‘Get a pi­ano, any pi­ano, Jim Reeves is com­ing . . .’

Mu­sic with Eddie Row­ley

Irish Independent - Farming - - RURAL LIFE - ROCKIN’ ROW­LEY

COUN­TRY mu­sic le­gend Jim Reeves was one of the best loved Amer­i­can singers in Ire­land.

And when the star with the soft bari­tone voice toured here in the sum­mer of 1963, crowds swarmed around the ball­rooms and halls.

Reeves loved the en­thu­si­asm and warmth of Ir­ish au­di­ences, but he had one ma­jor gripe about the tour.

The Texan bal­ladeer wasn’t high main­te­nance, and he’d only had one re­quest for his shows — that a pi­ano be pro­vided at ev­ery venue.

In an era be­fore Ire­land de­vel­oped a high stan­dard of pro­fes­sional con­cert and en­ter­tain­ment pro­mo­tion, the saga of the pi­anos tells a tale of the hap­haz­ard way it was run in the 1960s.

As the venues didn’t have pi­anos, there was a fran­tic search for the in­stru­ment in ev­ery lo­cal­ity. They were sourced from lo­cal homes, churches, pubs and some parish halls. Many were di­lap­i­dated, out of tune and the in­te­ri­ors cov­ered in cob­webs.

Jim Reeves was not im­pressed. In an interview with an Amer­i­can magazine while on tour, the coun­try su­per­star said: “They au­di­ences here are some of the best I have ever come across, but the pi­anos are the worst!”

Jim Reeves was killed in a plane crash the fol­low­ing year, and our own Larry Cun­ning­ham went on to have a hit in the Bri­tish charts with the song, ‘A Trib­ute To Jim Reeves’.

Opry le Daniel, a new se­ries on TG4 pre­sented by Daniel O’Don­nell, will re­mem­ber Reeves in a trib­ute show to be recorded at the Mil­len­nium Fo­rum in Derry on Fri­day, May 18.

The hits of Jim Reeves will be per­formed on the night by Al Grant, Pa­trick Feeney, Matt Leavy and Tony Kerr.

This is a chance for fans to hear unique in­ter­pre­ta­tions of the le­gend’s clas­sic songs, in­clud­ing ‘He’ ll Have To Go’.

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