Maxine Brown Recalls the Great Jim Reeves
1) The Great Jim Reeves
3) Website Visitor Comments
The Great Jim Reeves
By Maxine Brown
JIM REEVES was the best friend The Browns ever had, from the beginning of our career, to the end of his.
Because of the close association and admiration, we tried to follow in his footsteps. We were both on the Louisiana Hayride, record mates, RCA and Fabor, the same manager, and then winding up being screwed by the same DEVIL.
Jim played rhythm guitar on our first record, Looking Back to See which was recorded in the studio of KWKH, Shreveport. He made the statement, “If this record hits, I’m quitting the business”. At that time, he had a smash hit, “Mexican Joe”.
We toured together all over the Pacific Northwest. Not only did we spend time touring, but he spent a lot of time with our mom & dad at their deer camp. They hired some prisoners from the local penitentiary to do all the cooking and cleaning. Everyone loved the aroma of outdoor cooking, the jokes and deer tales. It was Jim’s favorite past time, and a chance to get away and enjoy life.
I have always maintained that The Browns and Jim Reeves were instrumental in pioneering this business. Singers and pickers caravanned in their own cars. There was no tour buses or smooth four lane highways. We would finish up one show late at night, then drive 12 or 14 hours to the next show date. We got tired early and stayed tired. The only fun we had was entertaining on stage in front of people. It was one hardship after another. People get into the music business out of love for the music, they stay and endure all the hardships out of love for each other.
There is no telling how many times Jim wished he had never given up his baseball career.
After one of our tours was winding down and we were headed home, Jim decided to get rid of his battered trailer. It wasn’t easy pulling those tacky things all over the rugged terrain we had to travel, and the Rocky Mountains. When we reached the highest point of Pikes Peak, he pulled over, unhooked his trailer, and with his foot, pushed it over the side of the mountain. It rolled and tumbled into what seemed like a bottomless pit. You could hear his laughter all the way down that mountain.
In 1957, Jim arranged a tour of Europe in conjunction with the United States Air Force. This was our first trip to Europe and without a doubt the most memorable and eventful experience of my life. We played all the Air Force and Army bases. Each time we took off, we traveled in an Army transport plane used to transport soldiers during the war. We had to wear parachutes. Back in those days, women didn’t wear slacks or pantsuits so it was quite an awkward deal to strap one of those chutes between your legs. All the guys enjoyed seeing us strapping those contraptions on. They fit like a big fat G-String. The only place to sit was on the floor, if you could manage, so we had to stand up and hope we didn’t fall, most of us did. I have never felt so stupid or embarrassed in my life. (Just another reason to think we pioneered this business).
We lost our friend, Gentleman Jim on July 31st, 1964. He had piloting his own plane and had been to a little town in Arkansas, checking out some property he wanted to buy and was on his way home to Nashville. He was within two miles of the airport when his plane disappeared.
What a sad, bitter time it was. They found the wreckage about a mile from Jim Ed’s home in Brentwood. Sadly too, Jim died on Bonnie’s birthday. We recalled all the times on the road that Jim had sung Happy Birthday to Bonnie and had always been the life of the party. I think that Jim was probably afraid in that last dark storm, but I bet he was laughing and probably singing. Singing right into the face of that black storm.
This is just one of the many stories I had trouble writing. You can read these in my book, “Looking Back To See” Jim taught us many things about the business of music. We will always miss him.
Mama Browns Sweet Potato Pie
(This will make two pies)
3 Average size Sweet Potatoes
2 1/2 Cups Sugar
5 Eggs, beaten
1 Large can Pet Milk
1 Stick Butter, melted
1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Pie Crust Shells
Wash and boil potatoes. Cool and peel. Mash with potato masher. Add Sugar & mix well. Add eggs, milk, salt, flavoring, and butter. Mix well. Pour into pie shells. Bake at 375 degrees until done and slightly brown. (Note: Before baking, sprinkle a little sugar on top of pies. This helps to make a pretty brown top).
Old Fashioned Lemon Chess Pie
2 Cups Sugar
1 Tablespoon Flour
1 Tablespoon Cornmeal
4 Eggs, beaten
1/4 Cup Melted Butter
3 Tablespoons Grated Lemon Rind
Juice of One Large Lemon
1/2 Cup Coconut
1 Unbaked Pie Shell
Mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle some coconut in bottom of pie shell. Pour all ingredients into shell and bake about 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until set. (Note: If using sweetened coconut, you may cut down on sugar, it may be too sweet).
Website Visitor Comments
Many great comments at the website. Great to hear from everyone. Enjoy the recipes, website and my store. Lots of free online music posted there now, in the store.
Recent website comments:
* Dear Maxine, Your website gives me the opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed reading Looking Back To See after hearing about it from JE on an appearance on Larry’s Country Diner. I was singing along on the Browns records in the early 60s, and have been a big fan all these years. In my opinion that era of CM is the best. These days I enjoy your music on youtube, wish I could find more of your videos from that time. Thank you for all the memories of your wonderful harmonies. God Bless you, Bonnie & JE. (Bill Gordy)
* Maxine! How wonderful that you have this web site! I’ve been wondering how you’ve been doing lately, and it’s so good to see you haven’t lost a step. Great web site! I hope everyone can get a chance to listen to your music and, of course, read that wonderful book of yours! Every time I hear one of the Browns’ songs on my radio, I smile. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! And an even better New Year! (Randy Francis)
Love you all! Enjoy the recipes!
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