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Ataoja, Akirun, Olokuku were Baales As Alaafin shakes Osun

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The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi III on Friday said that the Ataoja of Osogbo, Akirun of Ikirun and Olokuku of Okuku used to be District Chiefs (Baale) some years ago.

Thepagenews gathered that the monarch made the revelation during a visit to the Palace of the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Adewale Akanbi, explaining that the Oluwo has never been a District Chief (Baale).

“Oluwo is not Iwo’s District Chief (Baale), there was no Nigeria here before, it used to be the Northern protectorate, Southern Protectorate and the protectorate of Lagos before the amalgamation in 1914 during the reign of my father.

“Alaafin was the only Oba that went to sign for the amalgamation in 1914.

“Ataoja was given crown in 1948 during the reign of my father and that was when he moved from being a Baale to becoming an Oba. At least, we have Ita Baale in Osogbo till date.

“It is not because I’m seated here with him, when a young man becomes a king, don’t call him a young man.” The Alaafin stated.

Also, the monarch implored kingmakers across Yoruba land not to appoint old men as kings, because of the huge job of the status.

“If you make an old man a king, you’ll miss a lot. We’ll keep appealing to Yorubas not to select old men as kings because they wouldn’t have the capability.

“Oluwo has transformed this palace because I’m used to coming here and I commend the good works done here so far.” He added.

On the rumoured feud between Yoruba Obas, the Alaafin traced it to the decision of the leadership of the Old Oyo State under the late Chief Bola Ige to appoint the then Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade, as the Chairman, Council of Chiefs after the demise of the late Sir Adesoji Aderemi.

“When the Late Aderemi, Ooni of Ife joined his ancestors, the first person to move the motion that the Alaafin should be the Chairman of the Western State Council of Obas and Chiefs was Oluwo Abimbola and it was supported by all Obas present.

“But the government decided to go otherwise and that was the beginning of the disunity between Yoruba Obas.

“The Deputy Governor, acting on the directives of the Governor, S.M. Afolabi, issued a release that the Ooni of Ife is automatically the Chairman of the Council of Obas because he is the foremost monarch in Yoruba land.

“All the kings disagreed. When did constitutional government came compared to the long reign of the Yoruba traditional system.

“There is a book written by a foreign author which I sent to the then Oyo State, the book states that Oranyan is a direct descendant of Oduduwa and he is reputed to be the head of the princes in Yoruba land.

“Bola Ige then called me, saying he doesn’t want to quarrel with the Alaafin because such could distabilize their government. He said government doesn’t reverse official decisions but I’ll still be accorded necessary respect particularly to represent the state in Lagos during meetings of the Council of Chiefs.” Alaafin explained.

Among others, the Alaafin said the right thing was to make Iwo the capital of Osun State but the government chose to act otherwise.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Oluwo of Iwo urged Alaafin to bring the entire Yoruba Obas together to form the Yoruba Council of Obas, noting that the Alaafin remains father of all Yoruba Obas.

“Don’t let us be scattered like this, state creation came recently. You are the Alaafin of Yoruba land and I want you to bring us together because there can never be unity across the land if we kings are not united. I am not cursing.

“Our father Alaafin; Iku Baba Yeye, there must be Yoruba Council of Obas. Today is not for talks because of where we are going but this is what I want request from you before the whole world.

 

“You are our father in Yoruba land, there are many things we should have done since but some elements whom I wouldn’t wanna call enemies because I don’t keep enemies. I see people in such category as my promoters because the more they talk about me, the popular I become. Even US President now knows Oluwo.” Oluwo said.

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Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

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Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

Professor Yemi Osinbajo was then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation.

 

That was the year Oba Yesufu Oloyede Asanike, Olubadan of Ibadan made history. Olubadan installed Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola as the Bashorun of Ibadan. It was a prestigious title befitting of a distinguished personality in the mould of MKO Abiola.

 

That was the title of the legendary Bashorun Oluyole who was the paramount chief of Ibadan in 1850. It was also the title of Bashorun Ogunmola who reigned between 1865 and 1867. It was therefore historic that exactly 120 years after the death of Ogunmola, MKO Abiola became the fourth person to be conferred with the prestigious title.

Between Osibajo, Afe Babalola, MKO And Aare Ona Kakanfo

 

It was indeed a befitting honour for someone who had amassed chieftaincy titles from almost every town in Nigeria. As of the time of his installation in 1987, MKO Abiola was reputed to have over 150 chieftaincy titles. He was the Bobajiro of Ode-Remo. He was the Bada Musulumi of Gbagura Egba.

 

As he drove out of the palace of Oba Asanike that fateful day with his son by his side, MKO must have thought that he had reached the peak of traditional chieftaincy in Nigeria.

 

He was just settling down in his Ikeja home when he was informed that he had a call. Who was on the line? He asked before collecting the phone. It was the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III.

 

MKO snatched the phone. “Iku Baba Yeye, Igbakeji Orisa! Kabiyesi!” The newly installed Bashorun paid his homage to the foremost traditional ruler. Alaafin must be calling to congratulate me, MKO thought. Kabiyesi was however not calling to congratulate the business magnate.

 

“We have decided that you are to be conferred with the title of Aare Ona Kakanfo!” Kabiyesi informed him.

 

The phone nearly dropped from the hand of Bashorun. Aare Ona Kakanfo! The Generalissimo of Yoruba race! The Field Marshall for all descendants of Oduduwa! The portfolio held by Afonja, the founder of Ilorin! The title of Aare Obadoke Latosa of Ibadan – the scourge of Efunsetan Aniwura! The position held by the last premier of Western Region, Ladoke Akintola of Ogbomoso!

 

For a single person to be Bashorun and Aare was unheard of. It was the ultimate! Traditionally, Bashorun is the Prime Minister. Aare is the Field Marshall. When Bashorun Gaa moved against Alaafin Abiodun around 1770, it was Oyalabi from Ajase (now Republic of Benin), the Aare Ona Kakanfo that came to the powerful monarch’s rescue. Now, Abiola was going to be both the Prime Minister and the Field Marshall!

 

Alaafin had spoken. MKO Abiola had no choice. The news spread like wildfire. Congratulatory messages poured in from all over the globe. Aare Ona Kakanfo was not just another title. It was the title. It was the father of all traditional titles. Father ke? No, it was the Grandfather of All Titles. If it were to be a national honour, it would be the equivalent of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic!

 

Everybody in and outside Yorubaland was ecstatic at the choice of Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo. Well, almost everybody.

 

It happened that the Ashipa of Oyo, Chief Amuda Olorunosebi was not pleased with the choice of Bashorun MKO Abiola as the Aare. Ashipa was one of the prominent chiefs of Alaafin. He objected to the choice of the flamboyant publisher, an Egba man, as Aare Ona Kakanfo. He went to Kabiyesi to protest. Iku Baba Yeye was adamant that MKO was eminently qualified to be the Aare Ona Kakanfo.

 

The Ashipa went back to his quarters at Isale Oyo. As MKO Abiola and the Alaafin were preparing for the installation of Bashorun, Chief Amuda was consulting with his lawyers. This was however unknown to the Alaafin. It was assumed that the Ashipa had been convinced to support Abiola’s candidacy.

 

Abiola was no ordinary person by any standard. He was larger than life. He was flamboyance personified. He was determined to make the chieftaincy installation as grand as possible. He invited all his contacts from all over the world. All the military governors were invited. A special invitation was delivered to the President, Ibrahim Babangida, who was a close friend of the Bashorun. African Heads of States cleared their schedules in order to honour MKO. Nigerian Embassies were issuing visas on daily basis. It was going to be a grand occasion.

 

Then the unthinkable happened! It started as a rumour. It was days to the installation.

 

‘Eti Oba nile, eti Oba l’oko, eniyan lo n je be.’ – The ear of a king is everywhere. Iku Baba Yeye was in his palace when he heard from the grapevine that a case had been filed to stop the occasion! “Ewo! Sango o ni je! Abiodun o ni je! Aole o ni je!” Kabiyesi went on to invoke the names of his predecessors on the royal throne of Alaafin!

 

It was around noon when the phone rang in Ibadan. It was from the Palace, Oyo Alaafin. Chief Afe Babalola, the famous legal practitioner, picked the phone. After exchange of homage and royal blessings, Alaafin informed Afiwajoye of Ado Ekiti that Ashipa had filed a suit against the installation of MKO Abiola. Not only that, a motion ex parte for interim injunction had also been filed. It was apparent that Ashipa was not ready to gamble with his chance.

 

Though Kabiyesi did not say it, Chief Afe knew the urgency involved. Installation was on Saturday. The call came in on Tuesday.

 

Less than thirty minutes after the call, Chief Afe was almost at Oyo. The legendary lawyer covered the 57 kilometres between Oyo and Ibadan as if he was on a chariot. He proceeded to court where he met the court registrar. Of course, the registrar knew Chief Babalola. It is doubtful if there is anyone in the Judiciary who does not know the Mayegun of Modakeke. Mayegun paid the requisite fees and conducted a search of the court’s file. It was there! Alaafin’s information was correct!

 

Iduro ko si, ìbèreè ko si fun eni ti o gbe odó mi – A person who swallows a pestle can neither stand nor sit comfortably. Installation was on Saturday. The search was conducted on Tuesday! The motion ex parte was to be heard the following day, Wednesday.

 

Time was of the essence! Chief Afe turned his car around, off to Emmanuel Chambers, Ibadan. Before the car reached Fiditi, he had mentally finished composing the processes. He was nodding as the cases and other relevant authorities began to surface in his mind.

 

By the time he reached his office, the mental process was complete. In a minute the Counter-Affidavit was ready. There was no need for a Written Address. Professor Yemi Osinbajo was then a Special Assistant to the Attorney General of the Federation. It would be years later before he introduced Written Address as the Lagos State Attorney General. The counter-affidavit was filed and served on counsel to the Ashipa.

 

On Wednesday, the court was full. Chief M. L. Lagunju, Ashipa’s counsel was in court. He adjusted his wig and checked his books. He smiled. It was a Motion Exparte. It won’t be contested. He checked his time. Then there was some commotion at the entrance of the court.

 

Chief Lagunju blinked! He blinked again! Walking in majestically was the Afiwajoye of Ado-Ekiti, the Balogun of Mobaland, the Mayegun of Modakeke, Chief Afe Babalola in flesh! He was followed by a host of other lawyers, each armed with bags of legal authorities enough to open a law library. Chief Lagunju didn’t know when he said: “The game is up!”

 

On the dot of 9 O’clock, the Court began sitting. The trial judge was a royalty himself. Justice Aderemi’s father was the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Sir Tadenikawo Adesoji Aderemi, the first Governor of Western Region. The case was called.

 

The plaintiff’s counsel sought to move his application. The learned counsel informed the court that it was an ex parte application and therefore the other party had no right of audience.

 

His Lordship turned to Chief Afe Babalola. The court was as silent as a ghost town. Young lawyers craned their necks to hear what the Legend was going to say. They have been taught in law school that Ex Parte Motion was for only one party. Some of them must have been wondering what magic the Mayegun of Modakeke was going to perform.

 

Chief Afe Babalola brought out the White Book. Oh! Sorry, you don’t know the White Book? The White Book is an important book for lawyers. It contains the sources of law relating to the practice and procedures of the High Court. Ask your lawyer friend to show you a copy. He won’t charge you, unless you open it.

 

The Legal Colossus was on his feet. He was vibrating like a trumpet, but his voice was as soft as velvet. He began to reel out authorities after authorities to the effect that a defendant who became aware, anyhow, that a party had gone to court and was about to obtain an order ex-parte that would affect him, had a right to appear in court and to insist on being heard.

 

His Lordship – a brilliant Judge from the Source of Yoruba Race – was nodding as he scribbled down the authorities being cited by the Legendary Advocate. His Lordship was not the only one writing. Most lawyers in court were writing furiously. One old man turned to his friend and whispered: “I don’t mind selling my house, Mufu, my son must become a lawyer like this man. Look at the way he is speaking English as if he is chanting oriki Sango!”

 

“There is merit in the case of the Defendants. I agree with Chief Afe Babalola, the Defendants deserve to be given the right to be heard. Case is hereby adjourned to tomorrow for arguments on the Motion on Notice.” His Lordship rose.

 

It is doubtful if the parties involved in the case slept that night. Whilst the lawyers checked and re-checked the authorities, the litigants were in anxiety mode. Chief MKO Abiola’s invited guests had started arriving from their various bases. Musicians engaged for entertainment had begun to set up their instruments in Oyo and Ikeja. Caterers had booked all the cows in Ilorin, Oyo and Ibadan. Local drummers had cancelled all engagements. The royal poet, Lanrewaju Adepoju had finished composing his masterpiece. All roads led to Oyo Alaafin.

 

If the court was filled to the brim on Wednesday, it was spilling over on Thursday. Litigants, journalists, lawyers, in fact everybody was in court that day. Chief Lagunju stood up. The learned counsel knew what was at stake. He argued his application expertly. He guessed the likely issues that Chief Afe would raise. He addressed each comprehensively. It was advocacy at its best.

 

Then the Balogun of Mobaland stood up. Like a surgeon, Chief Afe surgically cut through the issues deftly. He was not going to take any prisoner. After cutting through the issues, the authorities followed. From Halsbury’s Law of England to Commonwealth Law Reports, from decisions of House of Lords to decisions of Court of Appeal, from WACA to White Book, and then finally to the Supreme Court. The authorities were flowing like water from Asejire Dam. There was no stopping the deluge.

 

“In the light of the copious authorities cited by the learned counsel for the plaintiff and the defendants, the Court will be adjourning to…” There was pin-drop silence in Court. The installation was only two days away. “… Friday” Ha! Palpable relief went through the court.

 

On Friday, Chief Afe Babalola’s phone began to ring from dawn. “Chief, E ma lo gba ruling yin l’Oyo loni o. Please send your junior o.” Clients, friends and well wishers who witnessed or heard of the tension soaked session in court on Thursday were justifiably apprehensive. But Chief Afe was not the Balogun of Mobaland for nothing. A General must not be afraid of the warfront. Off to Oyo.

 

Chief Afe had hardly left Ibadan when he started seeing policemen at strategic junctions on the road to Oyo. As they approached Fiditi, the number of policemen increased. By the time they got to Jobele, it was as if the Police College had moved its campus there. In the forest, on top of trees, in the bushes, and on top of buildings, the police were everywhere.

 

The Courtroom itself was no exception. More than fifty police officers joined lawyers and litigants in the courtroom. If you were not wearing a wig and you were not a party to the case, you would have to stay outside.

 

Court!

 

Justice Aderemi went straight to the business of the day. “RULING” His Lordship began. Time stood still as His Lordship went on to review the facts of the application and the authorities cited by the counsel for the parties. “In the final analysis…” Counsel and cops in the court became tense.

 

“This application fails and is hereby dismissed.”

 

As if by telepathy, the crowd outside heard the ruling immediately! Shouts of joy erupted. Drummers who must have been hiding theirgangan drums under their agbada sprang out.Sekere came out. Agogo was not to be left behind. Chief Afe Babalola was pulled out of his car, The Balogun was placed squarely on the roof of the car. Women danced, men jumped. I’m not sure but one of the songs on that day must have been “Ajekun Iya ni o je”. I have to confirm this from Chief. May God preserve his life.

 

Alaafin was waiting in the Palace with his Council Members. For a moment, the Sango of our time, Iku Baba Yeye was close to tears. It was an emotional moment. MKO Abiola was called. The Bashorun shouted: “Allahu Akbar! Alhamdulillah.”

 

On Saturday, January 14, 1988, Oba Lamidi Olayiwola Adeyemi III installed Bashorun Moshood Kashimawo Abiola as the 14th Aare Ona Kakanfo. The famous Yoruba Poet, Lanrewaju Moshood Adepoju was then called to the podium. In his deep and flawless Yoruba, Adepoju movingly rendered traditional poetry tracing the history of the title and the qualities of the new Aare Ona Kakanfo.

 

Abiola smiled

 

It was indeed a glorious day for the husband of Simbiat Atinuke.

 

In recognition of his service to the Crown and the Law, Alaafin later conferred Chief Afe Babalola with the prestigious title of Aare Bamofin of Oyo Empire.

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Man Freed After 44 years in Prison for Wrongful Conviction of Raping Woman

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A man named Ronnie Long have been freed after 44 years in prison for wrongful conviction of raping woman.

Mr Long was sentenced to 80 years in prison after he was found guilty of raping Sarah Bost in 1976 but after years of appeals, his conviction has been thrown out.

The 64years-old man was accused of raping Sarah Bost, 54, at knifepoint in her home in Concord, North Carolina on the evening of April 25, 1976.

He was sentenced to 80 years in prison for first-degree rape and first-degree burglary.

What followed were decades of appeals for his conviction to be overturned, according to MIRROR

In 2005, Ronnie filed a petition to review biological evidence from the scene and to submit DNA testing.

It then emerged that hair samples and clothing fibers didn’t match Ronnie, and it was later discovered that none of the evidence was ever shared with the defense during his trial in 1976.

And in 2015, it was revealed that 43 fingerprints from the crime scene “excluded Long as the source of those prints,” according to court documents.

Despite these revelations, his quest for a new trial was rejected by the Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

But earlier month, a court ruled Long’s due process rights were violated under the constitution when he was convicted.

Ronnie walked from prison a free man on Thursday. He told reporters outside the court: “They will never ever, never ever ever, lock me up again.

“This is real. I’m going to try to enjoy every minute of it.”

According to court documents “a man entered the home” of Bost, who was 54 at the time, in 1976.

He also “put a knife to her throat.” When Bost was unable to give the intruder any money, the man “became angry, cursed her, threw her to the ground, ripped her clothes off, beat her, and raped her.”

The next day, Bost was shown 13 photos of potential suspects. Ronnie was not included in the photos and she could not identify any of them as the attacker.

Two weeks later, detectives told Bost that her attacker might be in court on the day she was asked to attend. Long attended court for a separate trespassing charge and Bost said she recognised Long’s voice.

She later picked Long out of a photo lineup. She told officers “there was no doubt in her mind that this person Ronnie Long was the person who entered her house.”

Despite the lack of physical evidence linking Ronnie to the crime scene and an alibi, he was arrested and later found guilty.

Long’s mother and the mother of his two-year-old son at the time said he was on a group phone call with them when the attack was reported to have taken place, records say.

Long lived with his mother and was preparing to attend a party in Charlotte that night, they said.

The fourth Circuit opinion, led by Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, cited “a troubling and striking pattern of deliberate police suppression of material evidence.”

A main argument by prosecutors to the jury, it said, was that “police acted honestly.”

A petition was launched calling for Ronnie to be released. Nearly 40,000 signed it.

Speaking outside of the prison, Ronnie told WBTV : “Don’t ever give up. No matter how rough it can be, always believe that you can overcome. The name of the game is surviving.

“Hopefully incidents like this can be avoided. If you see injustice being done against somebody – then speak out against it. Speak out, if you don’t then hate it, hate it with all your heart.”

Hi sister Lynda Smith added: “Yeah, this is the happiest news I done had in a long time.

“The Long family have really had their moments, and this is lifted a big burden off of us.”

Jamie Lau, Ronnie’s attourney, broke the news of his release on Twitter.

He tweeted: “The State of NC filed a motion with the Fourth Circuit this morning asking that it immediately issue the mandate in Ronnie Long’s case.

“The state said it will ask the district court to enter a writ vacating Ronnie’s conviction. In short, Ronnie Long is coming home!”

The case isn’t entirely closed. Local prosecutors could refile charges. But Lau doesn’t think that will happen.

“I’m optimistic the charges will be dropped,” he said. “What evidence could the state present? There is none.”

Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles tweeted: “Ronnie Long suffered through 44 years of injustice. I can’t imagine the strength he and his loved ones needed to endure it. I am elated that he will soon be free.”

 

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59 yrs After Transition, Jim Reeves Remains A Musical Hit!

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[…Jim Reeves married Mary White on September 3, 1947. They never had any children as Jim Reeves was believed to be sterile, due to complications from a mumps infection…]
Today makes it 59 years that world acclaimed Country music wizard, Jim Reeves transited to the great beyond.
Simply put, 31st of July this year, 2020,  he would have been dead for 59 years,  but his memory is still much around. His memory lives on.
Jim Reeves popularly known as Gentleman Jim Reeves was only 41 years when he crashed his plane in Brentwood Tennessee. Jim Reeve’s had a haunting voice and achieved the impossible by mixing Sinatra-style crooning with country and western.
So why is Gentleman Jim Reeves still such a huge hero to so many, his rarest records selling for larger sums than modern rock rarities? It is simple to answer this. According to those who know Reeves and his music – he wasn’t just unusual, he was unique and the very best of them all.
Early life and education according to Wikipedia.
Reeves was born at home in Galloway, Texas, a small rural community near Carthage. He was the youngest of eight children born to Mary Beulah Adams Reeves (b. 1884) and Thomas Middleton Reeves (b. 1882). He was known as Travis during his childhood years. Winning an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas, he enrolled to study speech and drama but quit after only six weeks to work in the shipyards in Houston. Soon he resumed baseball, playing in the semi-professional leagues before contracting with the St. Louis Cardinals “farm” team during 1944 as a right-handed pitcher. He played for the minor leagues for three years before severing his sciatic nerve while pitching, which ended his athletic career.
Early career
Reeves’ initial efforts to pursue a baseball career were sporadic, possibly due to his uncertainty as to whether he would be drafted into the military as World War II enveloped the United States. On 9 March 1943 he reported to the Army Induction Center in Tyler (Texas) for his preliminary physical examination. However, he failed the exam (probably due to a heart irregularity), and on 4 August 1943 an official letter declared his 4-F draft status. Reeves began to work as a radio announcer, and sang live between songs. During the late 1940s, he was contracted with a couple of small Texas-based recording companies, but without success. Influenced by such Western swing-music artists as Jimmie Rodgers and Moon Mullican, as well as popular singers Bing Crosby, Eddy Arnold and Frank Sinatra, it was not long before he was a member of Moon Mullican’s band, and made some early Mullican-style recordings like “Each Beat of my Heart” and “My Heart’s Like a Welcome Mat” from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.
He eventually obtained a job as an announcer for KWKH-AM in Shreveport, Louisiana, then the home of the popular radio program Louisiana Hayride. According to former Hayride master of ceremonies Frank Page, who had introduced Elvis Presley on the program in 1954, singer Sleepy LaBeef was late for a performance, and Reeves was asked to substitute. (Other accounts—including that of Reeves himself, in an interview on the RCA Victor album Yours Sincerely—name Hank Williams as the absentee.)
Initial success in the 1950s
Jim Reeves was a country music singer who had success early on in his career first with the song “Mexican Joe” in 1953 for Abbott Records. Other hits followed, such as “I Love You” (a duet with Ginny Wright), and “Bimbo” which reached Number 1 on the U.S. Country Charts in 1954. In addition to those early hits, Reeves recorded many other songs for Fabor Records and Abbott Records. In 1954, Abbott Records released a 45 single with “Bimbo” on side-A which hit #1 and featured Little Joe Hunt of the Arkansas Walk of Fame. Jim Reeves and Little Joe Hunt met at the Louisiana Hayride which was Louisiana’s equivalent to Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry. After performing at the Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana, Reeves and Hunt traveled & performed together for several years in the dance halls and clubs of east Texas and rural Arkansas. Reeves became the headliner with Hunt as the backup performer. Due to his growing popularity, Reeves went on to release his first album in November 1955, Jim Reeves Sings (Abbott 5001), which proved to be one of Abbott Records’ couple album releases. Reeves’ star was on the rise because he had already been signed to a 10-year recording contract with RCA Victor by Steve Sholes. Sholes went on to produce some of Reeves’ first recordings at RCA Victor. Sholes signed another performer from the Louisiana Hayride that same year (1955), Elvis Presley. Most of the talented performers of the 1950s such as Reeves, Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Ed Brown & Maxine Brown, The Wilburn Brothers and Little Joe Hunt got their start at the Louisiana Hayride. In addition to the Hayride, Jim Reeves joined the Grand Ole Opry, also in 1955.[5] Reeves also made his first appearance on ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee in 1955. He was such a hit with the fans that he was invited to act as fill-in host from May thru July 1958 on the popular program, Ozark Jubilee.
From his earliest recordings with RCA Victor, Reeves relied on the loud, east Texas style which was considered standard for country and western performers of that time. However, he developed a new style of singing over the course of his career. He said, “One of these days…..I’m gonna sing like I want to sing!” So, he decreased his volume and used the lower registers of his singing voice with his lips nearly touching the microphone. Amid protests from RCA but with the endorsement of his producer Chet Atkins, Reeves used this new style in a 1957 recording, a demo song of lost love that had originally been intended for a female voice. It was titled “Four Walls” which not only scored Number 1 on the country music charts but scored Number 11 on the popular music charts as well. This recording marked his transition from novelty songs to serious country pop music and according to one source, “established Reeves as a country balladeer” “Four Walls” and “He’ll Have to Go” (1959) defined Reeves style.
Jim Reeves was instrumental in creating a new style of country music which used violins and lusher background arrangements which soon became known as the Nashville Sound. This new sound was able to cross genres which made Reeves even more popular as a recording artist.
Reeves became known as a crooner because of his light yet rich baritone voice. Because of his vocal style, he was also considered a talented artist because of his versatility in crossing the music charts. He appealed to audiences that weren’t necessarily country/western. His catalog of songs such as “Adios Amigo”, “Welcome to My World”, and “Am I Losing You?” demonstrated this appeal. Many of his Christmas songs have become perennial favorites including “C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S”, “Blue Christmas” and “An Old Christmas Card”. Between 1957 and 1958, Reeves was the host of a radio show on the ABC network; this was also the time he began shifting from cowboy outfits to sports jackets.
Reeves is also responsible for popularizing many gospel songs, including “We Thank Thee”, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, “Across The Bridge”, “Where We’ll Never Grow Old”. He was given the name Gentleman Jim. An apt description of Jim Reeves both on stage and off it.
Early 1960s and international fame
Reeves scored his greatest success with the Joe Allison composition “He’ll Have to Go”, a success on both the popular and country music charts, which earned him a platinum record. Released during late 1959, it scored Number 1 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Songs chart on February 8, 1960, which it scored for 14 consecutive weeks. Country music historian Bill Malone noted that while it was in many ways a conventional country song, its arrangement and the vocal chorus “put this recording in the country pop vein”. In addition, Malone lauded Reeves’ vocal styling—lowered to “its natural resonant level” to project the “caressing style that became famous”—as why “many people refer to him as the singer with the velvet voice.”In 1963 he released his “Twelve Songs of Christmas” album, which had the well-known songs “C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S” and “An Old Christmas Card”. During 1975, RCA producer Chet Atkins told interviewer Wayne Forsythe, “Jim wanted to be a tenor but I wanted him to be a baritone… I was right, of course. After he changed his voice to that smooth deeper sound, he was immensely popular.”
Reeves’ international popularity during the 1960s, however, at times, surpassed his popularity in the United States, helping to give country music a worldwide market for the first time. According to Billboard, “Reeves’ star shone equally bright overseas in England, India, Germany, and even South Africa.
South Africa
During the early 1960s, Reeves was more popular in South Africa than Elvis Presley and recorded several albums in the Afrikaans language. In 1963, he toured and starred in a South African film, Kimberley Jim. In the film, he sang part of one song in Afrikaans. The film was released with a special prologue and epilogue in South African cinemas after Reeves’ death, praising him as a true friend of the country. The film was produced, directed and written by Emil Nofal. Reeves later said that he enjoyed the film making experience and would consider devoting more of his career to this medium.The film was released in South Africa (but never in the US) in 1965 after Reeves’s death. In that country he had been far more popular than Elvis.
Reeves was one of an exclusive trio of performers to have released an album there that played at the little-used 16⅔ rpm speed. This unusual format was more suited to the spoken word and was quickly discontinued for music. The only other artists known to have released such albums in South Africa were Elvis Presley and Slim Whitman.
Britain and Ireland
Reeves toured Britain and Ireland during 1963, between his tours of South Africa and Europe. Reeves and the Blue Boys were in Ireland from May 30 to June 19, 1963, with a tour of US military bases from June 10 to 15, when they returned to Ireland. They performed in most counties in Ireland, though Reeves occasionally abbreviated performances because he was unhappy with the available pianos at concert venues. In a June 6, 1963 interview with Spotlight magazine, Reeves expressed his concerns about the tour schedule and the condition of the pianos but said he was pleased with the audiences.
There was a press reception for him at the Shannon Shamrock Inn organized by Tom Monaghan of Bunratty Castle, County Clare. Showband singers Maisie McDaniel and Dermot O’Brien welcomed him on May 29, 1963. A photograph appeared in the Limerick Leader on June 1, 1963. Press coverage continued from May until Reeves’ arrival with a photograph of the press reception in The Irish Press. Billboard magazine in the US also reported the tour before and after. The single “Welcome to My World” with the B/W side “Juanita” was released by RCA Victor during June 1963 and bought by the distributors Irish Records Factors Ltd. This scored the record Number 1 while Reeves was there during June.
There were a number of accounts of his dances in the local newspapers and a good account was given in The Kilkenny People of his dance in the Mayfair Ballroom where 1,700 people were present. There was a photograph in The Donegal Democrat of Reeves’ singing in the Pavesi Ball Room on June 7, 1963, and an account of his non-appearance on stage in The Diamond, Kiltimagh, County Mayo in The Western People representing how the tour went in different areas.
He planned to record an album of popular Irish songs, and had three Number 1 songs in Ireland during 1963 and 1964: “Welcome to My World”, “I Love You Because”, and “I Won’t Forget You”. The last two are estimated to have sold 860,000 and 750,000 respectively in Britain alone, excluding Ireland. Reeves had 11 songs in the Irish charts from 1962 to 1967. He recorded two Irish ballads, “Danny Boy” and “Maureen”. “He’ll Have to Go” was his most popular song there and was at Number 1 and on the charts for months during 1960. He was one of the most popular recording artists in Ireland, in the first ten after the Beatles, Elvis and Cliff Richard.
He was permitted to perform in Ireland by the Irish Federation of Musicians on the condition that he share the bill with Irish show bands, becoming popular by 1963. The British Musicians’ Union would not permit him to perform there because no agreement existed for British show bands to travel to America in exchange for the Blue Boys playing in Britain. Reeves did, however, perform for British radio and TV programmes.
During the 1960s, at the early stage of his career, Elton John performed at various pubs in England, frequently playing songs by Reeves.
Norway
Reeves played at the sports arena Njårdhallen, Oslo on April 16, 1964, with Bobby Bare, Chet Atkins, the Blue Boys and the Anita Kerr Singers. They performed two concerts; the second was televised and recorded by the Norwegian network NRK (Norsk Rikskringkasting, the only one in Norway at the time). The complete concert, however, was not recorded, including some of Reeves’ last songs. There are reports he performed “You’re the Only Good Thing (That’s Happened to Me)” in this section. The program has been repeated on NRK several times over the years.
His first success in Norway, “He’ll Have to Go”, scored Number 1 in the Top Ten and scored the chart for 29 weeks. “I Love You Because” was his greatest success in Norway, scoring Number 1 during 1964 and scoring on the list for 39 weeks. His albums spent 696 weeks in the Norwegian Top 20 chart, making him one of the most popular music artists in the history of Norway.
Last recording session
Reeves’ last two recording session for RCA Victor were held July 2, 1964; they produced the songs “Make the World Go Away”, “Missing You”, and “Is It Really Over?” When the session ended with some time remaining on the schedule, Reeves suggested that he should record one more song. He taped “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, in what was to be his final RCA recording.
Reeves made one later recording, however, at the little studio in his home. In late July 1964, a few days before his death, Reeves recorded “I’m a Hit Again”, using just an acoustic guitar as accompaniment. That recording was never released by RCA (because it was a home recording not owned by the label) but appeared during 2003 as part of a collection of previously unissued Reeves songs released on the VoiceMasters label.
Personal life
Jim Reeves married Mary White on September 3, 1947. They never had any children as Jim Reeves was believed to be sterile, due to complications from a mumps infection.
Death
On Friday, July 31, 1964, Reeves and his business partner and manager Dean Manuel (also the pianist of Reeves’ backing group, the Blue Boys) left Batesville, Arkansas, en route to Nashville in a single-engine Beechcraft Debonair aircraft N8972M, with Reeves at the controls. The two had secured a deal on some real estate (Reeves had also unsuccessfully tried to buy property from the LaGrone family in Deadwood, Texas, north of his birthplace of Galloway).
While flying over Brentwood, Tennessee, they encountered a violent thunderstorm. A subsequent investigation showed that the small airplane had become caught in the storm and Reeves suffered spatial disorientation. The singer’s widow, Mary Reeves (1929–1999), probably unwittingly started the rumor that he was flying the airplane upside down and assumed he was increasing altitude to clear the storm. However, according to Larry Jordan, author of the 2011 biography, Jim Reeves: His Untold Story, this scenario is rebutted by eyewitnesses known to crash investigators who saw the plane overhead immediately before the mishap and confirmed that Reeves was not upside down.
Reeves’ friend, the musician Marty Robbins, recalled hearing the wreck happen and alerting authorities to which direction he heard the impact. Jordan writes extensively about forensic evidence (including from the long-elusive tower tape and accident report), which suggests that instead of making a right turn to avoid the storm (as he had been advised by the approach controller to do), Reeves turned left in an attempt to follow Franklin Road to the airport. In so doing, he flew further into the rain. While preoccupied with trying to re-establish his ground references, Reeves let his airspeed get too low and stalled the aircraft. Relying on his instincts more than his training, evidence suggests he applied full power and pulled back on the yoke before leveling his wings—a fatal, but not uncommon, mistake that induced a stall/spin from which he was too low to recover. Jordan writes that according to the tower tape, Reeves ran into the heavy rain at 4:51 p.m. and crashed only a minute later, at 4:52 p.m.
When the wreckage was found some 42 hours later, it was discovered the airplane’s engine and nose were buried in the ground due to the impact of the crash. The crash site was in a wooded area north-northeast of Brentwood approximately at the junction of Baxter Lane and Franklin Pike Circle, just east of Interstate 65, and southwest of Nashville International Airport where Reeves planned to land.
On the morning of August 2, 1964, after an intense search by several parties (which included several personal friends of Reeves including Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins) the bodies of the singer and Dean Manuel were found in the wreckage of the aircraft and, at 1:00 p.m. local time, radio stations across the United States began to announce Reeves’ death formally. Thousands of people traveled to pay their last respects at his funeral two days later. The coffin, draped in flowers from fans, was driven through the streets of Nashville and then to Reeves’ final resting place near Carthage, Texas.
Legacy
Jim Reeves Drive at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas
Reeves was elected posthumously to the Country Music Hall of Fame during 1967, which honored him by saying, “The velvet style of ‘Gentleman Jim Reeves’ was an international influence. His rich voice brought millions of new fans to country music from every corner of the world. Although the crash of his private airplane took his life, posterity will keep his name alive because they will remember him as one of the most important performers in Country music.”
In 1998 Reeves was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas, where the Jim Reeves Memorial is located. The inscription on the memorial reads, “If I, a lowly singer, dry one tear, or soothe one humble human heart in pain, then my homely verse to God is dear, and not one stanza has been sung in vain.”
Each year, the Academy of Country Music awards the Jim Reeves International Award to an artist who has made an “outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.done the most to promote the genre worldwide”. In 2019, the award was bestowed on Kacey Musgraves.
Posthumous releases
Reeves’ records continued to sell well, both earlier as well as new albums, issued after his death. According to Billboard magazine, “Reeves’ career continued to thrive with hit records on the Billboard charts throughout the next two decades”. The last Reeves song on the charts was “The Image Of Me”, in 1984.
His widow, Mary, was instrumental in the ongoing success of the songs. She combined unreleased tracks with previous releases (placing updated instrumentals alongside Reeves’ original vocals) to produce a regular series of “new” albums after her husband’s death. She also operated the Jim Reeves Museum in Nashville from the mid-1970s until 1996. On the fifteenth anniversary of Jim’s death Mary told a country music magazine interviewer, “Jim Reeves my husband is gone; Jim Reeves the artist lives on.”
During 1966, Reeves’ record “Distant Drums” hit Number 1 on the British singles chart and remained there for five weeks, beating competition from the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”/”Eleanor Rigby” (a double-sided “A” release), and the Small Faces’ song, “All Or Nothing”. The song stayed in the UK charts for 45 weeks as well as taking the Number 1 on the US country music chart. Originally, “Distant Drums” had been recorded merely as a “demo” for its composer, Cindy Walker, believing it was for her personal use and had been deemed “unsuitable” for general release by Chet Atkins and RCA Victor. During 1966, however, RCA determined that there was a market for the song because of the war in Vietnam. It was named Song of the Year in the UK during 1966 by the BBC and Reeves became the first American artist to receive the accolade. That same year, singer Del Reeves (no relation) recorded an album paying tribute to him.
In 1980, Reeves had another two Top Ten posthumous duet hits along with the late country star Patsy Cline, who featured on Have You Ever Been Lonely? and I Fall to Pieces. Although the two had never recorded together during their tragically short lives, producers Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley lifted their isolated vocal performances off their original 3-track stereo master session tapes, resynchronized them and re-recorded new digital backing tracks. The duets first appeared on the Remembering Patsy Cline & Jim Reeves LP.
Reeves’ compilation albums containing well-known standards continue to sell well. The Definitive Collection scored Number 21 in the UK album charts during July 2003, and Memories are Made of This scored Number 35 during July 2004.
Since 2003, the US-based VoiceMasters has issued more than 80 previously unreleased Reeves recordings, including new songs as well as newly overdubbed material. Among them was “I’m a Hit Again”, the last song he recorded in his basement studio just a few days before his death. VoiceMasters overdubbed this track in the same studio in Reeves’ former home (now owned by a Nashville record producer). The song was released in 2008 by H&H Music (UK) and became Number 1 in a survey of radio stations in the UK. Reeves’ fans repeatedly urged RCA or Bear Family to re-release some of the songs overdubbed during the years after his death which have never appeared on CD.
A compilation CD The Very Best of Jim Reeves scored Number 8 on initial release in the UK album chart during May 2009, to later score its maximum of Number 7 during late June, his first top 10 album in the UK since 1992. In 1996, the German Bear Family Records label released a 16 CD compilation titled “Welcome to my World”, including more than 75 unissued titles and many demo recordings.
More recently, in 2014, a set of eight CDs was released by Intermusic S.A., titled “The Great Jim Reeves”, containing 170 tracks, remastered and remixed.
India and Sri Lanka
Reeves had many fans in both India and Sri Lanka since the 1960s, and is probably the all-time most popular English language singer in Sri Lanka. His Christmas carols are especially popular, and music stores continue to carry his CDs or audio cassettes.
Robert Svoboda, in his trilogy on Aghora and the Aghori Vimalananda, mentions that Vimalananda considered Reeves a gandharva, i.e. in Indian tradition, a heavenly musician, who had been born on Earth. He had Svoboda play Reeves’ “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his cremation.
Tributes
Tributes to Reeves were composed in the British Isles after his death. The song “A Tribute to Jim Reeves” was written by Eddie Masterson and recorded by Larry Cunningham and the Mighty Avons and during January 1965 it scored on the UK Charts and Top Ten in Ireland. It scored the UK Charts on December 10, 1964, and was there for 11 weeks and sold 250,000 copies. The Dixielanders Show Band also recorded a ‘Tribute to Jim Reeves’ written by Steve Lynch and recorded during September 1964 and it scored on the Northern Ireland Charts during September 1964. The Masterson song was translated later into Dutch and recorded.
In the UK, “We’ll Remember You” was written by Geoff Goddard but not released until 2008 on the Now & Then: From Joe Meek To New Zealand double album by Houston Wells.
Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, a Canadian alternative rock band whose musical style blends elements of surf music, gospel music, rockabilly, garage and punk released the song entitled “Jimmy Reeves” on their 1992 album “Don’t Mind If I Do”
Reeves remains a popular artist in Ireland and many Irish singers have recorded tribute albums. A play by author Dermot Devitt, Put Your Sweet Lips, was based on Reeves’ appearance in Ireland at the Pavesi Ballroom in Donegal town on June 7, 1963, and reminiscences of people who attended.
Blind R&B and blues music artist Robert Bradley (of the band Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise) paid tribute to Reeves in the album description of his release, Out of the Wilderness. He said, “This record brings me back to the time when I started out wanting to be a singer-songwriter, where the music did not need the New York Philharmonic to make it real…I wanted to do a record and just be Robert and sing straight like Jim Reeves on ‘Put Your Sweet Lips a Little Closer to the Phone.'”
British comedian Vic Reeves adopted his stage name from Reeves and Vic Damone, two of his favorite singers.
In the United States, Del Reeves (no relation) recorded and released a 1966 album entitled Del Reeves sings Jim Reeves.
Reeves’ nephew, John Rex Reeves, appears occasionally on RFD-TV’s Midwest Country, singing Reeves’ songs, as well as other popular country songs.
By Femi Adepoju
    Philip Japor
   Faleye Oluwatosin

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