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Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Product DetailsJim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan
(To "look inside" go to Amazon.)

Let me tell you a story.  This is a book (Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) I have not read.  This is a book (Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) I have not held in my hands.  This is a book (Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) I have not downloaded.  I have read barely half a dozen extracts from an online site.  But, that's it.

Let me repeat that. This is a book (Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) I have not read.  This is a book (Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) I have not held in my hands.  This is a book (Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) I have not downloaded.  I have read barely half a dozen extracts from an online site.  But, that's it.  Hold those thoughts, especially when you read the very last email from Larry Jordan (author of the 672-page, award-winning book Jim Reeves: His Untold Story)

If you want to buy it and read it, here's a link to an Amazon site:

In August 2013, the Belfast Telegraph published an article of mine to mark the 50th anniversary of Jim Reeves's tour of Ireland, with a particular emphasis on his time in Northern Ireland.  As any writer would do, I did some homework, found some interesting information from a variety of sources online and elsewhere, contacted some sources of my own and wrote the article.  Here's a link to it.

In the article I mentioned writer Larry Jordan (author of the 672-page, award-winning book Jim Reeves: His Untold Story) but I did not mention the title of his book.  Larry Jordan (author of the 672-page, award-winning book Jim Reeves: His Untold Story) sent me an email to express his annoyance. This is his email:

Mr. Cushnan:

I was surprised to see my name mentioned in the article you wrote for the Belfast Telegraph today on Jim Reeves' 1963 Irish tour. I was even more surprised that, while you felt an anecdote from my book was worth including in your piece, for some inexplicable reason you did not feel compelled to cite the TITLE ("Jim Reeves: His Untold Story"). Isn't sourcing and attribution a common journalistic practice? I'm curious to know the reason for this omission?

I enjoyed your article overall, but also have a quarrel with one of your sources who inaccurately credited Chet Atkins with having supposedly convinced Jim to pitch his song "He'll Have To Go" lower. Nothing could be further from the truth, as even Atkins himself admitted in various interviews over the years. Reeves routinely served as his own ad hoc producer and was meticulous in how he structured and supervised every aspect of his numerous recording sessions. 

Nor did Chet have anything to do with Jim lowering his voice. As I detail in my book, a Hollywood publicist whose role in Reeves' life and career has previously been unknown -- a woman named Bea Terry -- is the one whom Jim said "taught me how to sing on records." Bea sat him down and told him his singing was all wrong, and questioned why he didn't sing in the studio the way he sang to her: softly and intimately. It is she who reshaped his approach to singing and also opened many doors for him. The two had a long term love affair which serves as the subtext for my biography on Jim.

I spent over 13 years, thousands of hours (and dollars), taped over 500 interviews, plus was able to acquire a huge quantity of material from Jim's own files (including his personal diaries). I provide my readers with virtually a day by day account of Reeves' fascinating life.  

(In 2002, I also launched an indie label called VoiceMasters which has released a series of CDs containing previously unissued tracks by Jim. I've served as producer, hiring professional musicians, background singers, orchestrators, etc. to bring Jim's music up to date. I've in recent years also partnered with H&H Music in the UK for several CDs). You can find these on Amazon U.S. such as "Jim Reeves: The New Recordings."

I've been involved professionally in journalism since I was 15 (and am now 60). For 21 years I have been the publisher of a glossy regional magazine (www.midtod.com) and for over 15 years have produced a weekly radio show heard on 52 stations across 10 states.

Frankly I've been astonished by how difficult it has been to obtain any publicity for my book, from various entities which nevertheless find Reeves still of enough interest to do stories on him. I would think that the publication of a massive new book, which is meticulous in detail, would merit mention. Apparently I am wrong about that...

Larry Jordan

This was my reply:

Hello Larry.

Thank you for your email and comments about my article on Jim Reeves.

It was difficult to get features editors to take an interest in my Reeves piece as, apparently, he is judged by some (not me and the eventual editor who published it) to be too 'old school' to be relevant today.  My angle, as you read, was on the Irish, particularly Northern Irish, leg of his tour.

I'm sorry your book title did not appear but I hope at least some people have the instincts to look up a named author's work on book selling sites if they are keen enough to read more.  In writing 1,000 words, sadly some things don't make the cut.  But I understand your frustration.  Some of my work has been used elsewhere and not a sniff of a credit came my way, so I understand your point.

I took the analysis of Jim's voice at face value from a veteran broadcaster and had no reason to doubt him.  However, if he got it wrong, he got it wrong.

I will certainly investigate your work further via the links in your email.  On the surface, it is an impressive CV.

Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to contact me.

I wish you continuing success in all that you do.


Joe Cushnan

This was his response:

I appreciate your response and am glad you can commiserate with me regarding the difficulty an author has in getting publicity for his or her book!

I also thank you for posting in the Comments section of the online version of your article, but I wonder how many people will see it there versus the number who will have read your story in the print edition of the newspaper?

The comments in re Chet Atkins are part of a larger mythology that has grown up around Reeves. The most famous example, perhaps, is that Jim was supposedly flying upside down in the storm and didn't know it, such that when he pulled back on the yoke he accidentally put the plane in a nose dive. That one was started by Mary Reeves herself, by failing to understand an explanation that was offered her.

I spent years piecing together everything I could find regarding the plane crash -- a task made more difficult by the disappearance of the accident report from ALL federal agency files. I finally managed to get my hands on a copy, plus I acquired a very rare color home movie of the crash scene that was not known to exist. In addition I tracked down the man (who had worked for U.S. Special Forces in SE Asia) who is credited with finding the crash (even though I had been told many times he was dead), and even videotaped an interview with a neighbor who SAW the plane crash (who was never interviewed by authorities). One of Jim's charter pilots, who had flown the Beechcraft Debonair the day before Jim and Dean died in it, was at the airport awaiting their return when they went down. He was the first to get airborne and was vectored by the controller over the exact spot where the plane was last seen on radar. Unfortunately, he was unable to spot it from the air due to the fact that it penetrated the tree canopy at a steep angle and the leaves closed up behind it.

But it was just inside a small woods, near a busy highway that was filled with rush-hour traffic. As the neighbor told me on video, people were abandoning cars and running across his lawn to the crash site within moments of the accident. Yet officially the plane was not found for two days! Furthermore, ground searchers assembled within site of the woods yet supposedly never checked it, even though airport officials had pinpointed the precise location from the moment the plane disappeared from radar screens.

Jim's charter pilot (Bill Larson), and the head of the Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter division, were the first to search for the downed plane that night. They were puzzled by why searchers were looking in an entirely different area. It now appears that they had been MISdirected from the known location. That may sound preposterous but there is a massive amount of evidence to establish this misdirection.

The purpose for doing that is so that the woods could be combed for a briefcase that Reeves was carrying. Authorities didn't want the public to know the crash location until then. People who were involved in the search confirm that. A few weeks before my book went to press, I received a strange phone call from a retired Nashville police officer who put a "friend" of his on the line, who claimed to have worked in U.S. intelligence. He warned me not to probe too deeply into the Reeves crash. I had already been informed that after I'd filed a Freedom of Information Act request of the federal government for any files pertaining to Jim Reeves, a quantity of material on him was DESTROYED on the orders of a judge in Washington, D.C. I was further informed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) that additional files on Jim Reeves were locked up with Kennedy assassination records. The man on the phone who warned me against looking any further also stated that Jim had served as a "courier." When I asked for whom, he replied "both sides."

Indeed, Jim had connections to the U.S. government in strange ways. As a private pilot, he was even landing at military airports -- something his friends observed -- and something that MOST "general aviation" pilots are NOT permitted to do under U.S. air regulations. He was able to get his band members out of the military on unscheduled furloughs, and he traveled extensively under the auspices of the U.S. State Dept. It was not uncommon during the days of the Cold War for entertainers to be recruited to act as couriers or even spies.

It may interest you to know that Jim and his band, the Blue Boys, were in Dallas, Texas the day President Kennedy was killed. They had played Dewey Groom's nightclub the night before and, as it turned out, Dewey was a business partner of Jack Ruby, who killed Lee Oswald, JFK's accused assassin. When Jim spotted Oswald's photo on TV the night of the assassination, he proclaimed to people at a party held before what turned out to be a cancelled concert of his, that he had SEEN Oswald at his shows and would never forget that face. He had observed Oswald at a club that had been co-owned by Ruby. Of course, this runs contrary to the official claims by the Warren Commission that Oswald and Ruby did not know each other.

This takes on added significance when you realize that Jim Reeves had a phenomenal memory for names and faces, as attested to by many fans and other people.

All sorts of intrigue swirls around the Reeves crash, including the fact that the woman who was the last to see Jim's plane at the small rural Arkansas airport, died shortly thereafter when her car was run off a mountain road, in what her family believes was a deliberate hit-and-run accident. If Jim's plane had in any way been tampered with, or she had seen anyone around it, people would not want her talking.

I delve into this matter in my book, plus I gave additional information to two authors who wrote a book called "Hit List," (Richard Belzer and David Wayne). They have devoted an entire chapter in their book to my reporting.

Sorry to get off on such a tangent but I wanted you to know the extent to which I did fresh reporting on the subject of Jim Reeves. But the media environment in America at least, has changed so much, that it's become insular to the extent that it's nearly impossible to have any direct contact with reporters. Newspaper websites don't even have email links to the reporters themselves! Hence it's been next to impossible for us to get stories written about my book. When people know about it, they buy it. But if they don't know about it, they won't!

Thanks again,

This was my reply:

Thanks Larry.

Much intrigue and mystery persists about the Jim Reeves plane crash.  On it's own, it is a fascinating and tragic episode. Like you, I am fast approaching that 60-year milestone, so I remember the news story well, especially as my older brother was such a fan and so upset.

Why don't you drop an email "letter to the editor" to writeback@belfasttelegraph.co.uk to enlighten the paper's audience.....and to publicise your book.  Still many Jim Reeves fans in Northern Ireland.

Sincere best wishes,


This was his response:

Hey Joe...you lucked out. Apparently the newspaper DID mention YOUR book's title. (See attached).

I wonder how you'd have felt if they hadn't?


This was my response:

Ambivalent, really.  Sometimes I tag a "marketing" line on the end of 
articles. Some are printed, some not. I'm not that obsessed about it. 
Nice to see them when they happen but not the end of the world if not.

Best wishes,


Last week, the features editor of The Irish Post contacted me to ask if I would rewrite the article but this time with more emphasis on the southern Irish leg of the Jim Reeves (subject of a 672-page, award-winning book Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan) tour.

I rewrote the article, deciding to take things out of the original and put some new things in.  The article was published this week and Larry Jordan (author of the 672-page, award-winning book Jim Reeves: His Untold Story) got in touch.

Joe, I saw the big article you wrote for the Irish Post and unless I overlooked it, I saw no mention of my book or myself. Considering all the help I have given you in the past, what could possibly be the reason for this omission?

You relied extensively on my book for your account of Jim's Irish tour. Isn't it your policy to give proper credit to your sources?

Larry Jordan

This was my reply:

Hello again Larry.

I rewrote the article but I don't think I "relied extensively" on your book.  In comparison to my first article, some things were left in, others were left out.  I understand you believe you are THE authority on Jim Reeves and that may be so.  But, it does not mean that every time someone writes about Reeves that you should receive an automatic credit.  If I have read material online that is associated with your book but not credited as such, then how am I supposed to know it.  Am I to assume that every Jim Reeves mention anywhere is your work?

I don't have "a policy".  I give credit where it is due.  In this article, I "relied extensively" on another book for a story and I gave that writer and that book a mention.

There is an Irish expression - "wind your neck in".  It is highly unlikely that I will write about Jim Reeves again and that will be a blessed relief for both of us.

Best wishes,


 This is his response:

Nice try Joe but you committed a breach of journalistic ethics by not giving proper attribution to the source from whence you gleaned most of your information and you know that as well as I. You assimilated a lot of what you wrote from ONLY my book as there is no other source out there that is so detailed or so accurate. You had to know that any subsequent articles you perused online were derivative of my research. EVEN IF you did not believe I was the source for what you used, wouldn't it have served the interests of your readers to be informed that there is a 672-page, award-winning book available on Reeves that contains an entire chapter devoted to the Irish tour? That alone would seem to be worth a mention.

The book you DID quote features a story that is not entirely accurate, as attested to Leo Jackson who was on that tour.

But it makes your editors think you do thorough research so you accomplished your objective and got paid for it too. Except I will make sure they know the truth...

And when I reproduce the article on our site, which has garnered over 1.4 million visits in recent years, I will make sure to point out your lack of journalistic ethics.


This is my reply.



I'll leave you to your bluster and bitterness.


This is his response:

You really are a pathetic excuse for a "journalist." You read my book FIRST, when it came out, so it informed you and provided your knowledge base for your article. Indeed, you SHOULD mention my book every time you write about Reeves IF you use information gleaned from my book -- which you did in this case.

You and I also had extensive correspondence regarding the Irish tour. You HAD to know the articles you saw after that were based on my book. Surely any thorough story on Reeves would have mentioned my book as it is a significant work in which many of your readers would no doubt be interested. The fact that you AVOIDED mentioning it reveals your motive: to make it look to your editors like you did such a great job researching the topic. I doubt they will labor under that misimpression in the future.


There, the correspondence ends.

There are so many things I could say to all of this - and I might on my next blog posting (but then again, I might not) but for now I'll leave it.

But in case you are not aware, there is a book on Jim Reeves, 672-pages and award-winning, called Jim Reeves: His Untold Story by Larry Jordan.  I haven't read it but you might want to.  Here's that Amazon link again.

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