Continuing with my theme of Certified Guitar Players, today’s subject is Jerry Reed (1937-2008). I didn’t realize that Jerry was an incredible guitar player until a few years ago. I was familiar with his records in the early Seventies (“Amos Moses,” “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”) and his performances in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies with Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason, and I was left with the impression that he was a character who did novelty records. It wasn’t until I read an interview with Chet Atkins in Guitar Player magazine that I had any idea that he was as good a player as he was.
Here are a couple of examples. The first is a performance of Chicago native Steve Goodman’s “City of New Orleans,” done for the TV show Pop Goes The Country in 1977. The second is a 2002 performance of one of his early tunes, “The Claw,” featured later that year on his album Finger Dancin’. There are plenty of other examples, including duets with Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell and others, but these should get you started.
Jerry always had fun playing the guitar, and that came through in his performances. It’s sad that he’s no longer around, but I’m sure he’s off with Chet, wherever guitar players go when they leave this place, still having fun. For us, he’s left behind a great collection of music. Enjoy Jerry Reed, your Two For Tuesday, November 27, 2012.