Del Reeves (aka Franklin Delano Reeves) was probably the funniest guy I ever met. He was a natural comedian, and his Little Jimmy Dickens impersonation is one of the most hilarious things you’ll ever see.
When I was with Faron he was on a package show with us and I got to play with him. His steel player, Big Jim Webb, was sick back in Nashville, so I filled in. Del rode back to town on our bus and he had Faron laughing so hard we thought he was going to have a heart attack. It started with a story about how the South lost the Civil War because they had only one cannon ball and had to go retrieve it every time they shot it and went on from there. Faron was all red-faced and shit and rolling on the floor of the bus and couldn’t get his breath.
Del was hell on truck stop waitresses, and would pull little skits on them with the help of some of the pickers who worked for him, George Owens being one of his wittiest confederates. Hell, they were like Abbot and Costello or something, and the bewildered waitress wouldn’t know if she was serving breakfast or double Scotches. Or who was on first. George played bass for Faron after being a Good Time Charlie.
I did a couple short road trips with Del after that, and it was always fun. We played one gig way back in the hills, somewhere near Dayton, TN, where they had the famous Scopes Monkey Trial in the 20’s. Visiting that remote area, I could understand why those folks didn’t understand evolution.
Funny thing about Del, he wouldn’t pay me until a few days after we got back home, and I had to meet him at the Nashville Palace to pick up my check.
Here’s Del on the Opry with Big Jim, whose son, Larry, plays steel guitar, too.