparing her signature to the notebook, I concluded that the book had been hers, and that the "Mrs. Reeves" in the book was in fact her mother-in-law!

Judge for yourself... it's not an absolutely perfect match, but the 20-plus year gap between the two documents, added to the different nature of a signature and scribbled notes would explain that adequately in my view.

So that's the story of my "Holy Relic", as I currently understand it. Regrettably,if this actually was Mary's, it was likely released into the world when her second husband sold off all of her property and all rights to Jim's recordings and name when she went into a rest home. Her obituary has the sad details.

Here's Mary in happier times:

And here's the man himself:

(written by his old buddy Roger Miller)

James Travis Reeves
(August 20th 1923- July 31st 1964)

Postscript: For any Hatch Show Print fans here in the Athens, GA area, American Letter press: The Art of Hatch Show Print is in town at the Georgia Museum of Art until November 26th.