"HOW MANY TEARS FROM NOW?" - THE JURY IS STILL OUT
At last we have a reaction to the November article which suggested the melodies to Jenny Lou Carson's "Many Tears Ago" and Jim's "How Many Tears From Now?" are the same. The expert witness sits glibly on the fence and is "perplexed". He admits "a vague similarity" but in his opinion "Jim does not deserve to be accused of plagiarism". So be it. He is entitled to his opinion as we all are, but by trying to demean and discredit the "reckless" fans and researchers on "that so-called fan site" by citing "wrong accusations" and "of slurring Jim with unfounded charges of plagiarism or presuming to know more about the man than they really do", he has done absolutely nothing to enhance his own authority and reputation. He purports to tell the truth about the man and yet persists in denying and discrediting the factual, truthful history which exists for all to see in Jim's music. By adopting his usual clever and eloquent journalistic spin, he has tried to show that black is white and has succeeded only in opening a very large can of worms.
Both Jim's acetate & Red Sovine's 1950 recording of "Christmas Alone" were played 3 times over the internet over the Christmas period and people can make their own mind up whether Jim's seasonal, charitable attitude determined he didn't want his name associated with a song of fairly banal lyrics and no recording potential.
The expert writer castigates our "assumption as wrong" and proceeds to
quote 2 examples of Jim's benevolence and generosity.
The Ray Baker story has been well documented (Tony Wall interview 1984) and is certainly true, but what wasn't made clear was that Jim got all the publishing of the song anyway.
But the Johnny Russell story, as told by Chet Atkins in a 1973 interview is entirely different. It merely illustrates the antithesis of that expert's argument - that is, on many occasions, Jim insisted on having a share of the writing/publishing credits of a song, without actually contributing anything. No doubt that expert will counter by insisting that this practice was commonplace at that time, but sadly, it makes Jim's morality no better than all the perpetrators of this dishonest and unethical so-called business practice.
According to the 1973 Chet Atkins interview, Jim had been pestering
Johnny Russell for a piece of the song and Johnny was weakening, fearing Jim
would choose not to want to record the song. However, Chet liked Johnny who at
the time was a young, aspiring songwriter who had pitched the song to Chet. It
was at Chet's insistence that Johnny stood his ground and refused to budge. Jim
got no part of the song.
The song was originally to be the A side of the forthcoming single. Jim had obviously not done his customary homework on the song and was not a happy bunny on the session at the recording studio. He took a lengthy 16 takes to nail the song after seeing off "He'll Have To Go" in just 4! Incidentally, the average number of takes it took Jim to perfect a recording, based on available studio info was 5.
It is not difficult to understand the disdain Jim must have felt for the song when he learned with whom Johnny had placed the publishing rights. Messing around with lyrics, melodies and such will have been the last thought on his mind. Jim must have spit blood when he found out that the song was to be placed with Dandelion Music, the company owned by his old benefactor and adversary Fabor Robison. That must have really hurt! Little was Fabor to know then that his song would ride on the back of Jim's first choice "He'll Have Ho Go" and the rest, as they say, is history.
During a get-together around the pool at Bunky Keel's home in 1984, when asked by Charlie Dick (Patsy Cline's husband), how many songs he had written for Jim Reeves, Johnny Russell replied with a mischievously, wry smile: "just the one; just the one". It was just the way he said it, for all those attending burst into spontaneous laughter. It was plain to see that Charley Dick, Tommy Hill, Bobby Dyson, Joyce Jackson and Bunky Keels were all well aware of Johnny's legendary stories of the first song to make him a fortune. But "In A Mansion Stands My Love" was not the only song where Jim wanted a piece of the action. The first example to surface was in 1954 and written evidence exists......but that's another story.