Sneha Mary Christall, II MA English.
I don’t quite know what it is about certain songs that they can transport me to a time gone by, places I have glimpsed and lives only ever imagined. Come December, my playlist inevitably includes Jim Reeves’ Christmas songs. I suspect it all began the day I discovered an old cassette of his Twelve Songs of Christmas. Somehow, the heartbreak over a lover’s old Christmas card, dancing the Christmas polka and snowflakes blowing in the wind had taken over my eleven-year-old imagination. At the time, the closest I had been to heartbreak was when I realised there would be no letter from Hogwarts in the post (not much has changed in this department). As for seeing snowflakes, do hailstones count?
Perhaps, it is this very nostalgic quality of his music, which endears him to so many. In Señor Santa Claus, he tells Santa in broken English, to come visit him and not just the kids in the neighbourhood. Quite simply, he makes you want to believe once again, in the magic of the Christmas season. In An Old Christmas Card, he sings, “Guess I’m always sentimental ’round this time/ Pardon me if a tear falls among my Christmas cheer.” He shifts to a lighter beat again with The Merry Christmas Polka. In White Christmas, he sings of children listening to the sound of sleigh bells in the wind. Interestingly, the background beat sounds just like sleigh bells.
Reeves used the Nashville sound, which mixed country and popular musical elements. In 1967, he was inducted posthumously into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Like his contemporaries Elvis and Johnny Cash, he sang to a wide audience. Even today, it takes me by surprise to hear my otherwise composed father break into a Jim Reeves tune.
Follow this link to listen to Reeves’ entire album Twelve Songs of Christmas:
[Photograph Source: The Internet]