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Living the old life

A concert at Mangalore provides living proof that the music of Jim Reeves continues to be relevant in these times

Photo: R. Eswarraj

Reeves Remembered Max Karkada (left) gives a rendition of a Reeves song in the event at Mangalore

Why does a tribute to Jim Travis Reeves stand out like a blue rose on the last day of July? The question was raised on account of a musical evening, dedicated by the Mangalore Ladies’ Circle 82’ to the “King of hearts” on his forty-fifth death anniversary.

Jim Reeves was a musical phenomenon who made it big, without the hard-sell characteristics of the later times or the obvious advantages of a globalised world and an Internet age.

He managed to personify the romantic ideals of more than a generation with his evocative accounts of unrequited love, discoveries of infidelity, brave acceptance of anguish and touching heroism. His songs were like a prism that reflected the colours of a bygone generation. The question was whether he is still relevant in the fast-paced lives we lead today.

From the response that the event received at the terrace of Bharat Mall, his music remains relevant and lives on.

Reeves’ plaintive music and the musical wizardry of the band transformed the venue into a dance hall out of the fifties and the sixties.

The event was made more receptive to the audience, thanks to the efforts of the guest guitarist, Edgar Valentine; the jivers who would have given Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers a complex; and the audience comprising people from all age groups and different walks of life, all participating in the event with childlike enthusiasm.

There were many others who were re-incarnated by Max and his musical troupe so that Reeves didn’t stand solitary on the 21st century stage. There were Connie Francis, Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom Jones, and Patsy Cline also. Upon reflection, one discovers the secret to Reeves’ continuing relevance. His simplicity, honest and unashamed communication of feeling and vulnerability, and good, old-fashioned values still create that safety net of sound that he was once famous for. In these times when to be cynical is considered clever, Reeves comes to life with fountain-freshness. He stands for the sense of home and belonging which keeps people anchored in faith in mankind, romantic love, family, and angels.

It might be worthwhile for the organisers of such events to consider the other greats of the gramophone age who are waiting in the wings for a musical resurrection.

GERALYN PINTO

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