He was a young, Meridian guitarist by the name of Leo Jackson, when the legendary and traditional country music star, Jim Reeves, heard him perform at the Hamasa Shrine Temple Ballroom in 1954.

Reeves hired Leo then and took him back with him to the "Louisiana Hayride" show in Shreveport, La. (KWKH Radio Station). He played with Jim's band (as did the late Floyd Cramer-pianist) on the "hayride" show until October 1955 and Reeves was then hired to become a member of the WSM-Grand Ole Opry/Nashville. Leo was a member of Jim's "Blue Boys" band until his tragic plane crash death in 1964. After the loss of 39 year old Jim Reeves in that private plane crash, the widow of Reeves, Mary Reeves, invited Leo to stay with the "Blue Boys" and work for the Jim Reeves Enterprises.

Leo told me recently that: "I stayed with the company for eight more years until 1972. I then started work as a Nashville sessions musicians in the various studios and stayed there for 34 years, retiring in 2006." It was revealed at this point in the Leo Jackson archives that he, Leo, played on the first nine albums recorded by the award winning group, Alabama, and his guitar work was heard on at least 17 of their biggest songs.

Leo Jackson was one of my closest musician friends in this area and I recently (September 2007) received some photos and biography material from him, to use in my upcoming book, "I Remember When — Meridian." I received a phone call from Leo's brother-in-law, James Dandridge, Sunday night, informing me that Leo died at home in Goodlettsville, Tenn., about noon on Sunday, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 73. In a personal phone call this week with Leo's widow, Nell Jackson, she said: "Leo had been in the hospital with a minor operation and reportedly, took a pain medication earlier and when I went to work Sunday he said, 'I'll be here and see you when you get home.'" She added: "Our son Leo Jr. and the grandkids were at home in another part of the house when the tragedy occurred."

Like Jim Reeves' fans throughout the world — all the family and Nashville's entertainment center, as well as Meridian relatives and friends — "all of us are in complete shock."

Tentative funeral arrangements are set for Thursday in Hendersonville, Tenn. It is reported that the services are being delayed due to many fans outside the U.S. who are wanting to attend. Leo Jackson will be missed. Remember his wife, Nell and all the family in your prayers. He was a friend of this writer for over 50 years. Anyone needing further information on Leo Jackson, should contact me at this e-mail address, Carl28@peoplepc.com.

React to this story:

0
0
0
0
0

Trending Video