21 January 2011

TGIF Oldies: Jerry Reed - 1970/71

Georgia Native Jerry Reed Hubbard (1937-08) was an American country music singer, country guitarist, session musician, songwriter, and actor who appeared in more than a dozen films... nothing short of an American cultural icon.

As a musician, "The Snowman" was best known for "(Who Was the Man Who Put) The Line in Gasoline"; "Lord, Mr. Ford (What Have You Done)"; "Amos Moses"; "When You're Hot, You're Hot," (Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance); and "East Bound and Down," the theme song for the film Smokey and the Bandit, in which he co-starred with Burt Reynolds...

Back in '67, Reed notched his first official country chart hit with "Guitar Man," which Elvis Presley soon covered. Presley had come to Nashville to record in 1967, and one of the songs he was working on was "Guitar Man" (which Reed had written and recorded earlier). 

"I was out on the Cumberland River fishing, and I got a call from Felton Jarvis (then Presley's producer). He said, 'Elvis is down here. We've been trying to cut 'Guitar Man' all day long. He wants it to sound like it sounded on your album.' I finally told him, 'Well, if you want it to sound like that, you're going have to get me in there to play guitar, because these guys (you're using in the studio) are straight pickers. I pick with my fingers and tune that guitar up all weird kind of ways.'"

Jarvis hired Reed to play on the session. "I hit that intro, and Elvis' face lit up and here we went. Then after he got through that, he cut my "U.S. Male" at the same session. I was toppin' cotton, son..." 

Subsequently the songwriter recorded an Elvis tribute, "Tupelo Mississippi Flash," which proved to be his first Top 20 hit. Elvis Presley also recorded two other Reed compositions: "A Thing Called Love" in 1970 and "Talk About The Good Times" in 1973.

Johnny Cash would also release Reed's "A Thing Called Love" as a single in 1971, which would reach #2 on the Country Singles Chart. After releasing the 1970 crossover hit "Amos Moses", a hybrid of rock, country, funk, and Cajun styles (below), Reed teamed with Atkins for the duet LP Me and Jerry. 

During the 1970 TV season, he was a regular on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and in 1971 Reed issued his biggest hit, the chart-topper "When You're Hot, You're Hot", which was also the title track of his first solo album. Both "Amos Moses" and "When You're Hot, You're Hot" sold over a million copies.

In the mid-1970s, Reed's recording career began to take a back seat to his acting aspirations. In 1974, he co-starred with his close friend Burt Reynolds in the film W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings. While he continued to record throughout the decade, his greatest visibility was as a motion picture star, almost always in tandem with headliner Reynolds; after 1976's Gator, Reed appeared in 1978's High Ballin and 1979's Hot Stuff

He also co-starred in all three of the Smokey and the Bandit films; the first, which premiered in 1977, landed Reed a #2 hit with the soundtrack's "East Bound and Down." 

Reed also took a stab at hosting a TV variety show, filming two episodes of The Jerry Reed Show in 1976. Guests included Tammy Wynette, Ray Stevens, and Burt Reynolds. 

In 1982, Reed's career as a singles artist was revitalized by the chart-topping hit "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)," followed by "The Bird," which peaked at #2. His last chart hit, "I'm a Slave," came in 1983.

And btw, if you've never seen the unheralded The Survivors (1983) with Reed, Walter Matthau, and a young Robin Williams you ought to... hilarious imo.

Studio/single version:


Anonymous said...

Jerry Reed was the best!

Matt said...

Nice, I didn't know much of him.

Red said...

COOL! Thanks for bringing this one back in the spotlight. I always liked this guy ;-D

Reaganite Republican said...

Talk about a colorful character, eh?

"This is the Snowman signing off... I'm East Bound and Down!"

Christopher - Conservative Perspective said...

Loadin' up and Truckin'!

Like November,,"We gunna do what they say can't be done"

Great stuff RR! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Reaganite Republican said...

Yep- God Bless your soul, Jerry Reed... your movies made me smile a thousand times, and I thank you for it

As for the pickin', JR's one of only four certified guitar Masters EVER, according to Chuck Atkins... meaning literally he had nothing left to learn about playing a guitar... period.

Maggie@MaggiesNotebook said...

"She Got the Goldmine, I got the Shaft" is one of the funniest ever put to music. My husband always says Reed is "the" great picker.

Reaganite Republican said...

Your husband is right, Maggie- THE BEST

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