Reflections on Jim's legacy and how it has been mishandled
Posted by Larry Jordan on April 8, 2014, 8:17 pm
Edited by board administrator April 8, 2014, 8:24 pm
A fan wrote into the Fan Forum recently inquiring as to the status of efforts to move Mary from a mausoleum in Madison, Tenn. where she now reposes, to Jim Reeves' memorial site near Carthage, Texas, as per her wishes as outlined in her will. |
Several years ago, a Reeves relative prematurely and unequivocally proclaimed that Mary would be moved -- even before the dust had settled on the long-running legal battle -- and this news literally traveled around the world and was printed in newspapers and aired on numerous broadcasts internationally. But to date this promise still has not come true.
If you click the numbers which appear in the upper right corner of the main Fan Forum page, you can search prior posts and see how, at the time, I urged caution in making any such assumptions about Mary's move, or the outcome of the litigation.
If you search back far enough in this Fan Forum you will find a member of the Reeves family crowing about the so-called triumph in the Nashville court over Mary's second husband, who had sought for years to retain her assets.
But what has been the upshot of all this? The protracted legal battle — which could have been settled years ago to do what was right and make everyone happy — succeeded instead only in enriching the lawyers involved, who have billed hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to the estate.
When you count up all the Reeves nieces and nephews and the White nieces and nephews (heirs in Mary's will), plus the $100,000 she promised to Bud Logan (the same amount she bequeathed her second husband), HOW MUCH DO THEY EACH GET? A king's ransom? Hardly.
How much is the Reeves estate now worth? Anyone care to guess? A substantial part of Jim's catalog has fallen into the public domain in the areas of the world where he is the most popular and most marketable. That's why you see a plethora of labels, large and small, recycling his back catalog. Often these releases are beyond embarrassing; they're dreadful. They frequently concentrate on the early days of his career, thus distorting his musical heritage by failing to spotlight the later, smoother material with which he distinguished himself as a great singer.
Who's in charge of Jim Reeves' legacy? Not Jim and Mary's kinfolk -- not collectively or individually. Instead, a court-appointed administrator in Nashville, paid out of revenue that still accrues to the estate from royalties, etc. is calling the shots.
He has to see to it that the taxes are paid and other legal requirements complied with.
Who is looking out for the legacy of Jim Reeves?
In retrospect, this entire matter could and should have been handled differently. What the Reeves and White heirs won was a pyrrhic victory. You don't see any of them coming on the Fan Forum any more to boast about their crusade for justice nor their "victory" over evil. And even the man who devastated Mary's interests by signing over all her assets to a convicted bank fraud felon before the crook had paid for it -- (Mary's idiot nephew) Rev. Bill White -- has not been held legally accountable. What price will he pay for his malfeasance? He recently toured India, billing himself as Jim's nephew -- though he stopped being that when Mary married another man in 1969. Has Rev. White told the press in the numerous interviews he has granted around the world how he failed to protect his late aunt's fiduciary and other interests? Or see to it that she was properly cared for in a nursing home? Or how he allowed himself to be manipulated by a felon who appealed to his ego? (Bill -- a Baptist minister no less -- sings Jim's songs in shows he puts on).
2014 is the 50th anniversary year of Jim's passing. Will this milestone go by without anyone doing more than playing a few of his recordings here or there, or putting on a "tribute" show that promotes themselves more than it does this great artist? Al Grant the heir apparent to Jim Reeves? What a joke.
There really is only ONE Reeves family member who is still publicly honoring his late uncle's musical legacy. What about the rest of them?
It's shameful, really, what has happened. I think back to the many conversations I had with Mary over the years, and how she assured me she had everything taken care of such that Jim's memory would be preserved. She paid lawyers big money to make sure nothing would happen like has indeed happened. It is a sad commentary on the courts, the legal profession, and those who betrayed her in the end. Corruption and especially GREED have been the driving forces behind the destruction of Jim Reeves' legacy.
I'd be interested in hearing the feedback from any of you about these matters...