In 1959, Jim Reeves recorded his first collection of sacred songs called God Be With You, where he covered gospel standards such as “Beautiful Life,” “The Flowers, the Sunset, the Trees,” “In the Garden,” “Whispering Hope,” and of course, the gospel favorite “Precious Memories.”
Breathing New Life To A Traditional Gospel Song
“Precious Memories” is a traditional gospel song that’s been credited to J. B. F. Wright as early as 1925. Three years later, it was recorded by Turkey Mountain Singers for the very first time.
Since then, the song has been performed by a wide variety of renowned recording artists. In addition to Jim Reeves, just a few of those artists include Willie Nelson, Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, The Stanley Brothers, and Alan Jackson, among others.
But Reeves’ rendition is one that stood out the most– with his rich yet soothing baritone voice, you will instantly feel at ease as you listen to the soaring ballad.
“Precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul. In the stillness of the midnight. Precious sacred scenes unfold,” the song goes.
Interestingly, Reeves’ rendition of “Precious Memories” was backed by a woman guitarist Velma Williams Smith. At that time, there were actually no women working as session musicians in Nashville. Smith recalled showing up at Reeves’ recording session, and the country singer gave her a look that seemed to say, “this is going to be good.” And the result was just stunning! Since then, Smith has worked on many songs by Jim Reeves.
Tune in and watch the video below of Jim Reeves’ performance of “Precious Memories.”