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Re: It's a disgrace Carthage never honored Jim on the 50th
If, as Shakespeare maintained, brevity is the soul of wit, then the pithy epitaph on Jim Reeves's grave outside Carthage is just about the wittiest in the world: Producer, God. Perfection. And the most accurate, too. Alas, were the same true about the town itself. The 'street' named in 'honour' of Gentleman Jim is an insult. Tucked in as it is and thoughtfully out of sight at the rear of the Texas Music Hall of Fame it more resembles a car park. And a car park one would be reluctant to abandon even a rusty old past-its-sell-by-date automobile in. Everything Larry wrote about Carthage's cold shouldering of its greatest son chimed with my own experiences. Even unto the brief encounter I had with two delightful teenage girls behind the counter of a shop shortly after I had disembarked from a Greyhound bus there a couple of years ago. I enquired as to the location of GJR's memorial as much to get an earful of the spoken Reeves-like musical cadence as to elicit some information. While I got the first, and then some !, alas, no such luck with the second part. 'Who did y'all say again?' 'Oh, that must the guy on the horse outside the museum !'. While the younger generation's take on history is usually restricted to what happened the week before last, but, still. It was an ominous start. And things only went downhill after that. While Tex Ritter's version of the song which contains one of the great rhymes of all times: 'He made a vow while in state prison/ Vowed it was my life or his'un' is a classic, nonetheless it is but a molehill in musical terms beside the mountain of Jim Reeves's achievement. In the High Noon shoot out in Hadleyville aka Carthage there can be only one winner, as long as the status quo remains. And Gentleman Jim will remain forsaken by those who ought to cherish him the most. Moving on and up to Nashville once again I found nothing there which would run counter to what Larry found there more recently, with one exception. I hadn't been in Music City, USA since 1979 and how the musical culture had declined. On that first occasion I had managed to blag myself in to the dressing room area of Opryland. Where my accompanying security guard knocked on a particular door which was opened my none other than Roy Acuff himself. Who gave me one of those gracious greetings for which the South is renowned, even though he didn't know me from Adam. It may be that he was as taken with my Irish accent (which I was careful enough to Blarney up) as I had been with with Southern intonations. Abandoning his band briefly in the dressing room where they were tuning up their instruments- fiddles and guitars, he then escorted me to the old pews at the rear of the new Opyrland stage which had been transferred there as a gesture towards the continuity of the tradition. They are reserved for VIPs, a disignation from which I did not demur, being in something which closely resembled Hillbilly Heaven at the time. On my second visit to Nashville,Tn all had changed, changed utterly. Without the attendant birth of a terrible beauty. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the foyer of the Ryman Auditorium where Roy Acuff is now a bronze statue, his pioneering spirit having crossed to the Great Over Yonder many years ago. The streets and studios of Music City are now populated with bronzed, statuesque 'stars' who are all stetson and no steer. As I viewed the pavement signpost outside Tootsie's Bar on Broadway which contained a tableau of all the greats in years of yore I noticed there was one omission, too glaring to merit a mention. Except to say he was the greatest of them all. This was ominous, as I headed out to the RCA studio on Music Row. To my pleasant surprise the youthful (!) guide was as informed as he was appreciative of the legacy of Gentleman Jim. All may not be lost, after all ! Wait along, wait along. Festive blessings to one and all. Keep up the great work, Larry.
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