One of my favourite guilty pleasures is going to Sikora’s Classical Records and spending money I don’t have on records I don’t have shelf space for. People who know me know that I like to listen to records over playlists shuffled from a digital device but that’s a subject for another blargh post. Our victim today is the record pictured below that was left on my doorstep by an unnamed prankster.
The record gets a special place on the wall in my kitchen because of the syrupy orgy in the liner notes (Complete text below). As someone who takes great joy in writing about music, I like to read the writings of others. Often, when I read concert reviews in the Georgia Straight or Exclaim! I rudely cuss under my breath because the writer seems more interested in writing about what the musicians are wearing and what kind of beer the crowd is drinking rather than what the music is doing. But beneath that knee-jerk reaction I do offer a misting of sympathy. Writing about vibrating air molecules is hard. I learn a great deal when someone offers a picture frame through which we can conceptualize music and actually talk about it in a way that avoids dunking ourselves into the masterbatory bliss of hyperbole. On the back of the Jim Reeves record pictured above, Pat Twitty’s liner notes invite us to slink behind the beaded curtain…
“There are no words eloquent enough to describe this album. It is beautiful beyond description…”
All stop and shut up. It would be pendantic of me to point out the oxymoronic aspect of this opening sentence but I will anyway: Why? Why would you give the game away right at the beginning? Why should we read anything that follows? If that statement is to be processed with any part of our brain instead of being smeared on our turntables why would we read anything that follows?
“There are no words eloquent enough to describe this album. It is beautiful beyond description. And why is this so? There is a reason. The reason is a man named Jim Reeves. He is a rare find in the field of music because he has been a ‘great’ in the country and western field, the popular field, and in religious and inspirational music. But the reason this album defies description is simply because the man singing these songs surpasses himself as the great performer he is. He is more the individual than the artist; that is saying quite a bit when you speak of Jim Reeves.
Notice, if you will, that the title song, ‘We Thank Thee’ is Jim’s own expression. It is not titled, ‘I Thank Thee’ but ‘We’; obviously he has a special meaning here. Jim has an ardent fan who says he is, ‘touching home base when he records these songs’. She continues, ‘These songs reach Jim where he lives; he loves them…. can’t you tell?’.
The fan is Jim’s wife, Mary. And the answer is, ‘Yes, Mary, we can tell’.”
All of that writhing verbage seems to beg the questions, “What kind of pants was Jim wearing when he recorded the album and what kind of beer am I drinking?”. All stop and shut up.