DID YOU KNOW THAT BEAR FAMILY’S LATEST BOX-SET REVEALS 7 (SEVEN) APPEARANCES BY JIM REEVES ON THE WEEKLY BIG ‘D’ JAMBOREE SHOW BROADCAST FROM DALLAS RADIO STATION KRMD?
Reeves historians and fans have known for years of Jim’s appearances on both the ‘Louisiana Hayride’ & the Big ‘D’ shows, but little information has ever appeared in print as to actual dates of those performances. That is until now. Bear Family Records latest 8-cd boxed set “Big ‘D’ Jamboree” (BCD 16086 HK) has been a long time in the offing, with much secrecy, and is a much welcomed addition to their superlative catalogue.
The real gem in this priceless set is the excellent 168 page hardback book by Stanley Oberst, Jay Brakefield, Kevin Coffey & David Dennard, all acknowledged long-term experts on this piece of Texas country music history. In his introduction to the book, Alan Govenar describes the show which ran from 1947-66 as “a crucible of the evolving face of popular music,” & “it stands as a metaphor of a time and place in which profound changes in country music undermined the conservative mainstream of American life.” It grew to prominence under the shrewd management of wrestling impresario Ed McLemore and featured mainly regional country & rockabilly artists backed up with national stalwarts.
The Big ‘D’ Jamboree never attained the importance of its rival ‘Louisiana Hayride,’ but Jim Reeves saw it of sufficient value & importance to enter their talent show which had begun in 1950 and which gave the winner a chance to join the Big ‘D’ gang. The winner had to repeat his winning over several consecutive weeks, before acceptance. Eventually that number of consecutive wins would rise to 10. Once achieved, the artist would introduce their own songs & more especially feature the hit songs of the day by other artists. Unfortunately, Jim didn’t win, having got 2nd place behind the eventual winner Jimmy Lee Fautheree. The Bear Family book details Jimmy Fautheree’s first appearance on the show as 19th May 1951, indicating he must have by then achieved his required number of wins, and that the Reeves’ appearance must have been prior to that date.
The fascinating timeline to the Bear Family book was compiled by Stanley & Cheryl Oberst. It was produced from weekly ads & small articles appearing in ‘The Dallas Morning News’ & ‘Dallas Times Herald,’ augmented by surviving printed programmes for many shows from 1949 to the 1960s. The compilers state that errors sometimes occurred in the ads and where found have been corrected, and that the list is not complete. The ads generally only included headliners and a handful of other performers.
Jim’s performances are detailed as:
1. April 18th 1953 *
2. June 27th 1953
3. January 16th 1954
4. December 22nd 1956
5. December 27th 1958 *
6. November 14th 1959
7. November 21st 1959
These show dates highlight once again the serious
errors & omissions in the “Untold Story.” The book mentions just 2 shows (the
starred items) which can be authenticated. A further 2 dates mentioned - April
10th & April 18th 1952 have no source references & are clearly figments of the
author’s imagination. April 10th was a Thursday & the 18th a Friday! The fact
that the shows went out on Saturdays, meant his correct dates should have been
April 12th & 19th. Neither date in the Bear Family Timeline refers to Jim being
on the show.
It remains to be seen whether or not the sceptical & cynical band of Reeves timeliners will take heed to these important historical dates which now have to be taken seriously, or whether they will continue to rely on their substantiation by nailing their colours firmly to the mast of the “not infallible” author who will no doubt once again wage his bootless war of words on those who dare question a book that’s far from principled & perfect, who seek to right his wrongs, a job he himself should be doing. The purpose of this website has never been, and never will be to wage war, but only to continue a valiant struggle against adversity, in order that truth & integrity in the legacy of Jim Reeves may ultimately prevail.
Programme scan: Courtesy: Richard Weize/Bear Family