ACETATE RECORD OF HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE DISCOVERED
For a number of years, almost on a weekly basis, Jim Reeves fans have found a lot of Jim Reeves’ memorabilia and documents being offered on eBay. Probably thousands of items, including documents and pictures, have been offered by one seller alone, like artefacts in a revolving museum display case.
Recently, a remarkable document has been auctioned, handwritten lyrics of a Hank Williams song, written down by Jim Reeves. The seller, the well known Ms. Connie Sanders, mentions she has an acetate record of Jim Reeves performing three songs at the Louisiana Hayride in 1951 which will be put on eBay for action sometime. The label on the acetate reads: ‘Summer of 1951, LA. Hayride’ and has the name of Monroe Smith on it. Monroe was one of Jims earliest fans and is known to have sent acetates recordings of Jim Reeves to both Jim Reeves and Tom Perryman, as early as 1950.
Ms. Sanders had bought a batch of 78 rpm records which are believed to have come from Jim’s own record collection when he was a deejay, at an action. Jim's name is not on the acetate, that is why she didn't know it was Jim, and it sat there a while before she played it.
Ms. Sanders allowed me to listen to this unique acetate which has three recordings by Jim, “I Can't Help That I'm Still In Love With You”, a Hank Williams composition and an Ernest Tubb and a Hank Thompson song. I was really excited when I listened to those songs, I knew Jim had sang Hank William’s songs on stage, but here was finally the proof. The recordings showed Jim’s craftsmanship as a singer, even that early in his life, if I was told Jim had recorded those in 1958, I would have believed it.
Burton Harris, a musician who knew Jim well when Jim sang with Gene Wortham and the Circle 'O' Ranch Boys told me during one of several interviews I conducted with him, that Jim had indeed performed at the Louisiana Hayride in the summer of 1951 and had used the house band at that and another performances at the Louisiana Hayride Show. Burton also informed me that Jim also had performed at the BIG D JAMBOREE in Dallas before 1953, (probably in February 1952) and that he, Burton played lead guitar for Jim then. Both Horace Logan or Jim Reeves never mentioned Jim’s first KWKH appearance in 1951?
I wonder how many more unmarked acetate records, sent to Jim by Monroe Smith, are still waiting to be discovered?
Condensed from an article published in issue Nr. 105 of the Jim Reeves Fan Club magazine.