Welcome to Mellow's Log Cabin. This blog's purpose is to supply information on a diversity of American southern music - ranging from country, blues, old-time and folk to R&B, rock'n'roll and rockabilly. I regularly present my research results about artists, labels, shows and also give guest writers a chance to publish their texts here on occasion.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Reavis Recording Studio

Someone asked me about Joe Reavis' Recording Studios recently but I lost contact information to that person, unfortunately. I hope he or she is reading this little piece now and that this is some useful information. If anyone out there has more knowledge about this little recording studio, feel free to pass it along.

Joseph Adam Reavis, Jr., was the owner of "Reavis Recording" on 2014 Beech Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. Reavis was born in 1931 in Nashville. According to Bo Berglind, the studio was active at least since late 1955. Information on Reavis and his venture is scarce and confusing. Buzz Cason recalled in his autobiography "Living the Rock'n'Roll Dream" that the studio was operated by Kenny Marlow by 1958, a young attorney, and songwriter Gary Walker, who changed the name of the facility to "Fidelity." Apparently, Bobby Russell and the Impollos recorded their "She's Gonna Be Sorry" b/w "The Raven" (Felsted 45-8520) that year there under the new ownership. 

However, Billboard reported on April 25, 1960, that Murray Nash purchased the studio from Joe Reavis (!). Nash renamed it "Recording of Nashville" and operated his labels like Do-Ra-Me, MusiCenter and onthers out of it. By 1964, Nash had given up working in the music industry and probably sold the studio to whomever. Reavis died on December 6, 1961. from an overdose of barbituates, following the death of his father Joseph Adam Reavis, Sr., on October 30, 1961.

Buzz Cason remembered the studio: 
[...]  I will always be thankful for the people I met at that rat hole of a facility and the life-changing events that transpired in those early days of recorded music in Nashville long before there was a Music Row. [...]

"The Walls Came Tumblin' Down" and "That's What Children Are For" on a 45rpm
acetate recorded at Reavis Recording Studio. The artists on this disc are unidentified.

 "Lord's Prayer" by Barbara Redden on a 78rpm acetate. The backside of this
record is blank.

Further reading on Do-Ra-Me, see here.

10 comments:

Michael Smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I own Reavis a 78rpm. titled " O HOLLY NIGHT", reverse side titled " SILENT NIGHT". SUNG BY Minnie W. Baker.

g said...

Joseph Adams Reavis died in 1961 from an overdose of barbituates. He was my cousin. He was a genius in the recording industry. So cool to find this information on him. Thanks.

Mellow said...

G, sorry to hear of Reavis' early death but thank you for the information! Sure would like to know more about him. Any chance to contact you?

g said...

I would be happy to give you info on what I have. Diversdelight@icloud.com

Judy A said...

Interesting post!

Breana Lee said...

I have been doing a lot of research lately and finally found a link to this blog. My grandmother and great uncle recorded at Reavis; one record has The Johnson Sisters on one side. My grandfather was an executive at Capitol, so my family has a lot musical history . Reavis remains a relative mystery to me, but one that I would like to know more about, as it was a huge part of where my grandmother started. I would love any information or stories you can pass along. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Not many stories I know of. My great aunt Mattie may Ramsey Reavis was his mother. The stories to me were, when Joey jr. was like ten, he got hit by a car. The car had a hood ornament on it and Joe hit his head on that and a ‘teaspoon of his brains came out”. I have no idea if that is true his brains came out, but that’s what I was told. So Joe had pain and was on a lot of pain medication. Back in the 50’s and 60’s they just handed out drugs like candy for pain not knowing a lot about the long term effects. So, my Aunt had a beautiful home. A four plea. Joe Jr. had the recording studio in one of the apartments. He was brilliant with electronics of the day. My aunt gave a bunch of 78 records to my uncle and I have no idea what happened to them, nor do I recall the artists. I do know my uncle Bud Ramsey (Alton Gordon Ramsey jr) recorded there and has records of him playing the banjo. Uncle Bud is in the music hall of fame by the way. Anyway. My dad said Joe Jr. had a few tics, and had a key ring full of keys he would swing around. My mom, joe jr. cousin adored him. My mom died long ago so I never heard her stories. She hung around him a lot when she visited Tennessee after she married my dad in 1950. So joe jr. sold reavis recording company is all I know. His dad, joeseph Reavis passed before him. My aunt was devastated by it all. There are many Ramsey cousins around. Not sure on the Reavis side. Any questions. I can try to answer them. Gayle

Mellow said...

Breana, I have written a little piece about Joe Reavis with the help of Gayle. Forward me your e-mail adress and I'll send it to you!

Breana Lee said...

breana729@gmail.com

Thank you so much!