Jerry Reed passed away Monday at the age of 71, due to complications from emphysema.
Many people know Reed best as Cledus "Snowman" Snow in the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies, but that's only a small part of the Jerry Reed Story (and, to be honest, I don't think I've ever seen one of the "Smokey" movies all the way through). He was a world-class guitar picker, envied by many and duplicated by none, and was good enough to get the Chet Atkins Seal of Approval. Atkins helped Reed get his start in Nashville in the 1960s, and according to Wikipedia (which, let's face it, never lies) Atkins thought Reed was a better fingerstyle player than he was. Whatever the case, the two worked together many times, including on the CDs "Me and Chet" and "Me and Jerry" and on the DVD "In Concert at The Bottom Line," which it occurs to me I should buy.
For my money, though, it's "When You're Hot, You're Hot" that brings my fondest memory of Reed, as it's one of those songs that I will never tire of (sadly, the only time I saw Reed in concert, he didn't do it...I briefly considered staying for the second show in the hopes that he would do it then). And if it had been sung by anyone other than Reed, I probably would've gotten tired of it pretty quickly. Reed's drawl oozes out of the speakers when you hear it, just as it did on "Amos Moses" and "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)," numbers two and three on my list of Jerry Reed favorites. When you hear a Jerry Reed song (at least the noninstrumentals), you know it's a Jerry Reed song about two seconds in. And once you know that, you can be pretty sure it's gonna be good.
RIP, Jerry. Thanks for the music.
"When You're Hot, You're Hot" in "Groovy Vision":
Doing "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" with Chet Atkins and Pat Bergeson at The Bottom Line:
"She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)"